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'Downfall' Director Loves the Hitler Mashups

Even if you haven't seen 'Downfall' -- the brilliant and epic film recounting Hitler's finals days in the Führerbunker -- it's more than likely you've seen any number of mashups stemming from one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. As Hitler's remaining generals inform him that there are not enough forces left to defend Berlin, the Führer erupts in an especially glottal tirade of expectorating German. YouTubers took immediately to actor Bruno Ganz' stunning performance as Hitler and replaced the subtitles with diatribes on Xbox Live, 'Billy Elliot' tickets, and the Kanye-Swift debacle.

You might think that 'Downfall' director Oliver Hirschbiegel would be brooding in a highly serious German manner over all this Internet frivolity, but it turns out that he loves the mashups. Hirschbiegel recently told New York Magazine, "I think I've seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I'm laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn't get a better compliment as a director."

Of course, no one is making light of the Holocaust or holding Hitler aloft. As most of us in America know very little German beyond ja and schnitzel, the comedic effect comes from the aggressive way that all German tends to sound to those of us outside of the Rhineland. But if one thing about Internet meme culture persists, it's that many of the most virulent memes come from a place of downright indecency equalized by a bit of levity. (Think of Michael "Cosmo" Richards' NSFW, racist tirade that became fodder for countless mashups.)

If you haven't seen 'Downfall' already, add it immediately to your Netflix queue. But we wouldn't suggest making a mashup of your own -- this one's turned pretty staid by now. But it's good to know that Hirschbiegel has a sense of humor about his film. He seems to understand that, by satirizing the Fuhrer with Hilary Clinton's loss at the primaries (or other such nonsense), Hitler's legacy can be dismantled and ultimately rendered impotent. [From: New York Magazine]

Tags: downfall, hitler, mashup, oliver hirschbiegel, OliverHirschbiegel, remix, top, youtube