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emad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:06 AM
Original message
German film breaks taboo on satirising Jewish community
The Independent
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
08 January 2005


A film which for the first time pokes light-hearted fun at Jews living in today's Germany has opened to rave reviews and praise from Jewish leaders for breaking down one of the country's most rigidly held post-war taboos.

Alles auf Zucker! ("Everything on Sugar!"), by the Swiss German-Jewish director Dani Levy, 48, went on show at cinemas throughout Germany this week and has earned little other than wall-to-wall approbation from critics. "This is the first movie in post-war German film history to deal normally with the issue of Jewish self-discovery," wrote the Morgenpost newspaper of Berlin.

Paul Spiegel, leader of Germany's Central Council of Jews, said of the film: "For the first time Germans can laugh together with Jews - it succeeds remarkably well."

Alles auf Zucker! comes after scores of films about the Jews and the Holocaust - such as Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List - which have been dutifully watched by Germans and even featured in school curriculums over the past decades. Yet unlike almost every German film about the Jews since the Second World War, Levy's 95-minute production is a comedy, and it is staged along the lines of a television sitcom rather than a big-screen epic.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=59...
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't think the Germans should be making comedies about Jews
Perhaps I'm far too close to the topic to form an unbiased opinion. My mother was a French Jew who fled to the US in 1940. Most of her family that remained died at the hands of the Nazis.

The article states that the relationship between Germans and Jews is a burdened one. As well it should be. What happened should not- cannot - be hidden like peas under the mashed potatoes.

What is Germany, that it thinks culturally they can now try to break the ice with comedy? I can think of 6 million reasons why this is a revolting idea to me.

While contemporary generations of Germans can hardly be blamed for the sins of their fathers, as a society and as a Western culture they still must bear whatever burden they ascribe to themselves. It's been barely 60 years.

The world must never forget. Never. And if that means the Germans are "burdened" with treating its relationship toward Jews with an absence of humor and levity, then that is fine with me.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Maybe it's payback for "Hogan's Heroes"?
Then again, the article says that Jewish leaders in Germany say it is a way for "Germans and Jews to laugh together."

But not having seen the film, I withhold judgment either way.
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haktar Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Don't mention the war
Basil: "Don't mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it. So it's all forgotten now and let's hear no more about it. So that's two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Herman Goering and four Colditz salads... no, wait a minute... I got confused because everyone keeps mentioning the war."

German: "Will you stop mentioning the war?"

Basil: "You started it."

German: "We did not start it."

Basil: "Yes you did, you invaded Poland..."

(FROM Fawlty Towers)


A house, inhabited by a Greek on the ground level, an Italian on the first floor and a German on the second floor caught fire. Who survived?

The German. He was out practising marching.


How do you make a German chocolate cake?
First, you occupy der kitchen.


Sorry to say, but you guys obvoiusly think our flag is still the swastika.

By the way Hogans Heros is played in Germany.
Here it's called "ein Kaefig voller Helden (a cage full of heroes)
and is very successful.

Why shouldn't there be a humorous film about jews?


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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Maybe you'd be open to
finding out about the director rather than passing judgement on something you've not seen? :shrug:

No insensitivity to your sensibilities intended.
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. No offense taken :-)
And yes, I plan to find out more about the film, the director, European Jewry's reaction to it.

My post was just an initial gut reaction, which is why I said maybe I'm too close to the topic to have an unbiased opinion.

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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Word on the street is
it's HILARIOUS! Exit-polling at the Kino down the street is 5 STARS!!!
It's first and foremost a story about FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. Here's the set-up.

2 brothers haven't spoken in 40 years. The older one is an unemployed pool shark running wild and loose in the now capital of Germany, the younger, a strictly observant Orthodox Jew living in L.A.

Mom dies and her "last wish" in her Will and Testament is that the boys kiss and make up and find her a proper final resting place in Berlin.
Geht's LOS!!!

I read a great interview with Levy on the WDR website. If I find a translation, I'll post a link. Sei ganz ruhig! This is a GOOD thing! :hug:
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Kellanved Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I agree and yet I disagree
Nobody is intending to hide anything, and the relationship always will be burdened.

But you seem to ignore the situation of the German Jews. Isn't the German Jewish community allowed to flourish? Are the members not allowed to make movies, write books?
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Mending the relationship doesn't mean forgetting what happened
"What is Germany, that it thinks culturally they can now try to break the ice with comedy?"

Whatever is with Germany, it seems they are now succeeding in breaking the ice.

Do you think relationship between Germans and Jews should be forever burdened?
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Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Forever burdened? No....
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 10:01 AM by KzooDem
But it seems a little soon to be using an ethnic group as a vehicle for comedic entertainment that just 60 years ago was being mass murdered in your own country.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think today's Germans should be walking around singing mea culpas and wearing sackcloth and ashes.

This strikes me not so much as "wrong", but rather inappropriate. It just seems to me that as a culture and a society they should perhaps wait until the generation that survived the Holocaust is gone.

It will be interesting to learn about other Jews' feelings on this, especially today's German Jews. I may be totally in the minority in my opinion and feelings. Maybe this is something German culture has to go through in terms of dealing with the "burden." I can understand that side of the equation as well.

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haktar Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. i can't agree.
Perhaps it would have been inappropriate if a german had made the film,
but if you look at the article, the director was a german jew, and he has every right to make fun of germans and jews as much as he want to.
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Misunderestimator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. Sorry, but that's like saying that an American descended from slaves
should not make a humorous film about his contemporaries descended from slaves. We should never forget as Americans what our ancestors did either, but it doesn't mean that a humorous film about African Americans descended from slaves (written BY an African American descended from slaves, to keep the analogy consistent) would be inappropriate to produce.

It's not as if it's a comedy about the holocaust. THAT would be inappropriate.

I think that a film that would try to unite the non-Jewish Germans of today with the Jewish Germans of today is entirely appropriate, and clearly welcomed.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I didn't see much outrage over "Life is Beautiful" by Roberto Benigni
It wasn't a comedy about The Holocaust, but was what I would characterize as a movie about a comedic personality in the midst of The Holocaust's tragedy.

There were things in "Life is Beautiful" that make you laugh.

In fact, there were even a few comedic moments in Schindler's List.

I have heard complaints from Jews about things like "The Hebrew Hammer" that was on Comedy Central (some of those complaints are justified) and even about Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song (those complaints are silly) and about Heeb Magazine.

Young, Hip, Heeb
by Rachel Pomerance, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=11640


But that's nothing compared to what I have seen from the fundie christians about everything from The Last Temptation of Christ to Teletubbies to Spongebob Squarepants and Shrek 2 (Yes, Shrek 2 has a "transsexual agenda").

So far, I am reminded of an event from the Colonial Williamsburg museum, where they have daily re-enactments of what the lives of everyday people and slaves was like back then.

One year, they announced they would have a re-enactment of a slave auction.

There was an immediate outrage, especially among black leaders.

During the event, there was the inevitable protest. But once people actually saw what was going on, and how it was being presented, many of the protesters went away satisfied that the slave auction was in fact a sensitive, humanizing portrayal of a horrific time that people needed to be educated about.

Also, keep in mind that Ann Coulter, as much as she criticizes Fahrenheit 9-11, has never actually seen the movie.

I will withhold judgment until I either see the movie myself, or hear more from members of the Jewish community. The article says that German Jews love the thing so far.

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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. It's playing down the street
I may go tomorrow. Not just the German Jews, EVERYBODY is raving, including the Turks and Africans in my 'hood. It's a FAMILY spoof and EVERYONE can relate!
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