Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stay the Course: The Goebbels Diaries

In straight chronological form, Lutz Hachmeister's Das Goebbels-Experiment / The Goebbels Experiment (2005) follows the rise and fall of Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) via his diary (read effectively by Kenneth Branagh in the English language version), with excellent German and Russian archival film (some in color) as backdrop. Watch him develop the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda using film, radio, newspaper and theatre; see him acknowledge the initial arrival of TV, see him tout Nazism as a religion while still calling on God for strength.

The film works precisely because it lets its subject speak for himself. Goebbels in his diary, of course, has no idea how badly things are going to turn out for him, the Nazi Party, Hitler, the Third Reich, or Germany. The film is relevent to modern times in general. Even some of his phrases sound contemporary. "Stay the course," he wrote in the 1930s, about rising Nazi power. "God bless our modern weapons" (1940). Sounds remarkably like certain American fanatics today.

Prior to his final downfall, see Goebbels go on vacation, get married, raise a family (all of them killed by Dr. Goebbels and his wife Magda in 1945 Berlin, with the Soviets closing in on the Führerbunker). More surreally, see Goebbels attend a film festival in Mussolini's Italy during the war -- utterly bizarre.

Lloyd the bartender (Joe Turkel) in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). Goebbels as ghost?

A version of The Goebbels Experiment first ran in 2006 as part of PBS' The American Experience as The Man Behind Hitler.

Today's Rune: Fertility.


Bubs said...

Holy shit! It's nightmare city tonight,for sure.

the walking man said...

Fast forward to Rupert Murdoch as riechschansellor of World News.


Charles Gramlich said...

There ws a time when I read a lot about the Nazi period. I was at one time considering a history degree with a specialization in WWII. What a bizarre collection of people Hitler gathered around him. Even more than the bizarre ones Bush has gathered.