Even so, when I found out this week that there is a web site which makes it easy for anyone to create their own Downfall parody video, I just had to give it a go.
If you have somehow managed to miss out on the Downfall parody phenomenon over the past few years, you can easily catch up at the Know Your Meme website. Know Your Meme documents how these parodies have been met with approval by Hirschbiegel. The production company Constantin Films was initially somewhat less impressed with what it saw as an infringement of its copyright in the film, but eventually bowed to the inevitable.
I am conscious that not everyone will consider Hitler to be an appropriate source of comedy. The events of World War II, and the atrocities committed in the name of the Third Reich, can, for some people, never be the subject of humour. If this is you, then please do not play the video. It is certainly not my intention to cause offence.
If you have not seen the (undoctored) film Downfall, then I would encourage you to do so. It is a powerful piece of cinema, and (as is apparent even from the parodies) the portrayal of Adolf Hitler by actor Bruno Ganz is both mesmerising and chilling. The enduring influence of the film, which has doubtless been seen by millions of people born decades after the end of WWII, helps to ensure that we will never forget what happened. And as philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist George Santayana famously wrote in vol. 1 of The Life of Reason: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
So, without further ado…