Aug 092013

Magillow, Daniel H., Bridges, Elizabeth, and Vander Lugt, Kristen T. Nazisploitation! the Nazi image in low-brow cinema and culture. Continuum Books, 2012 Amazon

Nazisploitation, or sadiconazista, is one of the most scorned film genres, and also one of the most complex. The films grouped under that heading may share a common aesthetic but have very different productions and meanings, which this anthology tries to map.

…the standard tropes, settings and narrative conceits of Nazisploitation cinema [include]: sexually perverted, calculating and sadistic Nazi officers, prisoner-of-war and concentration camps, medical experimentation and prisoner rebellions. [Pg.2]

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Jul 272011

Nude woman bound to tree, nude man standing nearby, black and white

Back in 2004, German novelist Thor Kunkel claimed that he had discovered a secret chapter in the secrets-filled history of pornography: porn produced in Nazi Germany. From UK newspaper The Guardian:

Before submitting his manuscript to his publisher last summer, Kunkel had researched long and hard into one of the most subterranean aspects of the Nazi era – a series of erotic home movies known as the Sachsenwald films, shot secretly in 1941. Officially, pornography was forbidden under the Nazis; in reality, however, the films were not only screened privately for the amusement of senior Nazi figures, but were also traded in north Africa for insect repellent and other commodities.

Kunkel discovered two of the black and white films – the pastoral Desire in the Woods and The Trapper. In one of them, a man ties a naked woman to a tree. Incredibly, Kunkel tracked down the actress some 60 years after her woodland nude scene, living in an old people’s home outside Hamburg. “I found her via a photographer who had known her since she was 14, when she posed for nude photographs,” Kunkel says.

The 83-year-old was slightly taken aback by the novelist’s visit, but agreed to help. She could recall only two “polite, charming men” who approached her outside a tobacconist’s kiosk in Berlin. The men had driven her and her sister in a black Opel Admiral – the saloon car favoured by the Gestapo – to the woods outside Hamburg. There she had disrobed.

“She told me she and her sister had had a threesome with a man. I found this a bit surprising,” Kunkel says. The novelist never did discover who the director of the film was, but he used the movies as the framework for his 622-page manuscript, which his publisher, Rowohlt, had originally lauded as a “packed, minutely researched portrait of morbid Nazi society … and the demise of the Third Reich.”

Kunkel also interviewed 57 elderly German soldiers who had served with Erwin Rommel in north Africa, where much of the novel is set. They confirmed what he already suspected – that during the second world war, the German military traded Nazi pornography with the locals. The Sachsenwald films even ended up in the hands of the Bey of Tunis, a regent with a legendary collection of pornography. “It was the thing the locals were most interested in. In return, the soldiers got food, water and supplies,” Kunkel says.

There seems to be very little about these films, at least in English, and this whole thing might turn out to be a fabrication or exaggeration.

Aug 132010

A friend in Rostock, Germany, is producing and directing a stage play based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic (or it should be) novel of male submission and female domination, Venus in Furs, or Venus im Pelz.

The play stars Dino Gebauer as Severin and Meike Faust as Wanda, and directed by Florian Dedio. There are two shows, on September 11th and 15th.

Wish I was in Germany, and could understand German.

I’m glad to see this kind of project as I believe Sacher-Masoch is much neglected as a historical and literary figure, and his work deserves wider exposure and his life more academic study. For a man whose name was attached to an entire realm of human behavior and emotion, he is curiously forgotten. Freud’s two essays on masochism make no mention of Sacher-Masoch or his work