Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mein Kampf (2009)

Genre Drama, History, Theatre
Year of Production 2009
Director Urs Odermatt
Principal Cast Goetz George, Tom Schilling, Wolf Bachofner, Bernd Birkhahn, Karin Neuhaeuser, Paul Matic, Elisabeth Orth, Henning Peker, Simon Schwarz, Anna Unterberger
Length 109 mins
International Festival Screenings Montreal 2009, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2010, Solothurn 2010, Berlin 2010

In 1910, young Adolf Hitler, aiming to conquer the world as a painter, is on his way from the provincial recesses of Austria to Vienna. He rents himself a room at a men's hostel in the Leichengasse, ("Cadaver Alley"), and feverishly awaits the big day of his entrance examination for the Academy of the Fine Arts. He shares the rundown barrack with two Jewish men: the wily Bible hawker Shlomo Herzl and the kosher cook Lobkowitz, who claims to be God and has been known to cause miracles. Wise old Shlomo wants to write a book, but nobody thinks much of its title Mein Leben (My Life). They come up with Mein Kampf. Hitler is also enthusiastic about it.

Shlomo, hospitable and good-natured, feels responsible for the impetuous Hitler and takes him under his wing. For Hitler, who vastly overestimates his artistic talent, the world falls apart when the Academy rejects him for the second time. And again it is good old Shlomo who hurries to bring Hitler back from the depths of his suicidal hopelessness. Hitler brazenly exploits the support offered by Shlomo, who cooks and washes up for him and even trims his droopy moustache. In return Hitler tries to seduce young Gretchen, Shlomo's girlfriend. Ironically, it is Shlomo himself who recommends Hitler to try his luck in politics.

The film grotesque Mein Kampf, based on George Tabori's eponymous theatrical farce, is by no means a historical reconstruction of Hitler's time in Vienna. Instead it is a timeless parable of good serving evil, in which the borders between reality and fiction are blurred.
Screening Details
Tue 16 Nov, 7.15pm
The Cathay, Hall 4
In German with English subtitles

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Rating M18 - Some Nudity and Coarse Language

Urs Odermatt was born in 1955 in Switzerland and has been working in film, television and the theater since 1983 after studying Directing and Scriptwriting with Krysztof Kieslowski and Edward Zebrowski. In 1989 he founded the Swiss production company Nordwest Film AG.