Cinema and gaming blogs have been reporting on a teaser for an upcoming film by the infamous Uwe Boll. The film, slated for a 2010 release, is called Auschwitz and has Boll himself playing a gas chamber guard. You can view the teaser below, but I must warn you–it is extremely NSFW and will make anyone feel sick to his stomach.
I’ve defended Uwe Boll before–I interviewed him as one of my first pieces for Elder-Geek and that revealed to me that he had no delusions about the quality of his video game adaptations. In fact, he said so himself that he only started doing it for the money. Money that, presumably, allowed him to make his own films that include Seed (2007), 1968 Tunnel Rats (2008), Stoic (2009), Rampage (2009), Darfur (2009), and Auschwitz, which will have its German premiere on December 31st of this year.
When listing bad video game movies, several Boll films do come up. House of the Dead (2003), Alone in the Dark (2005), Bloodrayne (2005) are the main offenders, but some cursory research will reveal that none were written by Boll, which largely shifts the blame from Boll to the “writers” responsible for the abominations. When Boll writes his own material, the result is noticeably better. 2007’s Postal, despite receiving a lot of negative reviews from “professional critics,” received much better reviews from the gaming press, and, let’s face it, the movie isn’t all that bad. It’s not meant to be art–just mindless entertainment, something that many critics are willing to overlook…unless Uwe Boll’s name is attached.
Since Far Cry (2008), Boll has made several of his own films. The most notable was Darfur, known as Attack on Darfur in the USA. In addition to winning ‘Best International Film’ at the New York International Film & Video Festival this year, it received praise from the likes of Ron Howard, who was quoted as writing that Boll “made a disturbing yet enlightening film. The stark, straightforward filmmaking tells a tragic story that is certainly ‘must viewing’…” Darfur was also part of the official selections at the Pan African Film Festival, the Victoria International Film Festival, the Ion International Film Festival, and the Cape Winelands International Film Festival.
Clearly, Boll has talent, and the embedded trailer below (reiterating, once again, that it is very disturbing) shows some of that. Boll stands outside the gas chamber as those inside hammer against the doors and walls. He stands, arms crossed, as one would stand waiting for a tumbler dryer at a laundromat. It’s horrifying.
The teaser becomes more graphic as it goes on, going so far as to show the body of a child rolled into the ovens. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting. But what’s more disgusting is that every single blog and article about this film are focusing on Uwe Boll. People are saying that he’s exploiting the atrocities that occurred in World War II, but I’d like to take a moment to point to Night and Fog (1955), by Alain Resnais. Though largely told through images of post-war Auschwitz–of empty camps, left as a reminder of what happened, there is footage that will make your stomach turn.
Now, I’m not comparing Uwe Boll to one of the great French New Wave directors, but I’m trying to illustrate a point–were any other name attached to this project, it would be controversial, yes, but there would already be murmurs of Oscars. Watch the teaser again, and imagine a name like ‘Lars von Trier’ appearing at the end. People would be calling it “genius.”
The fact of the matter is that Uwe Boll is unjustly attacked because of his choice to adapt video games as a means to make a living. All video game movies are, considering the heights to which film has risen, absolute shit. Regardless of who has made them. Uwe Boll has talent, yet too few are willing to hop off the “Hate Boll Bandwagon.” He has a Doctorate in Literature. He’s worked in the industry for a long time and manages to make multiple films a year, which is a superhuman feat in itself.
At this point, I’d like to direct you to an interview with Boll where he discusses his new film. He mentions how he made Auschwitz on the side, using sets and other resources while shooting Bloodrayne: The Third Reich. Reading the interview will make it abundantly clear that the film was not made as exploitation–it was made because “it was necessary to make.” It’s an eye opening interview (though largely one-sided–I wish Boll had been as verbose when I interviewed him) that should reveal everything you need to know about Auschwitz and, hopefully, do its part to destroy the incorrect perception that Uwe Boll is a latter day Ed Wood.