Jul 20, 2008

Führer Ex

Führer Ex is a German film based on the life of real-life former neo-Nazi and blonde beast Ingo Hasselbach. Hasselbach decided to quit the neo-Nazi scene after meeting Führer Ex director Winfried Bonengel during the filming of a documentary on contemporary German Nazis. Hasselbach felt that Bonengel was someone who “rebelled” against German democracy but also wasn’t a neo-Nazi. Hasselbach realized one could rebel against the German “democratic” state without being a neo-Nazi. One of the biggest reasons for Hasselbach’s involvement in the neo-Nazi scene in Germany was his contempt for growing up in Eastern Communist Germany and the prison time he served there just attempting to escape the Marxist prison-state.

Führer Ex follows a young boyish blonde German Heiko and his friend Tommy as things get worse for them in Eastern Germany. They transform from just being antisocial punk rockers rebelling against a commie stasi police state to full fledged violent neo-Nazi street fighters. After being arrested for attempting to escape Eastern Germany and make their way west, they are jailed. During their early prison stay, Tommy is already part of the Nazi club (he was imprisoned before) and Heiko at first rejects Nazism. Heiko changes his position later when assaulted and raped by a Gay prisoner that pretends to befriend him. The Nazi gang virtually beats the gay prisoner to death after finding Heiko in a bloody and naked traumatized state.

Heiko goes from being a sweet young Aryan to a hateful Nazi leader after getting out of Jail. He is the “Führer” of a neo-Nazi “terrorist” house in Germany. He has his own troop of contemporary Nazi SA brown shirt storm troopers in the form of ugly shaved head skinheads. These young brutes have an impulse for inflicting pain on foreigners and leftist/anarchist/commie rival gangs. Heiko’s friend Tommy eventually catches up with with him and he realizes he is not really a Nazi anymore. This starts to turn them into enemies as Heiko has turned ultimately into a Nazi idealist that has blocked off outsider empathy. Only during the conclusion of Führer Ex does Heiko figure out something that has come too late.

Real-life ex neo-Nazi Ingo Hasselbach’s book Führer Ex is much different than the film. A lot of facts are obviously changed and made-up for entertainment purposes. Also, the constraints of having a feature-length tell Hasselbach’s story doesn’t help. The autobiography Führer Ex focuses on Hasselbach’s life growing up in Eastern Germany as an anti-social child to his time after the movement where former comrades tried to blow up his mother’s apartment. Ingo Hasselbach was also responsible for co-writing the script for Führer Ex.

After reading the book Führer Ex, I found the film to be far inferior. Still, the film is highly entertaining and much better than most films of a similar subject matter. It doesn’t feature any blatant “in-your-face” moral message. It just merely shows situations and the results of those situations. With the book and film, Ingo Hasselbach seemed to capitalize a lot off his former taboo past. He seems as if he were someone that was more interested in destroying than being a “serious” neo-Nazi. After all, Ingo Hasselbach had no problem destroying his own past and his “life’s work.”

-Ty E


Fox said...

The picture of Ingo on that book reminds me of the guy from The Real World London that got his tongue bitten off.

Another great review, btw.

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