Jud Suss – film without conscience

Jud Suss - film without conscience

Jud Suss – film Double Indemnity

               Genre: Drama
               National Socialism, Propaganda, Berlinale 2010

calculated farce or scandal?

  It is a pact with the devil: in 1939, the Austrian actor Ferdinand Marian (Tobias Moretti) by Joseph Goebbels (Moritz Belibtreu replaced) partners with the order, the title role in the planned anti-Semitic propaganda film Jud Suss, directed by Veit Harlan (Justus von Dohnanyi) to incorporate. The married with a “Vierteljüdin” (Martina Gedeck) Mime rejects the role at first, but under pressure from the Reich propaganda minister, he bends and eventually takes over the role that has made him world famous at a stroke. Success has its price, however: By and by Marian discovers the disastrous consequences of his film, he drowned his sorrows in booze and falls from grace, while his wife is gasified in a concentration camp.

Veit Harlan’s film Jud Suss, who would premiered 1940 at the Venice Film Festival, is one of the most notorious and most successful German films ever. But by 1943 more than 20 million viewers have seen this film. And eyewitnesses reported that soldiers had been whipped up by the Reich Propaganda Ministry organized special screenings at the front actually. Since the end of World War II, the film is under seal and may be even performed in public only under strict conditions and with appropriate social program. A sensitive material so that a revealing light on the fusion of German film industry and the inhumane policies of the Nazis throws.

Just missed this one but completely necessary sensitivity in Oskar Roehler’s quite bold historical experiment. Rather, it is here above all to the mere effect, the figures are distorted to the cartoonists, historical facts are bent because they fit better in the dramaturgy of the film. All this would not be a problem if she would confess Roehler clear to distortion and exaggeration. His statement at the press conference at the Berlinale, but he who strives above all to the greatest possible historical truth gives the dish an unpleasant aftertaste.

What is the eagerly awaited new film by Oskar Roehler, which is best that summarize if you look at the beginning and the end of Jud Suss – Film realizes without conscience. In the beginning, Tobias Moretti stands as Ferdinand Merian on stage as the treacherous Iago and Othello has to embrace black theatrical make-up on the cheek, while Goebbels enthusiastic applause. And at the end of text panels provide information about the fate of the main players, although it has not previously made the film with the historical truth so seriously. A Jewish wife Marian has never existed, nor were the Jewish hidden by Marian actor Adolf Wilhelm German. And irritation to Moritz Bleibtreu portrayal of Joseph Goebbels in particular, that it lays emphasis on details such as the limp and unconvincing Rhenish dialect, but the figure reveals the otherwise completely ridiculous to respond without even the slightest reference to the seductive power of the man. This allows the whip of the Nazis in this film acts as a caricature rather than a historical figure. This is exactly Jud Suss – Film without conscience: an inappropriate and unpleasant strange mixture of pantomime and Histörchenfilm from the (existing well) joviality of the cheap power and dramatic effects of stereotypes about artists and filmmakers from Faktenverdreherei and an extreme artificiality staging. No question: Had the film chosen for one of two extremes – either a farce to be or aspire to historical accuracy would be – certainly a more compelling works come of it.

After the press screening at the Berlinale Palast certainly there was – for the first time during the festival by the way – loud audible boos from the stands. Even if this may not necessarily approve of – so you can blame all the journalists are not disappointed. If one wants to really understand the mechanics of power and the seduction of the arts and artists in the Third Reich, after passes are still no way to Istvan Szabo’s Mephisto.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: Jud Suss – film Double Indemnity Country of production: Germany, Austria Year of production: 2010 Length: 114 (min) of material: Concorde Film Distribution

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