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MAX

USA / Canada / Germany, 2002 (MIFF 2003, International Panorama)

Director: Menno Meyjes

A fascinating conceit that advances the theory that if Hitler was a better artist, the world may have been spared a despot and a World War. Homeless, penniless and disillusioned by Germany's defeat in WWI, Hitler (Australian Noah Taylor) is hawking sketches around Munich when he encounters gallery owner Max Rothman (John Cusack). The pair strike up a strained friendship; Hitler is unconvinced of his talent but is making grand pronouncements like, "I am the new avant garde and politics is the new art."

"Max suggests that Hitler's real work of art was himself. The film, written and directed by Menno Meyjes has been attacked because it attempts to 'humanise' a monster. Hitler was human, and we must understand that before we can understand anything else about him. To dehumanise him is to fall under the spell which elevated him to a Fuhrer, a mythical being who transfixed Germans and obscured the silly little man with the moustache. To ponder Hitler's early years with the knowledge of his later ones is to understand how life can play cosmic tricks with tragic results."—Chicago Sun-Times

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