Mephisto

I would like to focus the attention of my blog post on the themes and motifs surrounding the main character Hendrik. It was very interesting to me how the Nazi takeover was explained through the use of this one character. Hendrik’s acting career, just like the Nazi regime, had very humble beginnings, but they were both of the evil and sociopathic nature. The first scene of the film is Hendrik cheating on his wife with Julianna, and the ferociousness and aggressiveness of the scene shows that Hendrik may be a little on the crazy side. As the film progresses, and Hendrik’s stardom grows, he finds himself surrounded by more women that he continues to sleep with until he eventually stumbles on the part of Mephisto, who’s face is described as “pure evil” by the Nazi leader.

The rise of the Nazi empire is synonymous with the rise of stardom by Hendrik as well as the growth of the character Mephisto until Hendrik becomes engulfed by the thought of maintaining his image with the Nazi leaders until he realizes that he ultimately has no power in the final scene. This is another film where no character is likable which adds to the gloominess of the Nazi takeover.

I also found the undressing of Hendrik with Julianna very interesting because while he was undressing you could see Julianna in the mirror, but her image was out of focus almost as if to show that in the end, all Hendrik cared about was his own image. Hendrik eventually was destroyed by the power he thought he had just as the power of the Nazi regime destroyed most of western Europe.

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One thought on “Mephisto

  1. Motifs certainly play a large role throughout this film. It is only fitting that the Nazi invasion unfolds through one character seeing as a single leader—Hitler—implemented the takeover. Hendrik constantly reminds the audience that he is an actor. The more the film develops, the more truth we see in that statement. His overly aggressive acts with Julianna show us that there is definitely a crazy side to him. Once he gets into this sort of crazy state, it appears as if he is unable to even control himself. This lack of self-control is also a result of the Nazi regime robbing him of nearly all his power.
    The scene with Hendrik and Julianna is executed marvelously. Julianna’s blurred silhouette may be seen in the background while Hendrik is taking his clothes off. Just as you have mentioned, it just shows the audience that he really could care less about anyone else aside from himself. However all this power he believed he once possessed was destroyed entirely in the final scene of Mephisto.

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