"Based on motives", or: How to distort historical reality
Victor Klemperer (1881-1960) has left us with an impressive body of work. Besides his academic work as a Romance language scholar and later as a politician in the former GDR, Klemperer is most renowned for the extensive diaries he wrote, especially between the years 1933-1945, the time of national socialism in the 'Third Reich'. The revised, eight volume edition of these diaries alone offer more than a thousand pages of everyday observations, commentary and brilliant analysis of life in Adolf Hitler's Germany. For an author, such an authentic and detailed historical source usually means hitting the jackpot. Unfortunately, screen writer Peter Steinbach, for whatever reason, thought it necessary to enrich Klemperer's life testimony with so many own "creative" ideas, that it's almost borderline perversion of history. Events and actions that never took place are inserted as well as characters that didn't exist, while other important key figures are either dreadfully distorted or completely left out.
The result is unnecessary dramatization at the wrong time, while important details in the story are overlooked or treated carelessly. Among those are Klemperer's observations of the Nazi's rise to power; his study of the 'vox populi', popular opinion and thought at a time, when both were eroding and hidden in privacy; his analysis of the language of national socialism; his unrelenting adherence to academic work; the importance of the house that he built with his wife, and a lot more. With every new episode of this mini series, the distortions of Klemperer's historical work become more obvious and aggravating. Neither Klemperer himself, nor his work have deserved such a "creative" treatment, not even under every film producer's most popular excuse called 'dramatic license'.
Ignore all that and you get a well produced and ambitious series with some of the most outstanding German actors, against a most unimpressive backdrop of generic historical film clichés. If you are really interested in Klemperer's life and his valuable insight into the darkest abyss of German history, find the time and read his diaries rather than watching this lackluster effort.
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