Downfall of Earnestness, Rise of Irreverence

So I was running late… literally, running and I was late. Bastard last-minute demands for my over-educated skills. Anyway. So. We saw this movie: Downfall.

I was hoping it would be a filmic representation of the classic 7-to-adult ‘board’ game. The game is not on a board, but you play it when you are. Yeah, so turn the things and little bits drop out. “The game of face to face competition where every turn leads to a new challenge.” And maybe that would’ve been more fun to watch. The actual film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars and some other razzamajazz. I wasn’t too sure what to expect… but I wasn’t expecting a bloody dark comedy!

1. Did you know that Hitler had a dog and it was a German Shephard AND its name was ‘Blondi’!!! And it was really funny when Frau Hitler talked about how she hated the dog and kicked it when Adolf wasn’t looking and thought it was funny that he wondered why Blondi acted like he did (in other words, like the dog of a raving lunatic dictator).

2. Hitler was represented as a raving loony by the end of it. Maybe he was. Maybe his mind was totally consumed by the Nazi war machine he had let loose and had already consumed his country and most of Europe. Ok. But for all the melodramatic theatrics I was expecting him to shake one of his shaky hands into a fist and shout, “ho-GAN!”

(3. This one is not really related to the film, but the cinema experience: Imagining how the audience member must have felt at the end of the film after witnessing half the cast commit suicide by eating poison when she had walked down the aisle at the start of the film proclaiming to her date: “I would rather eat rat poison than use your toothbrush.” I always try to plan ahead in the spare toothbrush department or at least go buy one the morning after, because it is a bit distasteful… but rat poison? “Sure I’ll crash at your joint and maybe we’ll have some hot sweaty sex, but use your toothbrush? Fuck that. I’d rather kill myself.” Maybe she had happily repressed the memory of the statement by the end of the film…)

Yeah. Sure I’ve been fed a diet of pop culture forever and this was meant to be sombre film, but, as it was pointed out to me, it was overwhelmingly earnest. For example, every single suicide needed a close up to reassure the earnest audience that the BAD PEOPLE got what they deserved. I am not being cynical. I acknowledge the horrific circumstances and they make me feel very uncomfortable, if not a bit queasy. However, I am also a thinking being who does not need some form of cinematic closure manufactured in such an aestheticising way to go on with life. Besides the German language, this is what makes me think this film was really made for a German audience. Hitler was too easily made to look like a lunatic, the generals were too easily made to look like cowards, and the young secretary was too easily made out to be an innocent caught up in reckonings beyond her conception… who then realises, represented as an at-the-end-of-the-film interview with the ‘real’ person depicted, that she should acknowledge that age (when 22!) has nothing to do with stupidity (closure on closure?).

Do you know what would be the perfect film about the Nazis? One that would be relevant to the globe and not just a nation craving ‘closure’? I want to see a film about the rise of the Nazism within everyday Germany. I couldn’t give a shit about Hitler. The nutter Geobbells had the best line in the film, something like: “The German people gave us a mandate… and now they are going to cut their little throats.” I remember the word ‘little’… Actually, I want to see a film about a young person living now who does research about the rise of Nazism because they don’t like what they are seeing around them in the contemporary era. I’d pay a full price ticket to see that. Is there such a film?

How to shake people from their slumber where they sleep-buy through life eating shit coated with sugar because they are sold the belief it is ice-cream. That is not a question, but a challenge. And it is a challenge we all still face. Shit and icecream… I’ll admit I had half a choc top. Sweet. No sugar though. Pecan caramel …or some shit.

And when ARE they going to start making film versions of board games? Monopoly? That is ripe for some film action. Murdoch or Packer would love to make cameos. In fact have a cameo of them playing Monopoly in Monopoly: The Movie. Comedy gold. Connect Four is probably already a porno.”UNO! The card game of the Pope’s most trusted followers.” Lastly, Trivial Pursuit could be marketed as a remake of some horrid early-90s baby boomer movie starring Cher. Baby boomers… NOW they want US to take the world seriously… After they have raped the world of most of its resources and made war for the rest, they want my generation to turn ourselves into hyper-productive workers to sustain and subsidise their subsumed-by-the-spectacle dream lives they have been living for the last 50-odd years? Yeah, right…

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