Nation's Pride (Stolz der Nation)
Director: Alois von Eichberg
Stars: Fredrick Zoller
Genre: War, propaganda, foreign language
Precis: A lone German sniper defeats a U.S. platoon.
Director Alois von Eichberg was, some say, a closeted Jew, having dangerous fun "encoding" his film with anti-Nazi propaganda. By the time the starring sniper, played by Fredrick Zoller, carves a ridiculously perfect swastika into the floorboards, the non-indoctrinated audience should start to get the joke. Eichberg's steals from other films include the iconic baby carriage scene in Eisenstein's The Strike, a director with Jewish roots also living in a non-Jewish propagandist world. The multiplication of dead bodies, the G.I.s killed by Zoller, evoke images of Nazi death camps. What one audience might see as a G.I. using a baby as a shield, another would identify as a plea for the inhuman sniper not to shoot during its rescue. When the variably-accented Americans refuse to blow up the historical tower where Zoller hides, one audience will see them as virtuous, the other as foolish. Eichberg walks a remarkably tight wire. But in the end, Zoller's creepy laugh is surely that of a villain.
Most people have only seen the last 6 minutes or so, and they are a brilliant piece of editing and satire. Tracking down the feature-length film is more difficult, but could be interesting to cinephiles. The rise of a military star, completely perfect and without flaw may seem tedious until you recognize his values are themselves flawed. As a famous TV serial monster, "Your evil is my good", and that exemplifies Zoller's character perfectly. All the trappings are those of heroism, but the motivations are so twisted that it is evil presented as a good. Disturbing that this should ever be taken as given, without peeling back that first level.
Watch what clips have filtered through to our universe (courtesy of Inglourious Basterds):
Behind the scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUVZwrhvzJk
Final rating: How do you rate something like this? Ambiguously. I give it a quizzical emoji.
Would see if it were made: Probably not outside film class, but that's political.