Is it too soon for Germans to milk Adolf Hitler for laughs? Not according to the producers of a new German comedy film to be called Mein Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler. The new movie is the latest step by Germans to tear down self-imposed taboos about portraying Hitler on film (the first being the 2004 film Der Untergang), by showing Hitler as a buffoon who turns to an actor in a Nazi concentration camp for help rallying the public to the war cause, and the comic mischief that follows as a result.
Hitler has been fodder for comedians outside of Germany for quite a while, most memorably in Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" and Mel Brooks' farcical "The Producers", but Germans obviously walk on eggshells when it comes to their notorious tyrant. Of course, it's easy for Americans and Englishmen to laugh at Hitler, but for most Germans, however, the very name conjures shame and self-loathing. They still aren't quite sure how to deal with Hitler's image on film, and most often, they've chosen to avoid him altogether.
On the one hand, it's probably somewhat healthy for Germans to exhale a bit. By imposing such stringent social taboos on portraying, or even talking about, Adolf Hitler, they've managed to make the man's memory a bit larger than life, and worse, this taboo has prevented themselves from dealing honestly on the role of the German public itself in creating and sustaining the "thousand year reich". The film's director, Dani Levy, apparently thinks so, saying:
"I think it's important that we create new pictures of our own, also of the Holocaust and Nazism, and not always work off the old, realistic pictures, because I think that just makes us lazy and tired, and we don't learn anything from it."Whether or not the rest of Germany is ready for this remains to be seen, of course, but using comedy as a means to address a sensitive social taboo might just be what Germany needs to finally come to grips with the infamous Austrian-born fuhrer once and for all.