CIFF 40 Film Review


Nick Lotz

​Germans aren’t typically thought of as funny. What comes to mind when I hear the Rhineland mentioned is sausage, beer, and um, well, you know the last one (hint: Hitler).
Heil, which played at the Cleveland film festival this past Wednesday, is a brutally hilarious political comedy that deals with the Neo-Nazi resurgence in Germany.

The Neo-Nazis are depicted as total idiots, but really, in this film, so is everyone else too. What the filmmaker excels at is exploring the pretentious, yet entirely vapid landscape of brain dead political intellectualism.

Whether it’s through talking heads on television arguing about “heteronormativity” or Nazi punks spray-painting “White Power” in German a hundred times in a row (much akin to Bart in the opening sequence of The Simpsons writing on the chalkboard), Heil maintains a deft, smart, and yet still rambunctiously fun mood throughout.

Some of the humor might be lost on those less traveled as it plays up prim and prejudiced European attitudes toward race quite a bit, but the wackiness never subsides enough for a laugh to be lost in the audience. That being said, the German filmmaker introduced the film as offending the entire population of the Fatherland, so don’t go into this one expecting content suitable for the faint of heart.