Eric Rentschler: Film Analysis

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Eric Rentschler, a Harvard University professor of German cinema and history, has written countless pieces of works surrounding the Third Reich era. Books like West German Film in the Course of Time (1984) displayed how the Germans used cinema to portray their lives during the late 1930’s up to the time of Hitler taking power. His article on Jew Süss (1940) discussed how Veit Harlan supplied a survey of historical occurrences with the use of anti-Semitic features. He also displayed the real face of the Jewish population, and used dissolves and shadowing to illustrate the approaching cruelty and mass killings of European Jewry. In the article Rentschler demonstrated how during the Third Reich era the film world had fallen into the hands of…show more content…
For his dissolves according to Marc Ferro gave the film an ideological significance. An excellent example of the ideological significance was in The Eternal Jew, for the film displayed “the essence of the Nazi doctrine” with the scene going from the Eastern Jew to the masked and beaming Western European Jew (pg. 159). Furthermore, it illustrated the metamorphosis that Nazis were portraying about the Jews characteristics. Rentschler demonstrated how Harlan’s use of dissolve on the photographic and acoustic levels, penetrated visions and echoes. A good example of this was the use of the song “All Mein Gedanken,” for it served as a feeling a terror within the film (pg. 162). Harlan also used shadowing as a visual technique, but Rentschler described the shadowing as a means to capture the insensible self-disgust and the mass killings and violence committed by the Nazis. For he choose to use this style to illustrate how the Jew became the reflection of Hitler and the National Socialism movement (pg. 165). All in all, Rentschler’s article gave me an inside look of what Harlan’s Jew Süss is going to introduce to me for the Third Reich era. I truly enjoyed how Rentschler went into great detail about the style of the film and the use of historic occurrences to provide the reader with an in-depth understanding of the period
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