Coming to DVD and VOD today, Tuesday, April 5: MEET THE HITLERS
Matt Ogens’ exploration of the impact of an infamous name made its world premiere at New Orleans in 2014. Fest screenings followed at Big Sky, Cleveland, Cinequest, Manchester, Rhode Island, and Boston Jewish, among other events.
What’s in a name? Ogens’ film offers a meditation on this question through the examples of disprate people who (mostly) share the Führer’s surname, or a slight variation. While Adolf Hitler’s direct relatives changed their name and swore to never have offspring, Hitler, or Hittler, has lived on in other family trees, causing some shame, others inexplicable pride, and a few no discernible impression at all. In the latter category is teenager Emily, who adds little to the project in her numerous scenes. Also unnecessarily included is artist Jim Roswold, who doesn’t even fit the project’s stated brief, and has been included on the very tenuous ground that his artwork mocks Hitler to take away his power. That said, while the film, like most surveys, could have benefited from fewer profiles, other subjects presented here offer more poignancy, or at least space to consider their reasons for keeping a surname despite its forever-tarnished associations, from a white supremacist who is thwarted in naming his son after Adolph to a British journalist attempting to track down Hitler’s last confirmed living descendant.