Opening 11 Jan 2007
In December 1944 the Allied Forces are heavily bombing Berlin. Hitler (Helge Schneider) suffers from depression and shies away from the public. But the war must go on and propaganda minister Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) has a crazy idea. Professor Adolf Grünberg (Ulrich Mühe, Das Leben der Anderen), Hitler’s former speech therapist, and his family are dragged from concentration camp to help with the important New Year’s speech. Sure enough, the professor dreams of killing his pupil but is not quite up to it. Instead he keeps teaching relaxation methods and listens to Hitler’s story of a sad childhood. Brave and hands-on Mrs Grünberg (Adriana Altaras) tries her luck with suffocating Hitler but fails as well. There are witty and comical situations - even if few and far apart - supported by good actors like Stefan Kurt, Ulrich Noethen and Lambert Hamel. As guest actors appear well known names like Katja Riemann, Maret Becker and Tim Fischer.
The casting of Helge Schneider, known for his funny films, is very misleading as his comical talent is very much subdued if not ignored by director/script writer Dani Levy (Alles auf Zucker). Instead he surprises as a serious actor, portraying the troubled, demure and unhappy Führer. Can one make fun of Hitler? Yes. Why not show the arrogant, ambitious, ridiculous and weak side of the man who was craving for recognition whilst terrorising his surroundings and losing touch with reality? Why not knock this myth off the pedestal? We will never know the absolute truth about this German phenomenon. To make fun of it may be the best safeguard against any future hero building. (Birgit Schrumpf)