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                        Celebrating the Art of Cinema, ... and Cinema as Art


                                                                                         

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"Timewasters" -
On The Funny  

TIMEWASTERS:
* ON THE FRINGE (CUTTING EDGE SHORT FILMS)
* ON THE FUNNY (HUMOROUS SHORT FILMS)




     Avoiding work, stuck at the airport, or just have a few minutes to kill?  There are better solutions than this ...


     Pop a few TIMEWASTERS from our "Short Attention Span Theater" festival of micro movies.  Some enlightening, some educational, and some just knock-you-on-your-ass funny,  we promise a couple of 'em will get you through the daily grind. 

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SPOTLIGHT: "DOWNFALL"
YouTube HITLER PARODIES                             
      Few "viral" Internet sensations have caused as much WebLand "ripple effect" (both pop-culture popular-wise and litigiously) over the last few years as the YouTube "Hitler Parodies".  Utilizing climactic footage and original German dialog from the 2004 Oscar nominated film DOWNFALL - a drama of Adolf Hitler's final sequestered days before his suicide within the Berlin "Fuherbunker", the parodies (created by anyone with a "social comment" to get off their chest and the technical means to do so) insert new subtitles to hilarious (and admittedly sometimes borderline tasteless) effect into the mouth of the already mentally deteriorating leader of the Third Reich as he realizes his war is at last lost.   

     While the DOWNFALL parodies were around some time before, it can be argued the viral phenomenon as it now exists came to the attention of the general public after the much publicized early 2011 entry by UrgentGenius, the organization at the time protesting what it felt was the trend of escalating commercial "marketer duchenbaggery" overwhelming Austin's increasingly popular SxSW (South By Southwest) creative festival.  After the SxSW parody, the dam broke and a flood of spoofs (most based on the same scene from DOWNFALL; and others from other films ... but not all as witty or outright funny) splashed across not only YouTube but numerous other online outlets.  And with Hitler now launching into tirades about everything from Justin Bieber and Best Picture Oscar winners to not being able to score some weed from a long-trusted dealer, the spoofs eventually inflamed the legal ire of DOWNFALL's producer / copyright holder, German based Constantin Films.  Founded and run by legendary producer Bernd Eichenger (THE NEVER ENDING STORY - 1984, THE NAME OF THE ROSE - 1986, THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS - 1993, SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW - '97, the FANTASTIC FOUR and RESIDENT EVIL films, THE BAADER MEINHOFF COMPLEX - 2008 and many others) before his death in Jan. '11,  Eichenger's Constatin Films issued a "take down" order of the spoofs, and the case evolved into a precedent setting showdown over what constitutes "fair Internet use" and the step beyond of which breeches into "copyright infringement".
 
     DOWNFALL's director Oliver Herschbiegel went on record as finding many of the parodies quite funny.  He also felt they dovetailed thematically with the intention of his film, which was " ... to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality. I think it's only fair if now it's taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like."   And in an April, 2010 NPR interview, Electronic Frontier intellectual property / free speech attorney Corynne McSherry concluded about the parodies, "All the ones that I've seen are very strong fair use cases and so they're not infringing, and they shouldn't be taken down".  


     Interestingly, DOWNFALL's intention to "kick these terrible people off the throne" was itself met with controversy upon the initial release of the film itself.  Some felt making the "demons" human could inadvertently assist budding Neo-Nazi movements and sensibilities.  But most (including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which granted the docu-drama a 2005 nomination for Best Foreign Language Film) felt the film's treatment of the subject matter was far from glorification or even "humanistic sympathy" for the personalities depicted.  Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert perhaps summed it best saying, "... As we regard this broken and pathetic Hitler, we realize that he did not alone create the Third Reich, but was the focus for a spontaneous uprising by many of the German people, fueled by racism, xenophobia, grandiosity and fear. He was skilled in the ways he exploited that feeling, and surrounded himself by gifted strategists and propagandists, but he was not a great man, simply one armed by fate to unleash unimaginable evil. It is useful to reflect that racism, xenophobia, grandiosity and fear are still with us, and the defeat of one of their manifestations does not inoculate us against others".




     As parody and satire have been long-standing cinematic weapons against despotism (see Chaplin's THE GREAT DICTATOR - 1940, Ernst Lubitsch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE - 1942; even the Three Stooges' I'LL NEVER HEIL AGAIN - 1941, and Quentin Tarantino's INGLORIOUS BASTERDS - 2009); and (as Ebert reminds) the same kind of racism and despotism still exists if under more contemporary (and even high tech) guises, we salute the Hitler parodies as a grass roots campaign designed to cut the legs from beneath the "indestructible god and/or demon-like" visage of such tyrants.  When seen as the pitiful, albeit monstrous, human beings they are, they become less threatening.  And when seen as less threatening the masses have less fear and more resolve in their commitment to toppling them from their fragile thrones.  Anyone say "Muammar Gaddafi" ?   


                                                                               CEJ


"Hitler Responds to Recent Trends at SxSW" (March, 2011)






Site Search Index:
HITLER AS "SCARFACE" TONY MONTANA (March, 2011)



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HITLER DISCUSSES WEED: "From his famous 'Mein Kannabis' Speech"
(March, 2011)
*Audio from Katt Williams' "The Pimp Chronicles: Pt. 1" - 2006



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HITLER CAN'T FIND WALLY / WALDO
(March, 2009)



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HITLER RAN OUT OF WEED. OH, S#%T!!!
(March, 2010)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h-Ai_Jn-AI
(3:50)

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THE 100 GREATEST MOVIE THREATS OF ALL TIME
(May, 2011)



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THE 100 GREATEST HORROR MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME
(Oct., 2010)



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"THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE" - "SILENCE" SUPERCUT
(Aug., 2011)



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GREATEST MOVIE CLICHES': "GET OUTTA THERE" - COMPILATION (May, 2010)



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THE 100 GREATEST MOVIE INSULTS OF ALL TIME - COMPILATION (June, 2010)



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THE OTHER 100 GREATEST MOVIE INSULTS OF ALL TIME - COMPILATION (January, 2011)



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BEST PISSED-OFF MOVIE POLICE CHIEFS - COMPILATION (March, 2010)



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NICOLAS CAGE LOSING HIS S#%T! - COMPILATION (November, 2010)



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"THRILLER" AT CHATTANOOGA FIRE ACADEMY (March, 2011)

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