What can history tell us about the present?
Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s documentary “The Meaning of Hitler” takes a look at the lasting influence and draw of Hitler in the 21st century. The film, which couldn’t come at a more urgent time, will World Premiere in the Viewpoints Competition section of DOC NYC 2020.
Using the eponymous 1978 bestselling book as its frame, The Meaning of Hitler is a provocative interrogation of our culture’s fascination with Hitler and Nazism set against the backdrop of the current rise of white supremacy, the normalization of antisemitism and the weaponization of history itself.
Filmed in nine countries, the film traces Hitler’s movements, his rise to power and the scenes of his crimes as historians and writers, including Deborah Lipstadt, Martin Amis, Sir Richard Evans, Saul Friedlander, Yehuda Bauer, and famed Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, weigh in on the lasting impact of his virulent ideology. As fears of authoritarianism and fascism now abound, the film explores the myths and misconceptions of our understanding of the past, and the difficult process of coming to terms with it at a time in our history when it seems more critical than ever.
Co-directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker are an award-winning husband-and-wife filmmaking team who work between New York and Berlin. Their credits include the 2004 Iraq-set box office hit Gunner Palace (Telluride, TIFF), The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (TIFF 2006, Independent Spirit Award nomination), How to Fold a Flag (TIFF 2009), Fightville (2011), The Flag (2013, CNN Films), and Karl Marx City (TIFF, NYFF), which was released theatrically in 2017.