Aug 3, 2013

The White Rose

Immediately following a public screening at a local university for the German flick The Nasty Girl (1990) aka Das schreckliche Mädchen—a kosher kraut comedy if there ever was one about a busybody bitch of a young broad who takes it upon herself to prove and expose the fact that many people from her own hometown were nefarious Jew-slaying National Socialists—I was intrigued to see a Jewish man get up and question the seemingly unending self-loathing of modern day Teutons and their pathetic and perverse pathological proclivity toward apologizing for the supposed crimes of their fathers and grandfathers. The Brechtian piece of celluloid barf, The Nasty Girl, was directed by an ethno-masochistic far-leftist feminist Bavarian by the name of Michael Verhoeven, who is the prodigal pussy son of National Socialist propagandist filmmaker Paul Verhoeven (of no relation to the Dutch Robocop director of the same name). Undoubtedly, if Verhoeven inherited anything from his father, it was his propensity for making celluloid propaganda, albeit of a lunatic left-wing fashion as if the auteur was trying to make up for every ostensible cinematic wrong his padre made, while at the same reaping scorn on said padre in a manner not unlike how Thomas Harlan (Torre Bela, Wundkanal) would dedicate his entire commie celluloid career to trashing his father Veit Harlan's legacy as the Third Reich's greatest high-camp auteur. Seeing that Michael Verhoeven is a sort of celluloid cuckold who oftentimes portrays fiery yet pedomorphic females as absolutely revolting revolutionary heroes, it was only natural that he would direct Die Weiße Rose (1982) aka The White Rose, a film about the so-called ‘resistance group’ of the same name whose most famous member, Sophie Scholl, and her brother and four other members were arrested by the Gestapo and inevitably beheaded via guillotine in 1943. Naturally, since they stood up to Uncle Adolf and his regime by passively protesting through the pansy power of leaflets/articles (none of which were actually written by Sophie Scholl), the murdered members of the White Rose are now considered martyrs and their little legacies have since been lamentably eulogized to great acclaim by films like Verhoeven’s The White Rose, a agitprop and sociopolitical puffery piece directed by a would-be-auteur whose hatred of his own ancestry and heimat are all the more potent than his rather vapid and vain artistry. If you like the sentimental stupidity of holocaust hogwash like Jakob the Liar (1999) and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) and philistine feminist flicks like The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975) and North Country (2005), The White Rose might be the perfect film for you. 

Opening with the quote, “If a wave of protest rolls across the country, if “it’s in the air,” when many people join, then, in one last powerful effort, we can get rid of this system,” which was apparently taken from the first leaflet from “The White Rose,” it is quite obvious from the get go of The White Rose that director Verhoeven actually believes the Scholl siblings posed a bigger threat than they did. The year is 1942 and the place is Munich, Germany. The 21-year-old college student Sophie Scholl (played by Lena Stolze, who also played Scholl in Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage (1982) aka Five Last Days the same year) is an annoying, cutesy girl who thinks she can get away with everything because of said conspicuous cuteness, so when she discovers that her brother Hans (Wulf Kessler) and his 'Christian socialist' comrades, all students at Munich University as well as a subversive philosophy professor Kurt Huber (Martin Benrath), have started a softcore anti-violent resistance group called the  “White Rose,” she makes it her business to join, despite her bro’s objections. By anonymously distributing pamphlets about how the Nazis are the “master racists” and painting anti-Hitler graffiti on public walls, the White Rose begins developing a sort of unofficial following, which naturally irks local National Socialists, who inevitably bring in the Gestapo to rid Munich of the pacifist virus. Meanwhile, Sophie is in a relationship with a tall, dark, and handsome Luftwaffe pilot named Fritz (Ulf-Jürgen Wagner) who has been sent away to fight on the Eastern Front, likes to make childish jokes, and looks strangely like his girlfriend’s brother. Naturally, The White Rose features superlatively sensationalized Spielberg-esque scenes (aka 'holocaust porn') of tall, blond, and handsome Aryan soldiers stripping poor innocent Jews of their clothes and executing them with the same robotic and detached precision as cyborg Herr Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984). After a nauseatingly nasty Nazi Gauleiter makes an unpopular ‘anti-feminist’ speech at Munich University about why young women should spend their time breeding strong Aryan boys instead of becoming second-rate intellectuals and whatnot, the White Rose gains more support, but it cannot save its members from a deadly date with the ungodly guillotine. Although not contributing to any of the White Rose writings, Sophie demonstrates her dedication to the cause by rather conspicuously purchasing 50 postage stamps, as well as posing as a secretary, so she can steal tons of paper. After siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, as well as their comrade Christoph Probst (Werner Stocker) are caught distributing naughty anti-Nazi articles at the university, they are arrested by the ghastly Gestapo, firmly questioned, and swiftly executed. Of course, only the most patently pernicious and excessively evil regime in human history could the make the head roll of a pretty pedomorphic humanist Christian girl. 

 Rather absurdly, in a 2003 poll for the show Unsere Besten ("Our Best") broadcasted by the German public television channel ZDF, Sophie and Hans Scholl were voted the fourth “most important Germans of all time” by the German public, even beating Bach, Bismarck, Goethe, and Gutenberg, thus demonstrating the overwhelming sense of guilt the modern Teutons have as a result of the Third Reich. Additionally, what seems all the more absurd is the fact that Claus von Stauffenberg—an infinitely braver man who actually went into the ‘belly of the beast’ and attempted to assassinate Hitler and ‘take back’ Germany from nefarious Nazi hands—was not considered greater than the Scholl siblings whose patently passive actions were ultimately futile and whose legacy is mostly superficial as rare gentle Germans who ‘resisted Nazism’ in the now-cliche bourgeois leftist university protestor sort of way. Of course, as Hollywood’s holocaust campaign grows more hostile as the decades pass, Sophie Scholl has only become all the more popular as demonstrated by the mainstream kraut flick Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005), which is quite similar but ultimately inferior to Verhoeven’s similarly aesthetically and melodramatically mundane The White Rose, although it would win two Silver Bear awards, including for Best Director and Best Actress (Julia Jentsch) at the 2005 Berlinale Film Festival, on top of being nominated in September 2005 for an Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. Indeed, rather unfortunately, it seems the White Rose myth will continue to live on cinematically, with Michael Verhoeven’s The White Rose being the odious archetype for an almost imaginary anti-Nazi resistance that achieved virtually nothing except posthumous fame created by largely self-loathing and left-leaning Germans looking for any example and/or proof that not all krauts were demonic kike-haters. Of course, if Germany won the Second World War, who would still know the names Sophie and Hans Scholl today?! 

-Ty E

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