Ordinary Fascism: How did Hitler’s ideology arise?

culture “ordinary fascism”

This Russian explained to Hitler – does his film also help in understanding Putin?

Director Michael Rom (1901-1971)

Director Michael Rom (1901-1971)

Source: pa / dpa / Tass

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At first he laughed a lot. The documentary Ordinary Fascism explains the emergence of an ideology that is being talked about again in relation to Italy and Russia. Curious detail: Hitler also had a problem with his hands, which he solved with diamonds.

DrFascism as a concept has never completely disappeared, but it also has spikes in which one hears it more or less often. The word is booming at the moment. Analysts are increasingly interpreting the Putin regime in Russia, with its wars of aggression and racial contempt for non-Russians, as the current manifestation of fascism. Ukrainians call the attackers “racists”, they go by the name “Russians” and “fascists”. And in Italy, the party that has at least fascism in its genes seizes power. How the outbreak actually continues is a matter of dispute.

Perhaps a classic film about the nature and emergence of this political trend in the early twentieth century may help in the analysis. Ordinary Fascism by Soviet director Mikhail Rom from 1965 is one of those works whose titles have become an proverb. Ironically, it refers to biological terms. There is the common porpoise, the common snake and the common octopus. Sexualists Martin Daniker and Remot Reich referred to both in their 1974 study of “ordinary gays”.

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A movie rum is an essay, and a one-dimensional documentary word for it. The director cuts recordings from Nazi propaganda films. A sarcastic comment is heard from outside. Sometimes it’s suitably cold and harsh, but it’s often pretty funny. For example, when the Hindenburg gets lost in a military formation. Or when the creation of Hitler’s “rhombus” is documented. The dictator liked to fold his hands protectively over his agents (perhaps unconsciously to protect his only remaining testicle), and gave him his guards in doing so. Sections about Nazi art also strike an ironic tone, although even more intelligent contemporaries noted that a certain similarity with monumental Soviet art was unmistakable.

Rome had nothing to do with this effect. He belonged to the generation of directors who brought Soviet cinema to its second heyday in the late sixties. Unlike Mikhail Calatuso with “I am Cuba” or early Andrei Tarkovsky with “Iwan’s Childhood” or “Andrei Rublow”, Mikhail Romm did not work with the planned sequences, that is, very long shots without cutting. Instead, he goes back to the montage technique that Serge Eisenstein used to revolutionize cinema in the 1920s, i.e. quick cuts in which images – often large and close-up shots – are compared to one another and commented on.

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The film still opens up original prospects for historical fascism today. However, this is not the way to get to the bottom of today’s fascism, which has undergone many transformations in the East and West.

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