Berlin Film Festival Gets Serious, Mostly

Space Nazis Flick Shares Bill With Solid Documentaries

Supremacy in Space: Amid a raft of serious documentaries, the Berlin Film Festival featured ‘Iron Sky,’ a satire about Nazis on the moon.
blind spot pictures
Supremacy in Space: Amid a raft of serious documentaries, the Berlin Film Festival featured ‘Iron Sky,’ a satire about Nazis on the moon.

By A.J. Goldmann

Published March 01, 2012, issue of March 09, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Speaking of unusual angles, “Blood Must Flow: Undercover Among Nazis” explores right-wing subculture from the unexpected perspective of neo-Nazi rock clubs. Undercover journalist Thomas Kuban spent nearly eight years filming these often illegal gatherings in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy. His murky footage, captured with a hidden camera, is the basis for Peter Ohlendorf’s documentary. Only a fraction of this visual evidence has been shown before. In the film, Kuban argues that the media, politicians and even police often ignore these events. The documentary shows how Kuban scored a rare victory in the German town of Kirtorf in 2004, which decided to shut down a club that was hosting neo-Nazi concerts after Kuban’s footage was aired on German television.

Kuban, who uses a fake name and wears different disguises in public appearances to protect his true identity and to infiltrate the neo-Nazi scene, claims to have documented nearly 50 such concerts, where right wing extremists use popular music to lure people in search of a subculture to their racist ideology. The songs, often in a rock or heavy metal vein, contain vile and gruesome lyrics that often extol Nazi leaders and gleefully call for the extermination of Jews, homosexuals and immigrants. One particular song explicitly demands the destruction of Kreuzberg, a Berlin district famous for its large Turkish population.

The film’s title derives from a song that is heard at every concert Kuban shows us, and whose popularity makes it the de facto anthem of the neo-Nazi club movement. Many a rendition of “Blood Must Flow” ends with enthusiastic cheers of “Heil Hitler.” The undercover journalist and filmmakers shed valuable light on a disturbing phenomenon that appeals to youth in a significant number of European countries. However, they shy away from the trickier question of what the appropriate response to hate speech — spoken or sung, both in Germany, where anti-Semitic rhetoric is a criminal offense, and elsewhere — ought to be.

It’s a shame the Berlinale programmers did not double-feature “Blood Must Flow” with “Iron Sky,” a tongue-in-cheek space epic about Nazis with the revealing tagline: “In 1945, the Nazis went to the Moon. In 2018, they are coming back.”

Aside from tapping an unexplored niche of the sci-fi genre, “Iron Sky” uniquely harnesses the potential of the Internet. This Finnish production attracted a fan base willing to complete vital tasks including creative consulting, promotion and foreign-language dubbing — making it one of the first ever crowd-sourced films. On the film’s website, director Timo Vuorensola claims the value of all the fan contributions to be in the millions of dollars.

Aside from the film’s quirky cult premise and enterprising production model, “Iron Sky” is also a surprisingly clever and entertaining satire. Its heavy pop culture references include Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator,” the Hitler “Downfall” YouTube parodies and even John Sayles’s “The Brother from Another Planet,” while featuring a patchwork of Wagner themes on the soundtrack. In the film’s not-too-distant future, America is a country ruled by a Sarah Palin-esque president who can’t remember Colin Powell’s name. She is tanking at the polls when her campaign manager decides that the moon Nazis, with their strong message and impeccable fashion sense, are just what the president needs to revitalize her voting base. I’d say more, but I don’t want to ruin the fun.

A. J. Goldmann is a regular contributor to the Forward. He lives and works in Berlin.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.