A fresh-faced Nazi sniper takes out dozens of GIs as the music swells in Nation’s Pride—not a real movie, but a piece of propaganda embedded in Inglourious Basterds. The actual Nation’s Pride was a feature called Kolberg (1945), created at great cost to inspire German morale as the fronts were collapsing. That film’s director—also the maker of 1940’s hatemongering Jew Süss (required viewing for all SS officers)—was Veit Harlan, who enjoyed most of WWII as the Third Reich’s lapdog. Tried and acquitted after the war, the often-cheery Harlan left a confused and odious legacy for his children and grandchildren.
Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Süss shows those family members bearing the weight with varying degrees of strain; you sense the doc might have some anger up its sleeve, but these Harlans are all pretty dignified. Even so, there’s value and intrigue in their continued confrontation with the facts—a sense of shared responsibility. Grandchildren assemble around terrible documents; Christiane Kubrick (widow of the famous director and Harlan’s niece) relates a tale of her Jewish husband feeling like Woody Allen in the propagandist’s presence. Still a mystery: Harlan’s own sense of guilt. But there’s plenty to go around.