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Human Remains (1998)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 309 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 5 critic

Film clips of the 20th century's great dictators with narration in first person combine to form a fascinating portrait of power and evil.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Eva Braun ...
Herself (archive footage)
Francisco Franco ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Zedong Mao ...
Himself (archive footage)
Benito Mussolini ...
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Stalin ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Paul von Hindenburg ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

We see a gravedigger's shovel at work. Then, we watch archival footage that, for the most part, is up close and personal scenes of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, and Mao. In the background, a voice in German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese speaks in the first person, narrating an autobiography; another voice gives a simultaneous translation in English. Often we see them with children or young women. They are braggarts. The editing is droll; the words and images combine to satiric effect. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary | Short

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January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anthropina apomeinaria  »

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User Reviews

 
...but there was liver in the dumplings, and chicken stock in the nudelsuppe...
31 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The film contains five segments separated by the recurring image of a man shoveling through smoldering black ashes. The segments profile Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco and Mao. An ominous hum persists through much of the film, but disappears for Mussolini and Franco. Cute. First person voice-overs posing as the translated words of the dictators themselves offer intimate details of their habits, physical conditions and private affairs. Meanwhile, archive footage of the dictators relaxing with family and colleagues, or performing routine functions devoid of passion or ideology provides some visual evidence to complement the monologues.

The effect is engrossing and mildly comical, especially with the very casual style of the English 'translations'. Think Dr. Evil telling his life story. Those who didn't already know will learn that the great dictators were human beings with insecurities and unsavory habits like everybody else. The rest of us can enjoy the stream of interesting facts, the carefully sequenced, but certainly familiar footage, and the smooth delivery of the 'translator'. Don't expect anything too challenging or ground breaking, however.


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