Holocaust Humor Losing Its Shtick

Holocaust Humor Losing Its Shtick / by Steve Lipman?

Hitler, suffering from laryngitis, mounts a podium in Berlin at the end of World War II to deliver a stirring oration. Out of sight from the masses, a Jewish thespian intones the words that the lip-synching dictator apparently is shouting.
A concentration camp survivor, who had survived his internment by acting as a dog for a sadistic commandant, encounters a Jewish boy who fancies himself to be a dog in a psychiatric hospital after the war. The older survivor adopts canine behavior to bring the boy back to reality. Scenes from two recent movies, these scenarios could easily lend themselves to blatant slapstick and sight gags in ...

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machine — “Holocaust comedies.”
The two films show that Holocaust humor is no longer an oxymoron, and that the mix of humor and the Holocaust in the hands of creative artists is no longer a shock with the result limited to farce. Subtlety is entering a realm that at first was considered taboo, then lent itself to questionable — in the opinion of many critics — hyperbole.
How can you view the Holocaust through a prism of comedy? The answer, at least a common, early cinematic answer, was through gross, over-the-top, almost maniacal satire that made it clear that the perpetrators of evil, not the victims, were the targets.
That was the approach of the acknowledged first masters of the genre, Mel Brooks, who broached the unbroachable — history’s worst horror — with ham-handed strokes of comedy, goose-stepping line-dancers and a drug addled Fuhrer; and Roberto Benigni, who attempted the unthinkable, wringing laughs from a concentration camp. Their humor was nearly ...

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Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler,” produced by Swiss-born, German-resident Dani Levy, which presents the implausible scenario of an interned Jewish actor becoming Hitler’s acting coach, and confidante, in the waning days of the Third Reich has its funny “Hogan’s Heroes”-ish moments. But it is also, on the whole, not a funny film. Clever, but not funny.
The two movies indicate the emergence of a new generation, one that can treat the Shoah with respectful humor, a daunting task for sure.
In a similar vein, writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s current “Inglourious Basterds,” a loose remake of a 1978 Italian film, brings a comedic touch to a theme of wartime revenge. The ...

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Added: 3/7/2011 11:17:49 AM
Submitted By: yaeli4
Category: Film & Theater
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1543
Pages: 6

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