Look Who’s BackGuillaume Durocher
I do not go to the cinema all that often, but I do occasionally like to dip my toe into the global Zeitgeist being promoted by Hollywood or, less often, more or less liberal and state-subsidized European cinema.
I most recently went to see Germany’s fascinating Hitler comedy Look Who’s Back (Er Ist Wieder Da), based on the best-selling book by Timur Vermes, in which the Führer miraculously reappears in modern-day Germany and, with people assuming he is a brilliant method actor, becomes a major television personality. I had been somewhat apprehensive prior to seeing the film but, in fact, was not disappointed. I recommend everyone, be they liberal lemming or nationalist dissident, to see this movie.
In our world, Hitler is effectively the “Satan” of the globalist civil religion which is hegemonic in the West. We have been conditioned to have a Pavlovian reaction of horror to anything to do with Hitler and, what’s more, nationalists in general are ostracized and persecuted through association with Nazism (regardless of whether there is any actual association). Thus any genuine popular or elite engagement with the former German Chancellor is an important cultural event. The streets of Berlin were recently plastered with the (actor) Hitler’s face again, perhaps the first time this has happened since the war.
The film has attracted a fairly high number of movie-goers in Germany itself. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
The biggest surprise of the year [in Germany], however, was another German comedy: Look Who’s Back. David Wnendt’s adaptation of the best-selling satirical novel by Timur Vermes could have been a disaster. The plot has Adolf Hitler waking up, alive, unrepentant, and unchanged, in modern-day Berlin. Instead, it delivered both laughs and rave word-of-mouth (if mixed reviews), and earned more than $21 million.
(This was however considerably less than earned by a large selection of cultural junk food: Star Wars VII with $27.3 million in 2015 alone, Fifty Shades of Grey with $42 million, and Jurassic World with $48 million.)
What does Look Who’s Back actually offer? Ostensibly, this is a smugly left-liberal film in the Daily Show mold. Hitler comes back. He goes on TV and rants against degeneracy. The people love him. Those who realize this might be the real Hitler and try to stop him are sent packing. Moral: We’ve still got that evil taint that makes us vulnerable . . . to Hitler.
There are a number of tired and trite Liebowitzian tropes, essentially lowbrow humor to make the semi-literate liberal audience feel superior to those low-class ethnocentric White people who are sensitive to nationalism. The Führer suffers a fair amount of gratuitous slapstick. The Bavarian conservatives (traditionally the most pseudo-Right-wing “authorized” party in postwar Germany) are described as wannabe-Nazis. A nationalist activist is mocked as a clueless idiot who can’t string a sentence together. The film half-ominously half-jokingly concludes with flashes of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders as would-be heirs, and of the Hitler character today driving around, being hailed or even saluted by cheerful onlookers (many of them minorities).
If that were all the movie were about, this would be a pretty miserable outing indeed.
However, it seems Vermes made a serious effort in immersing himself in Hitler’s words and reproducing his style. The relatively unknown actor playing Hitler, Oliver Masucci, often manages to successfully emulate the Führer’s ever-earnest, hyperbolic, and often impassioned manner. (My suspension of disbelief was, besides a few scenes where the Hitler character obviously does not behave like the historical Hitler, weakened only by Masucci’s deep brown eyes. Hitler’s were dark blue.)
What’s more, to make the narrative compelling, the film makes a very serious and very successful attempt (for me anyway) in showcasing Hitler’s charisma. Hitler is constantly commenting, sometimes passionately sometimes with detachment, on the degenerate state of modern Germany.
Hitler is simply shocked. Why are American Negroes allowed to spew filth and shout “nigger” on German radio as “music”? Why is German TV filled with garbage reality TV and frivolous cooking shows? Is not the education and enlightenment of the people the first task of the state, of any benevolent elite? Evidently the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany think not.
Hitler’s observations are mostly on real-life German political life and culture. A matron, apparently a leading female Social Democratic politician, urges her followers to “knit for change.” Chancellor Angela Merkel is mocked. The German men Hitler meets are office-dwelling manlets, selfie-taking hipsters, and mama’s boy wannabe-journalists.
A fascinating aspect is the film’s inclusion of apparently unscripted interactions between ordinary Germans and Masucci in character Hitler. Germans are happy to complain about the growing presence of immigrants and Muslims. An East German women claims voting is pointless and democracy is a sham (certainly this true for any nationalist vote). Hitler genially explains to a female dog breeder that breed-mixing leads to the destruction of the breed, such as the German shepherd. The breeder can only nod in agreement. (The scene is all the more striking in that, in German as in French, the word for “race” is also that for “breed.”) Hitler laments that Germany today has the lowest birth rate in the world.
There is a very striking scene with football fans. Some run to Hitler and perform Roman salutes (still illegal in Germany today). Another cries out before Hitler: “I love you Germany!” Apparently these were unscripted. At one point, some well-dressed youths, with Hitler’s enthusiastic cheering, overpower and humiliate a filthy antifa leftist who had been shouting “Down with Germany!” This scene was by no means “ironic.”
Hitler eventually gets on a television comedy show where he was expected to be a kind of freak show performer and ironically-not-ironically make racist jokes. (The weirdest part of this scene was that the show’s obnoxious host was a large-nosed German in blackface, so as to resemble President Barack Hussein Obama.) Instead, Hitler speaks as he always did, earnestly, about the terrible state of Germany. The TV show audience loves it and the film’s audience, too, is made to cheer for Hitler.
The film then showcases a problem with the hegemony of “irony” and frivolousness in contemporary culture: That nothing can be taken seriously, not even the threat of Hitler. This is something that Andrew Anglin at the Daily Stormer has very successfully exploited, as even Jewish groups have acknowledged.
The film then accomplishes something quite significant: Giving today’s audiences a taste of the charisma and appeal of Adolf Hitler. This is no mean feat. We are so far from the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s that most of us cannot even understand how a man like Hitler could succeed in winning the love and dedication of so many in Germany, one of Europe’s greatest and most cultivated nations.
The film does rather lose momentum about halfway. There is a ridiculously unrealistic scene, given the historical Hitler’s love for animals, in which Hitler shoots a small dog after being bitten. This is a necessary for a plot point and is a pretext to show Hitler’s penchant for massive, disproportional retaliation (this is a historically accurate point, I think of Hitler’s decisions, after failing to secure collaboration, to destroy Poland and Yugoslavia, not to mention European Jewry).
The most terrifying scene is when Hitler visits the house of a grandmother described in the film as a demented Jewess. She recognizes Hitler and screeches like a witch, a banshee, a ghost. The audience can feel 10,000 years of hatred sink into their bones. Chilling.
Jews’ only other appearance in the film is a brief mention by the media execs’ that putting Hitler on air could lead to their being harassed by the Central Council of Jews in Germany, thus highlighting to a mainstream audience the role of Jews in censorship.
The final point of the movie is true enough: Hitler cannot simply be smothered into oblivion as the authorities of the Federal Republic might like, for Hitler represents something deep in the German soul (the call of the blood? The call of the sun? Wotan?). Whatever Hitler appealed to in German psychology then, will exist, if only dormant, so long as there are Germans.
After the state of Bavaria’s copyright on Mein Kampf recently expired, Hitler’s magnum opus is again a bestseller in Germany.
A character seeks to stop Hitler once he realizes this is the real Hitler. The latter responds: “What are you going to do? End elections?” For all intents and purposes, that has indeed been the position of the Federal Republic, with the most systematic and official persecution of nationalists in the Western world.
I have no idea what the book’s author or the film producers were thinking in producing Look Who’s Back. Any film portraying Hitler or nationalists in an even partially honest way is liable to humanize or glamorize them. This is certainly the case in Look Who’s Back, as in Downfall or American History X. Conversely, films with absurdly caricatural portrayals, such as Marlon Brando’s George Lincoln Rockwell in ROOTS, are liable to reveal Hollywood film makers as professional fraudsters.
The film is definitely part of the wider trend of films and Internet culture which is desensitizing the public to Hitler and thus allowing us to move towards a more objective view of the man.
I have no idea what effect this film has on “normies,” but the French-speaking audience I was with seemed caught between cringing and laughing. Many don’t seem to know what to think. A few clapped at the end.
It is also noteworthy that a fair number of liberals and Jews are worried about the film. Masucci himself said the Germans loved to see and speak with him:
[Masucci] said rather than being shocked about Hitler’s policies, the war and the Holocaust, men greeted him and seemed “happy to see me!”
He said: “They forgot relatively quickly that the two cameras were running and began to pour their hearts out to this man, to say what was really on their minds.” [. . .]
Mr Masucci said soon after he started shooting the film he saw the rise of Pegida. He added: “That didn’t surprise us that they suddenly went into the streets. Because this middle-class that’s swinging to the right, we’d already seen all that on camera.
“By the end of our filming, our questions had totally changed. How can it be that so many people react so positively to Hitler, accept him like that?”
Reviewers have said that while the film’s irony and message may be positive, many watchers may not “get the joke” and actually be persuaded by Hitler’s points, whether on degenerate culture, Germany’s low birthrate, or race-mixing.
I believe these fears are warranted. The book and film were produced and came out before the migrant crisis was in full swing. The film opens with Hitler pondering: “Germany should have been destroyed,” and then cutting to daily life in today’s prosperous, happy Germany, to better show the absurdity of Hitler’s fears regarding Judeo-American and Judeo-Bolshevik hegemony in Europe.
But is the German government, today, not more concerned about nationalist activists than foreign rapists as in Cologne? Are not the childless Germans themselves being, slowly but surely, physically replaced by a potentially endless tide of African and Muslim humanity? Is the German government and ruling class today not absurd, with its Chancellor assuring us one day that “Germany will change” as a result of Afro-Islamization and the next lamenting the “sham” of multiculturalism? Will there even be a German people in 100 years? Is “Germany” not destined to be, not a people, but a mere administrative division for multinational corporations and global plutocrats?
Strangely, this film has yet to make much impact or attract much comment abroad. This is unfortunate given the global historical and cultural relevance of Hitler. Coming to terms with Hitler is not only a German problem but really a pan-European problem, likely a necessary component to rearming ourselves psychologically for survival.
And, who knows, one day “he” might really be back . . .
1. Scott Roxborough, “Germany Box Office 2015: Record Year, Even Before ‘Star Wars,’” The Hollywood Reporter, December 22, 2015. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/germany-box-office-2015-review-849327
2. Andrew Anglin, “SPLC Praises the Effectiveness of Anglin’s Trolling,” Daily Stormer, January 16, 2016. http://www.dailystormer.com/splc-praises-the-effectiveness-of-anglins-trolling/
3. Andrew Anglin, “German Actor Traveled the Country Dressed as Hitler, Says People Were Happy to See Him,” Daily Stormer, October 7, 2015. http://www.dailystormer.com/german-actor-traveled-the-country-dressed-as-hitler-says-people-were-happy-to-see-him/
4. There were similar fears about analogous scenes in Sacha Baron Cohen’s obscene film Borat, which is much less politically interesting. Borat includes a scene in which Cohen, playing an idiotic Slav from some backward nation wrecked by communism (in which Jews played a leading role), sings the song of his people to a saloon full of Arizonans in cowboy gear:
In my country there is problem
And that problem is the Jew
They take everybody money
And they never give it back
Chorus: Throw the Jew down the well (repeat line)
So my country can be free (repeat line)
You must grab him by his horns (repeat line)
Then we have a big party (repeat line)
The cowboys are shown to be clapping and cheering and singing joyously (although there is reason to think Cohen filmed and edited this misleadingly). So-called “conservative” media Jews David Brooks and Charles Krauthammer took offense at White rural conservatives being portrayed in this most offensive manner (“snobbery”). Krauthammer thought this was inappropriate in an age in which real anti-Semitism was so pervasive abroad. “It is very hard to be a Jew today,” wrote Krauthammer with his trademark hysterical ethnocentrism and tribal narcissism. Meanwhile the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith fretted that many viewers would find the portrayal convincing: “we are concerned that the irony may have been lost on some of your audience – or worse, that some of your viewers may have simply accepted Borat’s statements about Jews at face value” (Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, letter to Sacha Baron Cohen, August 9, 2004 http://archive.adl.org/media_watch/tv/20040809-hbo.html#.Vp-P0CorKM8).
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I see your general point, but this movie is serious, vicious left-wing propaganda crap, and most of the jokes being painfully lame is surely not the worst thing about it. (The original novel is actually far more ambiguous and subversive – and it doesn’t feature PC items such as the screeching banshee). What annoyed me most is that it shows a Germany which simply doesn’t exist: no immigrant violence, no ethnic replacement, no antifa mobs, no Germans that are actually hyper-hyper-sensitive to Adolf and to political correctness and being brainwashed with a daily lest-we-forget-piece in the media. That’s why it absolutely fails as a satire. The Germany it shows – and totally non-ironic – is the upside-down fantasy Germany of the left-wing media, where all problems about immigration and ethnic replacement are purely imagined, where everybody is a potential brainless Nazi on whom seventy years of re-education didn’t work at all and where small harmless civil protester groups like Pegida are being portrayed as violent hooligan crowds (and at the same time, silence about violent antifa attacks on them) etc. And never mind the more subtle points: “For all intents and purposes, that has indeed been the position of the Federal Republic, with the most systematic and official persecution of nationalists in the Western world.” Well, yes, but the films makes it look as if “right-wing populist” parties (not even “Nazis”) are trying to exactly achieve this…
And as for the supposedly non-staged/unscripted scenes with people reacting to the Fuhrer – well, some are clearly staged or provoked and most others are simply tongue-in-cheek reactions to what of course everybody identifies as an actor in costume. Believe me, if you see this film as a German, you’ll watch it with entirely different eyes…
Everything produced in the spirit of the Federal Republic of Germany is tainted; it is lacking health; spirit; wit; intelligence; good sense; carefreeness.
That’s why I won’t watch this film, following Petronius’ last sentence.
To be fair, as you pointed out, there are indeed a few interesting things about this, all derived from the book, which is far more clever than the movie. Masucci’s performance is very good and intense – for a change in a Hitler comedy he is a Fuhrer that is more scary than comical, with an almost supernatural, sleep-walking self-reliance that forces everybody he meets into a masochistic submission. And he is also apparently very intelligent, which few Hitler movies admit.
The central joke, which could have been played better, is that in the beginning everybody takes him for a sort of post-modern, satirical “Hipster Hitler” prank, and then slowly starts to think that he might be actually making sense. But then again, I thought this was rather unconvincingly executed. I’d say most failings of the movie are caused by its mission to uphold this upside-down-fantasy-Germany image…
Hitler is the greatest. The jews have only themselves to blame if he is making a comeback, they never shut-up about him. This tactic of ridiculing him will not work for the jews.
Marlon Brando’s George Lincoln Rockwell in The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Marlon Brando played George Lincoln Rockwell in Roots: The Next Generations:
This is almost a must-see film for anyone with a serious interest in Hitler, or even just curious about him, and who wants to get beyond the usual garbage presented to us. Parts of this move are absolutely riveting. Above all, his appearance on the live comedy show, where he is supposed to act the fool (comedian) and instead slowly enters in full uniform, maintains a silence which alarms the producers and fascinates the audience, and then begins to speak in a conversational tone, gradually building to a compelling critique of everything he sees before him, winning the enthusiastic approval of the spectators – it’s very similar to Hitler’s actual techniques that are recorded in various videos. I have actually re-played this scene several times in sheer amazement.
Sure, there’s a lot of leftist crap in this movie, but Durocher’s review is spot on.
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