All works dealing with Nazism have to face Truffaut’s paradox. Since fascism, highly theatrical at all turns, conveyed meanings through the politics of the spectacle, it’s difficult not to fall prey to the narratives built into its totalitarian aesthetic: because the Nazis spent so much energy trying to look cool, making sure they don’t is a major task. (A film like Downfall, for example, inadvertently pays homage to the Nazi cult of death.)
As such, depicting Nazis as Chicago gangsters undercuts their self-mythologisation and rings true in another way, too: in the 1920s, Hitler was cultivating a gangster image by wearing a trench coat and a fedora, while carrying a bull-whip.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is at its best when savaging the mixture of ingratiation and bullying that characterised the Nazis’ relationship with Germany’s ruling class and the elites’ self-serving opportunism, cowardice and well-honed skill at not seeing things one would rather not know about.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Aus dem das kroch
Forgot to plug my recent review of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in Ceasefire: