The Arty Semite

Friday Film: Nazis on the Moon

By Michael Kaminer

“Nazis on the moon” sounds like a punchline. But it’s actually the premise of the most talked-about feature at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. The plot of Finnish entry “Iron Sky” revolves around “a group of Nazis who escape to the moon at the end of World War II to plan a new assault,” according to BBC News. “Added to the farce is a US President with more than a passing resemblance to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and a navy cruiser called the USS George W Bush.”

The most expensive film in Finnish history, “Iron Sky” has, according to BBCNews, “been hailed by some members of the international press as a sign that Germans are now at peace with their Nazi past.” But some Germans felt less comfortable. “Although I heard that audiences were laughing out loud, in my screening… it wasn’t like that,” Kerstin Sopke of the Associated Press told the BBC.

The film’s director, Timo Vuorensola, doesn’t see it that way either. “No, I absolutely think that’s not what’s it about,” he told The Arty Semite in an email.

I think that Germans have as a people moved away from the times, and have learned perhaps more than any other people in the world the horrors fascism brings, and know that history needs to be respected, but that the Germans living now (other than some very special cases) are not the ones who did the horrors. So they haven’t gotten ‘a peace with Nazi past,’ as BBC strangely words it, but they’ve understood that the current German youth did not do the bad things, thus making it possible to approach the subject with other emotions than the well-known ‘German guilt’. It’s time now to make sure it will never happen again.

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