Monday, 1 February 2016

REVIEW - MY NAZI LEGACY (DAVID EVANS)


Journalists, historians and real people: their memories, their stories, up close and upfront. David Evans - the filmmaker, the artist - yields to the inherent simplicity of this everyday, analytical approach, content in the complexity of what it abundantly reveals. My Nazi Legacy is clear and comprehensive, yet characterised by a disarming intimacy and depth of thought that resonate far longer than any potential artistic interpretation - smartly eschewed by Evans. It could have run on for over twice its length, or been snipped to a mere scene or two, and it'd have fulfilled its mandate to inquire, to seek out truths about today that can only be uncovered through delving into the past. In that, My Nazi Legacy is the ideal length: however long it happens to be. There is more basic intelligence in this film than in almost every other, acquired via Philippe Sands' astute co-ordination of dispassionate objectivity and informed, emotional subjectivity, though also via the candour of his subjects, Niklas Frank and Horst von Wachter, lifelong friends and children of high-ranking Nazis. As a plain old rumination on the past - indeed, on a period of the past already ruminated on countless times before - My Nazi Legacy is incisive, if somewhat dry and lacking in revelation. As a rumination on the endurance of evil, and the peculiar relationship between family, character and principle, it's a banner work of documentary filmmaking. In fact, it functions less as a film as we have come to understand that concept, and more as a work of historical journalism - memories and stories, up close and upfront.