A Hitler Comedy Is Number One at the German Box Office
‘Look Who’s Back’ satirizes fascism and Internet fame
What if Hitler never died in the bunker? What if he woke up in modern Germany confused, angry and ready to take charge?
That’s the premise of German author Timur Vermes’ 2012 novel Look Who’s Back. When the former dictator wakes up, he wanders the streets ranting to anyone who’ll listen. The people think the little dictator is just a prankster and the resurrected hatemonger becomes a YouTube sensation and uses the popularity to launch another political career.
A big screen adaptation of the novel just ousted Pixar’s Inside Out at the German box office. That’s right, a biting satire about the return of recent history’s most notorious mass murderer is number one in theaters.
Director David Wnednt adapted the novel for the big screen. The film follows the book’s plot. Hitler wakes up, rants and attempts to regain power. That premise alone would make a great film, but Wnendt goes one step further.
The director took his Hitler — played by actor Oliver Masucci — to the real streets of modern-day Germany and filmed the reactions. “People clustered around me,” Masucci told The Guardian. “One told me she loved me, and asked me to hug her. One, to my relief, started hitting me.”
Wnendt weaves these Borat-inspired man-on-the-street segments with the fictional story of the dictator’s rise to power in the fame-obsessed Internet age. “Germans should be able to laugh at Hitler, rather than viewing him as monster because that relieves him of responsibility for his deeds and diverts attention from his guilt for the Holocaust,” Wnendt told The Guardian.
“But it should be the type of laugh that catches in your throat and you’re almost ashamed when you realize what you’re doing.”
An English translation of the novel is available now. There’s no word yet on a wider European or American release for the film.