Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Great Liar Who Lies Without Inhibitions

[He] "was a great liar, a very talented actor who lied without inhibitions;

a man capable of self-suggestion, from which he would build his willpower

- the most dangerous combination you could imagine."

Does that sound like anyone you know? Maybe someone now occupying the Oval Office? A great liar, who lies without inhibitions and is capable of self-suggestion that is the foundation of his incredible willpower?

In fact it's a quote from a famous German documentary filmmaker, Hermann Polking.

"All his relatives considered him to be a no-hoper who shied away from all hard work," said boyhood friend August Kubizek of Adolf Hitler. "He was the darling of his mother and adored her the same," commented Hitler's Jewish family doctor. "If Adolf wanted something, he got it - mostly at the expense of others," noted sister Paula Wolf.

These telling impressions of a young Adolf Hitler are among countless quotes from contemporaries of the dictator that make up the much-anticipated documentary, "Wer war Hitler" (Who Was Hitler). The seven-and-a-half-hour TV series premiered this week at the Munich Film Festival.

Using no narrator or talking heads, and sparse additional information, writer and director Hermann Pölking retraces the life of Hitler - from his birth in 1889 in upper Austria to his suicide in Berlin 1945 - entirely from statements made by companions, enemies, victims and observers.

Pölking catalogued 120 archives in 14 countries and reviewed 850 hours of footage in an effort to create a unique, up-close portrayal of the evolution of the 20th century's most infamous historical figure. The hundreds of quotes were recorded by 125 speakers.

At over seven hours, the film is extremely long and demanding - which is why a shortened three-hour cinema version is planned. But the endurance required is rewarded through a fascinating montage of rarely-seen archival film material.

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