Welcome to Germany

Welcome to Germany is a very elliptical, occasionally revelatory, ofttimes self-serving, but always problematic film within a film within a film. Cornfield, a hack Hollywood director (whose credits include films featuring talking mammals), has come to Germany to make a film about a German director, Korner, who in 1942 was asked by Goebbels to make a feature using concentration camp prisoners who have been promised liberation in exchange for their acting. Cornfield's film, which in a sense is also Korner's, then unfolds in a thickening atmosphere of impossible choice (an old Jew in the camp arbitrarily forced to select from the many the few with a chance at survival), built-in betrayals (victims whose only hope of salvation lies in playing out the fable of their guilt), burgeoning bad faith (Korner's growing doubts about the value of the film he's making and the validity of the promises he's extending), and strange insights (the plot within the plot of two ill-assorted concentration camp companions and their plans for escape). As the shooting continues, so also does the mystery of the real identity of this ""Cornfield'' (helped along to no small extent by the casting of Tony Curtis, ne Bernie Schwartz, in the role), whose knowledge far exceeds any stateside briefing, and whose role in the events of 40 years ago begins to beg a lot of questions. Director Thomas Brasch's mod modernist distance, flashy overstated sets, and excessive use of the director analogy act both as an alibi for and as an admission of complicity in the moral ambivalence that's at the film's center. At times uneven, at times annoying, Welcome to Germany, as much in its failures as in its successes, measures the distorted and shifting parameters of a guilty truth yet to be assimilated.

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