A documentary in which Becker uses contemporary footage, some of it extremely rare, to trace the rise of the Nazis up to Hitler's first speech as Chancellor in 1933. As a study it's anthropological rather than historical, discarding the tortuous intrigues of the scrabble for power in favour of a broader survey that shows the tacit acquiescence of a people. The film is best on gradual development: the transformation of the ill-kempt party gatherings, watched by a few amused villagers, into the half-baked symbolism and phrase-mongering of the mass rallies. It also implies that against such a background, moral stands were not as easy as we might assume. Einstein and Thomas Mann slip away, supposedly for their holidays, leaving the club-foot dwarf Goebbels to tell the nation that one day patience towards the Jew will come to an end. A chilling moment.
Lutz Becker, Philippe Mora
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