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The Art and Science of Reading Faces: Strategies of Racist Cinema in the Third Reich

The Art and Science of Reading Faces: Strategies of Racist Cinema in the Third Reich Abstract: The 1940 Nazi propaganda film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) is infamous for its brutal antisemitism and claims of being a documentary film. Scholarship on the film focuses on its unique construction, its content, and its use as a tool for Nazi ideology, but has not fully addressed the cinematic techniques that accomplish its goals. This article demonstrates through the lens of physiognomic and film theory the manner in which Der ewige Jude emerges as a more complex and sophisticated film than it first appears, employing a shrewd method of racial indoctrination. Finally, this analysis reveals the way that the Third Reich used racist cinema as a response to a distinctly modern paradox: namely, the fact that Nazi Germany's theories of race conflicted empirically with Jewish assimilation and geographical—as well as social—mobility. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

The Art and Science of Reading Faces: Strategies of Racist Cinema in the Third Reich

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Purdue University Press
ISSN
1534-5165
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: The 1940 Nazi propaganda film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew) is infamous for its brutal antisemitism and claims of being a documentary film. Scholarship on the film focuses on its unique construction, its content, and its use as a tool for Nazi ideology, but has not fully addressed the cinematic techniques that accomplish its goals. This article demonstrates through the lens of physiognomic and film theory the manner in which Der ewige Jude emerges as a more complex and sophisticated film than it first appears, employing a shrewd method of racial indoctrination. Finally, this analysis reveals the way that the Third Reich used racist cinema as a response to a distinctly modern paradox: namely, the fact that Nazi Germany's theories of race conflicted empirically with Jewish assimilation and geographical—as well as social—mobility.

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Jun 24, 2009

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