Look Who’s Back
Here it is, the perfect first date movie. Assuming you live in Germany, where it opened this week, and you’re trying to ascertain whether your potential love interest has a case of the Nazis before you book that second night out.
Er ist Wieder Da, or Look Who’s Back, is a satirical comedy with a plot far, far from the average Hollywood fare. This movie, from Constantin Film, is about Adolph Hitler waking up post bunker with no knowledge of anything after 1945. You know, just like Austin Powers. Shrugging off his coma, he heads out into today’s public, suffers from being a fisch out of water, experiences a mixed reaction, and then, not to spoil it but if you know Adolph, you know he’s tenacious, tries to get back into politics.
(Insert your own Election 2016 joke here)
The general populace amongst whom he stumbles certainly recognize him, as he knows his brand and sticks with his distinctive grooming and snazzy military garb, but since Germans are good at math and, ahem, history, they figure he can’t be the real Hitler, born in 1889. But, he’s so Adolph!?! He, or the actor they all believe him to be, eventually becomes a celebrity, thanks to his wacky charm and refusal to break character. Daniel Day-Lewis has nothing on this guy. (continued)
The feature film is based on the bestselling 2012 novel by Timur Vermes, which has been printed in 40 countries. The book is described by various European critics as “laugh out loud funny”, “brilliant”, and “worryingly believable.” I haven’t read it (available now in an English translation by Jamie Bulloch) and the trailer was beyond my German (that is to say, I don’t speak any). Will this film show up in arthouses in the US? Why not. Just because in America we coo at a baby voiced by Bruce Willis in Look Who’s Talking doesn’t mean we can’t chuckle at the adventures of a puzzled modern-day Fuehrer in Look Who’s Back.
Germans Welcome Look Who’s Back?
So what do the real live Germans think? The film has just opened, so too early to tell about boxoffice. However, the public got a sneak preview of the tale’s concept last year when the director, David Wnendt, and lead actor Oliver Masucci toured small towns and political gatherings, with Masucci in character and Wnendt filming crowd reactions. Did the people run, stand and gape, prepare the cauldrons of tar? This is a country where giving the Nazi salute is illegal. They must have been horrified, ja? Well…
From The Daily Express (UK):
Oliver Masucci, the actor who plays Hitler in the satirical film, has revealed racist tensions within Germany despite the country portraying the image migrants are welcome. He travelled around the country for a month speaking with “ordinary people” while dressed as the long-dead Fuehrer. Two cameras rolled to capture their sometimes shocking views.
Masucci said rather than being shocked about Hitler’s policies, the war and the Holocaust, men greeted him and seemed “happy to see me!”. “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.”
Um, okay. But before we get too uncomfortable, remember how America delighted in the side-splitting shenanigans of POW comedy “Hogan’s Heroes”, which debuted a mere twenty years after WWII ended, and won two Emmys. Who says Nazis can’t be funny?
Find out more about the film at www.constantin-film.de
A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.