Using Sebastian Haffner’s eponymous 1978 bestselling book as its frame, the film is a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism and the weaponization of history itself.
“This film has been made over the course of four volatile years, beginning just as the UK decided to Brexit, far-right nationalists were gaining ground across Europe, and America was grappling with the improbable rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It seemed that the world was sliding backwards into darkness. How was that possible? Had history lost all its meaning? That was how we began looking for answers. […]
Israeli historian Saul Friedlander […] believes that Nazi staging was at once about creating a spectacle for the present and a message for future. In a world of unlimited and unmoderated content, it’s possible that we’ve been unwittingly propagating propaganda that was purpose-built by the Nazis to transmit their ideological virus into the future. Which begs no small question: how can you responsibly explore such past without contributing to Nazism’s rehabilitation?
Rather than relying on dubious propaganda images to tell the story, we set out to explore the past through the lens of the present by visiting key locations in Hitler’s life, a journey that quickly revealed just how difficult it is to come to terms with the past.”