Berhard Wicki’s decades-old film, ‘The Bridge,’ portrays Germans as the heroes of World War II. Since it was released in 1959, it has vanished down the rabbit hole of moral neglect.
Exactly how popular culture has grappled with Nazism over the past 60-odd years forms a peculiar sort of curve. In films, the trajectory began with stock-villain propaganda and then evolved (in the 1950s and ’60s) toward a defensive, Jewish-comic sardonicism, which found itself capable of using the German fascism as farce. This abated in the ’80s, when it became impossible to joke about so many things, and then the impulse emerged, oddly, after the feel-good trauma of “Schindler’s List,” as comedy again, in the ’90s (“Life Is Beautiful,” etc.). By now, of course, only toll-taking documentaries and occasional sojourns into history, like “The Pianist,” can be tolerated.