April 24th, 2010


Hitler Controversy

Okay, so I need a bit of a vent here as this whole Constantin Films-Hitler Parody crap is doing my head in. This is a big deal, especially when it comes to copyright and the future of youtube - so whatever your fandom is i'd try and find out what's going on because it could mean the end of a lot of different types of fan vids.

 The 'Downfall' parodies have been going for years, and have been made by hundreds of individuals (myself included, although I only recently joined the party). And now Constantin Films who made 'Downfall' have launched an attack on them, using a Content ID system on youtube to find them and remove them.

 Countless lawyers have commented on this in recent days and the general consensus is that, in court, quite frankly, they don't have two legs to stand on as the parodies fall under 'fair use'. But, of course, youtube's hands are tied. However, they have issued a statement explaining how one can appeal against the take down of their video (indicating youtube are pretty pissed off with this themselves).

 Both the director of the movie and the writer have said they have seen the parodies and quite enjoy them. The director even making the point that it has helped to knock Hitler off his perch as it were. You could almost describe it as a war through comedy.

So what is up with the film company? Well, in my experience film companies generally tend to care only about the money and nothing toward the artistic or creative integrity of a film.

So what are they saying? Why are they doing this? Their excuse so far is they feel the film is being "stolen" and is making a mockery of the film, a film they are very *a-hem* proud of. Right. Okay then.

 I'd like to address these issues. Firstly, I do not see the film as being stolen. The subtitles are changed in the parodies and therefore unless you speak German, you ain't watching no movie. If they were that concerned about it they would be targeting sites such as MegaVideo where the whole movie is available (correct subtitles in place of course).

 Secondly, the parodies have helped to create awareness of a movie which, let's face it, probably would only be known to film buffs and war enthusiasts. So many people (myself included) have bought the DVD after watching the parodies - thinking, hey, I'd actually like to know what Hitler was REALLY ranting about and have found that it is a stunning piece of cinema and have enjoyed it on its own merits. Which brings me to my next point:

 I know I personally watched the movie and took it very seriously indeed, as was intended. The fact that I had previously seen Hitler ranting about being banned from XBox Live didn't effect how I viewed and connected with the movie. The movie is so enthralling that you forget about all that.

 If anything, these parodies are a credit to film - not making a mockery of it. In order for a parody to work and actually be funny, you need something solid, established and GOOD to start with. Downfall is all of those things. Most people know that, and understand that and that's why after watching the parodies they have branched out and watched a film they wouldn't normally watch because they know that there must be some substance to it for the parody meme to have gone on for this long and still be funny.

 It has also been argued that the parodies make a mockery of the war, Hitler and the holocaust. Firstly, the first rule of the Hitler Parodies is that you NEVER, I repeat NEVER have Hitler ranting about anything he would be talking about in the movie. That wouldn't be funny, would it? He's always ranting about highly irrelevant things like the IPad or Kayne West. If anything, I think this emphasises how unimportant these things are in comparison to events such as the Holocaust.

'Hitler is not a cartoon character' has been on of the arguments. True. But the Hitler in the videos is not the real Hitler for a start. Anyone who thinks he is shouldn't be on the internet. But also, the Hitler that is portrayed in the media, and in many schools IS a cartoon character in the sense that he is just an evil overlord who "killed everybody". Uh, not quite. I'm not defending Hitler by any means, but we all know he wasn't the character that has been created, just like George Bush isn't the idiot we all make him out to be...OK, bad example.

 But my point is, the Hitler parodies play on a stereotype and anyone with even half a brain knows that.

I want to end on this final note; do you not think, that after all Hitler did, all the suffering he caused, all the fear he created...Do you not think it is truly wonderful that we can now laugh at him? Laugh and know he cannot do those things any more. We know what he did and that will never be forgotten but can we not just indulge in a little bit of victory and say "haha, who's laughing now?". There were many stories during the holocaust of people making jokes (i.e. "at least I get a free haircut") - humour has always been a coping mechanism. And as a society, we are still dealing with the horrors of what happened and sometimes a little bit of comic relief makes us that bit stronger, and reminds us that we never want to be in that position again - that we want to be the ones who are laughing.

Ok. Rant Over.
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