Over the past few years, YouTube viewers are regularly entertained by a short portion of the German movie Downfall (’04).
Using a single clip from the film, these ubiquitous and frequently clever shorts show Hitler ranting at his generals as Russian troops encircle Berlin and seek out the bunker. The thousand year Reich has lasted but twelve years.
The YouTube videos substitute English subtitles that have no relation to the German dialogue being spoken in the film.
The comedy lies in the juxtaposition of Hitler shrieking in German about Jews, troop movements, traitors, and Germany’s destiny. And yet the subtitles have Hitler going postal over Obamacare or Benjamin Netanyahu — whatever subject is the target du jour.
For those who have seen the entire film, it is anything but funny. Instead, it is a powerful drama, multi-dimensional portraits of human monsters, some of whom are more monstrous than others.