|Poster for 'Look Who's Back'|
Based on a satirical novel by Timur Vermes published in 2012, the book sold over two million copies in Germany alone and has been translated into 42 languages, including Hebrew. It is scheduled to be sold in the U.S. starting this week through British publisher MacLehose Press as American publishers passed on it. According to Vermes fans are demanding a sequel. The book's success was a surprise, given its theme, but humor own out over history.
Germany has a long tradition of Hitler satire but 'Look Who's Back' pushes into new territory as the movie makes you laugh with Hitler - which is kind of creepy as you don't want to have an affinity with the character. Yasher Mounk, a German/Jew and author of a bio about growing up in Germany in the 80s and 90s entitled, 'Stranger In My Own Country' said of the movie, "it is the allure of the forbidden. It signals defiance at the notion that you shouldn't laugh at the Nazis. It says, "Look at me transcending the taboos that are meant to hold us down." If we cannot recognize the 'real' Hitler for who he was then we are all in trouble."
The movie is funny, for sure, but it makes you go deeper into yourself. As New York Times critic, Janet Maslur stated, "it remains both humorous and disturbing at the same time."
Whether or not 'Look Who's Back' will ever play in cinemas in the U.S. is iffy. Baring the Jewish factor the whole issue that the U.S. had to defeat Germany twice for their indiscretions took a great toll on America at many levels.
The question becomes, should the whole issue of Hitler and the Nazis be a scar on the German psyche after 70 years? Many Germans, and others, think not. 'Look Who's Back' is a metaphor for unshackling the collective guilt of the past. Time is a big healer - societies change, wars are forgotten with new generations, guilt disappears and like a sack of bricks it is eventually put down and people walk away.
I don't believe 'Look Who's Back' would be a box office hit in the U.S. - it may be just too soon for us, but it should be released nonetheless.