Sep 9, 2013
Undoubtedly, even great filmmakers can make an astonishingly bad cinematic failure from time to time, yet I cannot think of a film more unwaveringly revolting, sentimentally reprehensible and phony, aesthetically asinine, culturally and historically dishonest, intellectually insipid, and eclectically shallow and unrewarding from a world-class filmmaker than Invincible (2001) aka Unbesiegbar directed by Bavarian auteur Werner Herzog (Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampyre). Essentially a Zionist propaganda flick made to be palatable to the most naive of children directed by a shabbos goy in the guise of fairytale-like historical fiction, Invincible is a film centering around two very different real-life European Jewish showmen from the early twentieth-century—Polish Hebrew strongman and Jewish folk hero Zische Breitbart and Moravian Jewish clairvoyant/hypnotist and National Socialist supporter Erik Jan Hanussen (born Hermann Steinschneider)—Invincible establishes a dichotomy between the “good Jew” and the “bad Jew” in the Israeli Zionist sense. Of course, the good Hebrew is a strong man with a deep sense of loyalty to his own racial kin and the bad Hebrew is a weak and ostensibly self-loathing Jew who hides his identity and supports the enemy of his people for personal gain as so shallowly and soulless depicted in Invincible. Considering that Werner Herzog is German and directed a film that denigrates his own people and works as a propaganda piece for an alien race that was undoubtedly made for his own personal gain, one could easily argue that the Bavarian auteur is not much different from the villain Erik Jan Hanussen he portrays in Invincible, the sort of exceedingly ethno-masochistic work that could have only been directed by a post-WWII European. While Invincible was not exactly a monetarily successful work, it certainly helped get Werner Herzog in Hollywood as the director went on to direct somewhat mainstream (and thankfully superior) works like Rescue Dawn (2007), The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (2009). Culturally cuckolding himself to the level of depicting his own people as crazed krauts of the quasi-demonic sort that is no less caricature-ridden than Schindler's List (1993), Invincible is essentially the celluloid equivalent of Herzog self-castrating himself and personally handing his Wienerschnitzel to Steven Spielberg in a feeble attempt at atoning for the holocaust. A film that in no way, shape, or form seems like it was directed by the man behind Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) and Fitzcarraldo (1982), Invincible is the film that made me do the once seemingly unthinkable act of second guessing Werner Herzog’s integrity as a filmmaker and a man. An English language UK-German-Irish-American co-production filmed all around the world featuring Brits playing Krauts and gentiles playing Jews, Invincible is also a calculatingly marketed and manufactured celluloid cultural mongrel that was meant as a sort of big comeback film for Werner Herzog, but ultimately signaled the wild Bavarian auteur had very possibly sold his semi-Slavic soul to some devil in Hollywood.
Zische Breitbart (played by gentile Finnish strongman Jouko Ahola, who hardly seems 'Jewish' in any sense of the word) is a rather rare Orthodox Jewish blacksmith with a low IQ but immense physical strength who lives in a Jewish medieval-like Shtetl in rural Eastern Poland and after a couple of cliché ‘white nigger’ anti-Semites pick on him and his weakling genius 9-year-old brother Benjamin (played by the rather Aryan-looking one-time actor Jacob Wein) at a restaurant, the super sensitive Semite superman wrecks the eatery during a idiotic brawl and is forced to work as a strongman in a carnival to make up for the damage he has done. A talent agent spots Zische at one of his performances, and before he knows it, the strong and stoic yet sensitive Hebrew is walking all the way to Berlin, Germany to seek his fortune as a celebrated showman and on the way groups of fellow Jews follow him playing music as if members of some Teutonized Zionist Wandervogel group. When Zische reaches Berlin, he is assigned against his own will to work with carny conman mystic/hypnotist/mentalist Eric Jan Hanussen (Tim Roth), a superficially suave egomaniac who owns a luxurious cabaret-like building called Palace of the Occult and styles himself as a Danish aristocrat but is in fact secretly a Moravian Jew named Hermann Steinschneider whose father is a lowly caretaker of a synagogue. Hanussen lets Zische know from the get go that “No jew should be as strong as you are” and “we will Aryanize you.” After all, most of Hanussen’s greatest fans and friends are members of the Sturmabteilung (SA) brownshirts, so Zische is forced to take on the Aryan persona of dragon-slaying Germanic hero Siegfried, by wearing a ridiculously Marilyn Monroe-esque wig topped with an old Norse Viking helmet. In no time, Zische is sappily and slavishly swooning over Hanussen’s melancholy mistress Marta Farra (Russian classical pianist Anna Gourari, who resembles Herzog's baby-momma Eva Mattes), who is constantly physically and emotionally degraded by the naughty Jewish Nazi mystic, which saddens the saintly Jewish strongman.
After Zische’s mother and little brother Benjamin, who is disheartened by his brother hiding his Judaic background and not being proud of being a member of God’s chosen tribe, visits him in Berlin, the strongman has a random freakout on stage during a performance, takes off his Aryan gear, and admits he is not Aryan and calls himself the new Jewish Samson, which rather pisses off both Hanussen and the nefarious Nazis in the crowd. Naturally, Zische's absurdly executed act of Hebraic defiance makes major headlines and proud Jews begin to flock to Hanussen’s mostly Nazi-occupied Palace of the Occult, thereupon making an absurd audience that is half kosher and half kraut, which naturally erupts into a full-on brawl of the pre- Kristallnacht sort. Despite being Jewish, Hanussen’s ultimate aim is to be the “Minister of Occult” for Uncle Adolf, so when he takes National Socialist bigwigs Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels on a yachting trip and Zische gets peeved when the mystic tries to whore out Mara to the future Nazi Minister of Propaganda, things get a bit ugly. Although initially intending to shoot Zische on the spot after the Jewish strongman calls him a fraud, the Nazis convince the counterfeit mystic that it will be best if they take such libelous matters to court. During the trial, it is revealed that Hanussen is not only a fraud, but a Czech Jew who has gone under a number of false aliases and fake professions during his conman career. Inevitably, Hanussen is taken away by a couple boorish brownshirts and soon executed and his mangled corpse, which has been partially eaten by wild boars, is identified by Zische for the police. In the end, Zische goes back to Poland and tries to convince his fellow Jews to get strong as he foresees a holocaust of sorts, preaching, “We have to get strong. We shall need a thousand Samsons,” but unfortunately the Jewish strongman dies shortly after in a rather ironic and weak manner after getting an infection from a rusty nail. In a rather retarded Spielberg-esque dream-sequence that concludes Invincible, Zische’s picks his brother Benjamin up by the shirt and hurdles him in the air, whereupon the kosher kid literally flies away in the air as if allegorically escaping from the wrath of the Shoah or whatever.
Despite concluding with an inter-title that states that Zische died on January 28, 1933, two days before Hitler took power in 1933, the real-life New Samson died in October 1925, not to mention the fact he died and was buried in Berlin (but not before obtaining American citizenship) as opposed to his home-shtetl in East Poland. However, the real Zische Breibart and Hanussen were indeed real-life rivals of sorts that took each other to court for 'slander' and other stereotypically Hebraic things (contrary to being in love him, Farra filed a slander suit against Zische after the Jewish strongman did the same to Hanussen), but contrary to the romantic depiction featured in Invincible, the two men inevitably reconciled their differences. As for Breitbart, his greatest contribution to his people was providing his services to various Zionist fundraising groups, which Herzog conveniently left out of Invincible, not to mention the fact that he was hardly the Hebrew Hulk Hogan depicted in the film, or as American theater professor/Weimar Scholar Mel Gordon wrote in his his book Erik Jan Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant (2001) regarding the Semitic strongman, ”Breitbart projected something gentle, almost feminine, in his sunny stage persona and was often compared with the silent film star, Rudolph Valentino. Moreover, Zische's proud and unassimilated espousal of his Mosaic faith (through his scenic characterizations of Goliath, Samson, and Hebrew gladiators, together with his Zionistic proclamations in Yiddish) represented a fresh archetype: the twentieth-century Jew as noble savage.” Undoubtedly, judging by the fact that only the historically-inclined Jew would know about Zische Breibart's true accomplishments as a propagandistic son of Zion who was supporting the state of Israel before it even existed, which Invincible does not even touch on but instead portrays the man as a unwitting dullard, it seems like Werner Herzog made the film to send a special message regarding his commitment as a shabbos goy.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 8:49 PM
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