Monday, March 19, 2007

Monsters up close

Today seems to have been Monstrous Dictator Day for me. I watched a couple of movies - Den Untergang (aka Downfall) and The Last King of Scotland. The former tells the story of the last days of Adolf Hitler, seen through the eyes of his secretary. The latter tells the story of the reign of Idi Amin, seen through the eyes of his physician.

I wish I could say more, but I am too drained to continue. Both films feature scenes of gut wrenching cruelty. The one that I expect will haunt me for a while is the scene where Magda Goebbels sedates her children and then poisons them one by one, so that they will not have to live in a world without Nazism. You hear the soft crunch as she inserts a vial of cyanide into their mouths and forces their jaws shut so the vial would break. You see them shudder for a moment, then become still. You see her cover their faces with their blanket. Not once. Six times.

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