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Culture & Religion

Humanising Hitler

Can Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone’s new documentary show us the “human side of Hitler?” asks The Independent’s Stephen Foley.

Can Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone’s new documentary show us the “human side of Hitler?” asks The Independent’s Stephen Foley. “Oliver Stone has never been one to spot a historical controversy without steaming towards it, but the latest project from the film-maker behind JFK and W threatens to pitch him into more dangerously hot water than ever before. The director is battening down the hatches already, saying he fully expects ‘ignorant attacks’ on a new documentary series in which he is promising to ‘liberalise’ Hitler and to finger US corporations for their role in the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Launching Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America, the director promised to lay bare the military-industrial complex his fictionalised movie JFK blamed for a conspiracy to kill one president, and which Stone now says is trapping Barack Obama into the errors of his predecessors. ‘I don’t want to put out a conventional History Channel product where it’s easy to like it,’ the 63-year-old director said. “You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate.”


Related
On January 1, 2016, one of the most infamous books of the 20th century — Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf — enters public domain and can be published by anyone in Germany for the first time since the end of World War II. Seventy years after the fall of the Nazis, people still debate allowing that particularly evil genii out of the bottle to influence young minds. Others argue that the genii’s been out of the bottle all along, either through underground sources or, more recently, the Internet. More controllable, however, have been the propaganda films of the Nazis, whose chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, announced in 1941 that, “Film is our most important medium for propaganda.” Felix Moeller’s new documentary Forbidden Films: The Hidden Legacy of Nazi Film examines this question of allowing new generations to see these banned films and, if so, how to show them without that evil history repeating itself.

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