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Swastika is the most controversial documentary about Hitler ever made. Utilizing intimate color home movie footage shot by Eva Braun, it presents the private life of a dictator, going on picnics and joking with friends, displaying an affable face to the man labeled as the Devil incarnate by history. The film interweaves rare propaganda films, which presented Hitler as he wanted to be seen, consoling war widows and frolicking with young children. Director Philippe Mora combines these materials together to form an unintentional autobiography of Hitler's rise and fall, from the formation of the Nazi state through the end of WWII. Mora lets the images speak for themselves, leading to misinterpretations and its bans in Germany and Israel. But it is one of the most fearsome anti-Nazi films ever made. As the opening credits state, "If Hitler is dehumanized and shown only as a devil, any future Hitler may not be recognized, simply because he is a human being."
The film was banned in Germany for 37 years until 2010 in worries that the humanistic footage of Hitler may inspire Neo-Nazi’s, nor did they want footage to be shown of a time when Germans absolute adored their “charismatic” leader.
"SWASTIKA is tightly edited together so as to give the impression that Mora had sent a documentary team back 40 years into the Reich. The home movies make it seem as if Andy Warhol tagged along too." - Time Magazine
"In reality, SWASTIKA, though perhaps difficult to take, is the most potent of anti-Nazi films, simply because it shows us what people seem to be intent on forgetting, a lesson that cannot be learned too often. That Adolf Hitler and friends were not devils or robot clones. but everyday, even banal folks who in their at-ease moments are indistinguishable from the rest of us. Which would make what they did just that much more obscene." -WASHINGTON POST, Kenneth Turan
"A fascinating document, none the less, that spares us a commentary, letting the material speak for itself."- Time Out London
"The film makes a preliminary case for itself in an eloquent preface: "If the human features of Hitler are lacking in the image of him that is passed on to posterity, if he is dehumanized and shown only as a devil, any future Hitler may not be recognized, simply because he is a human being." But it makes a better case with the scorching ironies of its substance." - The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern