26 Sep

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.

9 thoughts on “Uwe Boll’s “Auschwitz””

  1. “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 shifts the blame from Boll to the “writers” responsible for the abominations.”

    This is a big jump…

    1. Not really. The script is the starting point of a film, and if you have a bad script, 99% of the time, you’ll have a bad film, regardless of the actors, cinematography, or direction.

      Furthermore, adaptation is one of the hardest forms of screenwriting, and video game adaptation is up there as the most difficult and unyielding medium to adapt. Which is why there are no good video game movies.

  2. “The script is the starting point of a film, and if you have a bad script, 99% of the time, you’ll have a bad film, regardless of the actors, cinematography, or direction.”

    The assumption that proceeds the previously mentioned “big jump.”

  3. I’m noticing his movies are getting progressively more disgusting. After watching Stoic, I don’t know if I want to watch any more of his movies. I don’t know if he’s doing it for legitimate reasons (like “never forget”) or if he just wants to be controversial for the sake of being controversial (and free publicity). I think I’ve been on the hate bandwagon for too long to trust him.

    “What’s pissing me off is if anybody else made a movie like this it would be in the running for an Oscar. I do it and I get bashed by everybody”. Although entirely true (I went into Tunnel Rats not even wanting to watch it, but I actually didn’t mind it), it’s because of his choice to do video game adaptations “just for the money” that made it this way. You made your choice Herr Boll, now you must live with the consequences.

    Edit: After reading the entire interview, I actually kind of like him (though my above point stands). He seems genuine (as far as text goes) and I think if Auschwitz is exactly what he says it is, then I whole-heartedly support it’s creation.

    1. Yeah, the video game movies were pretty bad, but I have to respect anyone who makes it far enough in the industry so he can make the films he wants.

      As for how disgusting his movies are getting, I believe that a film that disturbs and shocks has a greater ability to get its message across, though there’s a fine line between effective and “too much.” Consider the film Irreversible. The uncomfortably long rape scene aside, I still consider the scene with the fire extinguisher to be one of the most horrific acts ever captured on film. Then consider Salo–disturbing as all hell, but an important film nonetheless. Same goes for films like Cannibal Holocaust, Antichrist, and many others. But once again, there’s a fine line between legitimate usage of these shock tactics and using them as a crutch.

  4. A bad script is in no way a condemnation of a film. Entire film genres, albeit ones not grasping for the highest production values, actually gain more traction from a bad script, whether intentional or not. Exploitation, Horror, and Romantic Comedies are prime examples of filmic genres that do not require, and indeed are not expected to have, scripts anywhere near “good” quality.

    1. I’m not talking about those select scripts that are “so bad that they’re good.” Manos Hands of Fate, Plan 9, etc. I’m talking about just the cut and dry shitty scripts that almost always result in shitty movies that just aren’t enjoyable to watch.

      But it’s clear when a film is trying to capture that “camp” element.

      I’m standing by what I said–bad scripts make for bad movies. I’ll add that this only applies within the confines of the genre–no one expects Shakespeare in a raucous teen sex comedy or CGI-filled action flick, and nor should they. But even in those types of films, there’s some element rooted in the script that makes you enjoy watching the characters and care about what happens to them.

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