The Goebbels Experiment

 

Documentary for theatrical release, 108 min.

Production: HMR Produktion in cooperation with Spiegel TV and ZDF, together with BBC and History Television Canada, supported by Filmstiftung NRW

 

Director:

Lutz Hachmeister

Script:

Michael Kloft, Lutz Hachmeister

Assistant director:

Christian Wagener

Director of Photography:

Hajo Schomerus

Editor:

GŁnther van Endert

Cutter:

Guido Krajewski

Sound:

Marcello Busse, Rainer Gerlach, Kevin Granahan

Sound mix:

Tilo Busch (Soundvision)

Narrator:

Udo Samel (Ger) / Kenneth Branagh (Engl)

Post-Production:

Carla Schild-Kreindl and Geyer GmbH

 
Theatrical release (Germany): April 14, 2005
US release: August 12, 2005

First broadcast: July 3, 2007, ZDF

 

In preselection for the German Film Award 2005

New York Times Critic's Pick 2005


Berlin International Film Festival  (2005)

Montreal World Film Festival (2005)

Seventh Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem (2005)

S„o Paulo International Film Festival (2005)

Bergen Internasjonale Filmfestival (2005)

WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film, Warschau (2006)

 

 

 

 

 Synopsis

 

Joseph Goebbels (1898-1945) survived the Third Reich as a trademark for unrestrained, cynical propaganda. But his life was more dazzling and disturbing than one might typically suspect. "The Goebbels Experiment" forgoes any commentary, letting Goebbels himself speak through his personal diaries (Narrator: Kenneth Branagh) – ultimately forming the portrait of a man ranging between depression and blind rage, self-pity and political ecstasy.

 

 

 

 

Press responses

 

Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's infamous minister of propaganda, was such a candid diarist and made sure events of his times were recorded exhaustively in all media that in a very real sense he is the true auteur of "The Goebbels Experiment," a fascinating, veritable self-portrait, masterfully culled from a trove of archival materials, by Lutz Hachmeister and Michael Kloft… Much is known of Goebbels, so the withering opinions of his colleagues and enemies that he confided to his diaries makes the film lively and even amusing, as spoken by Kenneth Branagh. Early on he declares "Goering is a fat pig, with a clear case of megalomania." "Himmler hates me. We have to bring him down — Goering agrees." "Churchill is a revolting fat beast but an adversary we have to respect."
(L.A. Times, Oct 14, 2005)

 

In their fascinating documentary “The Goebbels Experiment”, the director and writer Lutz Hachmeister and the writer Michael Kloft provide a rare and chilling glimpse into a brilliant but toxic mind. Rejecting commentary, Mr. Hachmeister and Mr. Kloft allow Goebbels to speak for himself, in the voice of Kenneth Branagh, via the extensive diaries that he kept from 1924 to 1945. Rare clips from German film and television archives illustrate the readings, which veer wildly from venomous, anti-Semitic rants to eloquent musings on music and nature, often in the same entry. … Some of the film’s most engrossing moments deal with Goebbels’s exclusively utilitarian ambitions for German cinema. “We can learn a lot from these Bolsheviks“, he reluctantly admits after a viewing of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1927 epic, “Ten Days That Shook the World.” And his belief in Leni Riefenstahl’s ability doesn’t deter him from deeming her a lunatic when she begs for money to finish her film “Triumph of the Will” … At a time when much of our news and entertainment media is controlled by a handful of corporations, “The Goebbels Experiment” is a cautionary reminder that equal access to the machinery of ideas may be society’s most critical goal.
(The New York Times, Aug 12, 2005)