Week 9

Mephisto was not one of my favorite movies. I felt like the movie was really dragged out and took a while to actually unfold. Also, it was not among the easiest of movies to follow. However this may have been due to the movie being in German and having to read subtitles instead of listening. This is not to say that the movie was not well constructed.

The scene that stuck out to me the most was actually the final scene. Heinz is asked to meet the Nazi general alone, and does so. While walking down that hallway up to the arena where the general suggested would stage future plays, we hear the echo of their footsteps. As the men are walking down this hallway, this echo is diegetic sound that the actors are able to hear as well. It sounded very similar to what it would sound like if individuals were marching in a concentration camp.

Following this, Heinz is instructed to go down into the center of the “stage.” The Nazi general shrieks Heinz’s name. The echo it makes functions to show his dominance over not only Heinz, but all those surrounding him as well. Here we see one long cut with Heinz attempting to escape the lights shining down on him. Meanwhile, the power of the Nazi general is depicted with him looking down on Heinz. Heinz is helpless in the middle of the stage, running from one corner to the next. The bright white lights are sucking everything out of him as we see the color being drawn out of his face as well. He continues to struggle and cannot make this stop. He soon comes to the realization that he has been left absolutely devoid of any power he may have once had. Heinz gives one last yell as he admits that he is just an actor, meaning that he does not make his own decisions. He simply does as told, playing the role assigned to him. The camera then goes and freezes at a close up of his white, helpless face.

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2 thoughts on “Week 9

  1. I agree with the things you said about the last scene using different film techniques to symbolize the Nazis’ power. Honestly, I thought Kendrik was being taken away to be shot. The scene follows similar patterns to scene where Kendrik’s friend was shot. The pattern involves getting into the Nazi car, alone and helpless. Then the victim is walked by several Nazis so there is no possible way to succeed in escaping or fighting back. In his friend’s case, when he was told to walk, it meant imminent death because they shot him. So, when the prime minister told Kendrik to walk down to the bottom of the theatre, I was expecting death again. The director fooled me, just as the Nazis fooled Kendrik into thinking he was someone of importance.

  2. What really hit in this scene is the grandeur and immense size of the “stage” that as such should be able to contain the fervor and pride that Hendrick holds for himself and his profession. But it is not so. Instead of the associated adulation and gazing eyes that a stage would normally hold, this stage is empty despite its size. The largeness just makes the emptiness sting deeper and weigh more than normally would. It makes Hendrick look small and insignificant, just as the prime minister openly mocked him for earlier. Additionally, Hendrick in every scene he has been has almost always been actively speaking and was overall very dynamic. But here, for once, he is silent and despondent even though he is been spoken and commanded to by the prime minister. This is very much something Hendrick is not used to, as prevalent in his shaken movements and hushed tone of voice towards the last minutes of the scene and thus the film.

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