One of the films out this week, Iron Sky, features Nazis who escaped to the moon. Another, Free Men, is set in Nazi-occupied Paris. One’s a comedy and the second is a drama, but both illustrate how those Nazis just won’t go away.
Where you get film Nazis, you get their vanquishers. At first, these heroes were nearly always Allied soldiers, but more recently have included outsiders like maths nerds (Enigma, 2001) and even Germans (Sophie Scholl – The Final days, 2005). Free Men takes this trend further by having a Muslim-Algerian immigrant save French Jews; while in Iron Sky, one character’s skin colour changes according to how well he’s doing against the fascist scourge.
Multi-culturalism also comes to the rescue in Men in Black III, with Will Smith heading back to 1969 to rid the world of the enemies of the civil rights generation, the Nazi threat referenced this time by Nicole Scherzinger’s shiny black jackboots.
What with all-out economic breakdown and the rise of weird right-wing groups throughout Europe, there’s a handy dramatic tension between happy 60s values and the grim realities of the 2010s. It’s odds-on that film fascination with Nazis will grow, as improbable as that may sound to anyone who watches the History Channel.