Monday, May 16, 2016

Er ist wieder da (Look Who's Back) (2015)

Director: David Wnendt
Writers:  David Wnenedt, Mizzi Meyer, Johannes Boss, Minna Fischgartl, Timur Vermes
Cast:       Oliver Masucci, Thomas M. Koppl, Marc-Marvin Israel
Language: German

Adolf Hitler wakes up in the 21st century. He quickly gains media attention, but whereas Germany finds him hilarious and charming, Hitler makes some serious observations about society.

The premise is that a struggling TV director finds him wandering the streets and thinks of making a show where, what he thinks of as a very good Hitler impersonator, will interact with German people. Hitler finally gets a show for himself where he is making his own honest observations which strikes a chord with the German people considering the migrant situation that Germany is facing today. The film was released in October 2015, just about the time migrant crisis was getting worse. So, the film is very effective in holding a mirror to the current German attitude and points out how easily it can degenerate into fascism. 

It is a very funny film and I guess some of the laughter it will generate in Europe will be the nervous kind. It is filmed in 'Borat' style and there are plenty of other cinematic references as well. There is one scene which reminded me of 12 Monkeys and it even got a Western themed and styled sequence. There is also this inevitable 'Donwfall' parody scene which I think almost everyone has seen on YouTube in one form or the other. The whole thing about the ambitious female TV programming head championing the totally questionable show is a play on Sidney Lumet's 'Network' as well.

Overall it is a great watch with a tremendous central performance from Oliver Masucci. They could have easily played it safe by making Hitler a totally ridiculous character. The film was a big box office success in Germany, surprising many, and one could say that Germany has matured enough to be self-critical using Hitler as a very relatable character. I don't know if the film was made in a social experimental semi-documentary manner, like 'Under the Skin', because there are many faces from the streets which are blacked out. Wouldn't surprise me if many of the characters shown in the film are their real selves. The funniest sequence in the film is Hitler getting beaten up by Neo-Nazis. The subtitles that I had was not the best and so some of the jokes might have been lost in translation.

Rating: 4/5