A film by Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
1962, 18 minutes
No. 147

Relishing his political and sexual prospects in postwar Germany, a former Nazi colonel muses on the stupidity of the bourgeoisie, who can be easily duped in the voting booth and in the bedroom. Straub-Huillet’s first released film is a powerful, almost surreal, distillation of Heinrich Böll’s story, skewering the German soul though gallows humor, an interior monologue of calculation and cynicism, and a montage of jingoistic newspaper headlines. Straub would observe that the film is “built on the equation M [military] = M3 [murder].”

Official Selection, Vienna Film Festival

"The coolness of Erich Kuby’s narration, the clean economy of the images, and the marvelously abrupt ending — a sudden closing cadence with some of the effect of a slammed door – all suggest a profusion of shots, details and feelings forcibly hammered together to form a continuous, dark and extremely packed surface. It is an appropriate enough cornerstone for Straub to build his own Academy of Memories on, in his subsequent films — laid here with a clipped decorum that seems to take some of its staccato delivery (if not its ideology) from the despised Machorka-Muff himself." - Jonathan Rosenbaum