A man's story parallels Hitler's rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of...
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A man's story parallels Hitler's rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of empathy and of clairvoyance, such that could aid suicidal patients. After the war, with one friend as his manager and another as his lover, Schneider changes his name to Eric Jan Hanussen and goes to Berlin, as a hypnotist and clairvoyant performing in halls and theaters. He always speaks the truth, which brings him to the attention of powerful Nazis. He predicts their rise (good propaganda for them) and their violence (not so good). He's in pain and at risk. What is Hanussen's future?Written by
the fatal hubris of an artist in the path of Nazism
This is the story of the fatal hubris of an artist who vainly tries to maintain neutrality in the face of encroaching Nazism, in order to pursue his brilliant career as a hypnotist and magician. The suspense grows unbearable as the perverse evil intrudes into every aspect of life.
There are wonderful examples of the way the Hitler's propaganda machine co-opts everything in sight, and how people underestimate, over and over again, the lengths he will go to. The character of Bruno Bettelheim, with a clear, humane view of life, appears as a foil to the protagonist who is seduced by his 'art'. I really liked the irony of the man who predicts the future, coming up against his own unrolling fate, as becomes clear in the last, most sinister scene.
This is my favorite of the three Istvan Szabo movies about protagonists trying to control their fate in the web of intrigue of a totalitarian state. It is exciting and provocative.
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