Dirty Nazis

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Mon Mar 19 06:42:56 MST 2001

[From an interview with Jean-Jacques Annaud, director of "Enemy at the
Gate, in salon.com. This is a film about a Russian sniper dueling with a
Nazi sniper during one of WWII's most important battles.]

Q: In America, we're not used to seeing Russians depicted as heroic, or
Stalingrad portrayed as the turning point of World War II. Does that make
this film a tough sell to U.S. audiences?

A: I remember watching "King Kong" in Africa, and there were people there
who had never seen movies before who were cheering when King Kong was
crushing the natives. They identified with the hero, King Kong, and I was
in a native village! It's an interesting mental process. When you read
about it, you may say, "I'm not going to like a Russian guy." But when you
see Jude Law fighting against clear villains -- the Nazi invaders -- you
identify with him.

That's especially true when you know what the Nazis did in Russia. They
raped all the women, disemboweled the pregnant ones and took pictures in
front of piles of dead children. All because they were told that the
Russians were subhumans. I think that once you're in the cinema, you
identify with the people who are the protagonists. True, it's not an
obvious sell. But my movies have never been easy to market. So far, they've
found enough people around the world who are interested in something


St. Petersburg Times October 10, 1997, Friday

'Tibet' director deals with Nazi revelation


Director Jean-Jacques Annaud had completed principal photography for Seven
Years in Tibet when an article in a German magazine revealed that the
central character of the film is a former member of the Nazi Party.

Stern magazine reported that Austrian adventurer Heinrich Harrer enlisted
in Adolf Hitler's National Socialist political party in 1933 and became a
member of the infamous SS forces in 1938. The revelation stirred protests
from Holocaust survivors and historians who thought Annaud's movie and Brad
Pitt's casting as Harrer would romanticize the role.

Annaud appeared on ABC's Good Morning America show on Wednesday and told
interviewer Charles Gibson that he always worked under the assumption that
Harrer was a Nazi Party member. He said Harrer's background makes his
relationship with the Dalai Lama and support of Buddhist principles more

Louis Proyect
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