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How Have the Nazis been represented on Film?

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Introduction

HOW HAVE THE NAZIS BEEN REPRESENTED ON FILM? The macabre past of Germany during the Nazi period is an emerging topic in films. The Nazis were political fascists whom were members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, founded in Germany in 1919 and brought to power under Adolf Hitler in 1933. Directors and producers have made certain films in different ways as some have manipulated Nazi behaviour, while others have used hindsight to show the actual behaviour of the Nazis. Many people are fascinated by how Hitler could control the whole of Germany with all the shocking and barbaric acts of his regime. The Nazis have been represented in many different ways and some examples of the films I have been looking at are: Triumph of the Will, Cabaret, Schindler's List and The Lion King. Triumph of the Will was produced in 1934, five years before World War II, as a documentary film written and directed by Leni Riefenstahl, a former actress. The film was a record of the 1934 Nazi Party Rally at Nuremburg. The political purpose of the film was to persuade Germans to support Hitler. The scene opens with a very graceful, ethirial and triumphant theme. Hitler is presented as a God-like, to the viewer, descending from the sky looking down on his people in Nuremburg. The opening camera shots are of stormy clouds and an over the shoulder shot is used here to show Hitler's point of view. ...read more.

Middle

will not belong to him, as he will become a soldier tomorrow and probably die in the war along with other thousands of people. This particular scene differs from Triumph of the Will because it shows a Jewish point of view in its awareness of subsequent history. The film was at a time after the holocaust and the director is not glorifying or defending Nazism, as an alternative he is trying to show the frightening side of the Nazis. Both, Cabaret and Triumph of the Will, have similar meanings. They both suggest hard work will give them the world and there is nothing to lose- Nazism is appealing. The third film in which I will be analysing the presentation of the Nazis is Schindler's List. Steven Spielberg, a Jewish, directed this film in 1993 so he is bound to be bias. The movie depicts the barbaric nature of the Nazi state, and how truly unforgiving the state was towards people from Jewish backgrounds. The scene I observed was 'The Liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto'. This scene shows how the Nazis cleansed the Jewish people living in Krakow, which took place in March, 1943. At the start of the scene, a close-up of Oskar Schindler and Amon Goeth are seen shaving almost side by side but in different buildings- a sign for common humanity. Later on when Goeth has his soldiers rounded up, Spielberg uses a very long shot allowing us to view the surrounding ordered army showing us the power Goeth has. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also as Scar converses to his subjects from a high podium, this resembles Hitler's speeches to his fellow Nazis. The use of monochrome techniques and us viewing Scar from above reminds us of Nazi propaganda videos. The dark green, brown, red and yellow mist which puffs from below Scar as he saunters past the hyenas gives him a malevolent quality, and shows him seductively singing a song to the hyenas' to persuade them to join him, reminding us of the scene from Cabaret. These effects of light and shadows resemble to Leni Riefenstahl's lighting of the night-time parades and speeches in Triumph of the Will. Low angle shots of Scar add to his power, whereas aerial shots down on the hyenas' make them seem inferior. The directors of these films were all trying to present different messages to the audience, for example Leni Riefenstahl's purpose was to persuade a German audience to become pro Nazi. Her narrative methods were to simply show the viewer how good it was to live in Nazi Germany. The film I think which is most effective is Schindler's List. Even though we witness many Jews ruthlessly being killed, I find this film more repulsive and appalling for the reason that this was an actual propaganda video used, and most viewers will find it sickening to find how greatly Hitler was praised. Schindler's List is a powerful film, which is not afraid to show us the horrific atrocities of the Nazi state, and this makes the film very good towards a modern audience. Simran S Kooner English Media Coursework Mr Anson ...read more.

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