Hitler, A Film From Germany

Director: Hans-J├╝rgen Syberberg
Year Released: 1977
Rating: 4.0

The greatest defense of this film came from the American theorist Susan Sontag in Under the Sign of Saturn, and for me to try to add anything to her thorough dissection of it is presumptuous and silly. It is a crazed, expansive, supremely ambitious work that tries to encapsulate the phenomenon of not just Hitler the man but "Hitler" (quotations necessary) - the sheer concept of evil, the irremovable historical stain, the entity that lives not only within us but is us: the most primal state of human. If there is something negative to say about all seven hours of it, it's that part four gets mired down with its own long-windedness and self-obsession: Syberberg's gift and curse is his own logorrhea, and the entire final ninety five minutes consists of two speeches. But for parts one through three, it's unmistakably one of the greatest films ever made, a picture so detailed and idiosyncratic - Syberberg thinks nothing of using action figures, blow up dolls, plush toys, cardboard cutouts and puppets to make his points - it is a pleasure and honor to watch. [Breakdown: Part One 4.0; Part Two 4.0; Part Three 4.0; Part Four 3.0]