Fantasia 2011: ‘One Hundred Years of Evil’ is a one joke film
Directed by Erik Eger & Magnus Oliv
Written by Oliver Blackburn, Erik Eger, Magnus Oliv and Joacim Starander
Sweden, 80 min.
Maximum capital gains have long-inspired television programmers of history television to favour propaganda championing the heroes and successes of their countries war-time achievements. Audiences clearly lost interest in self-congratulatory patriotism and viewers fled to 24 hour news channels that promised more intrigue and exploitation than any history program had to offer. Taking a page from CNN and Fox News, channels that once focused exclusively on World War Two heroics have turned to fear-mongering doomsday predictions, tragedy porn and revisionist history, focusing on increasingly improbable conspiracy theories. Absorbing these influences, One Hundred Years of Evil presents in mockumentary form, an absurdist scenario suggesting that Hitler did not die in the bunker.
As many mockumentaries do, this film suffers due to it’s length and adhering far too closely to the model it is mocking. The flaw lies largely in the exploitative model itself, whose redundant and circular form favours the channel hopping home audience. The film might have actually succeeded better as a television series. As a succint hour-long television format it could have highlighted the absurdity of commercialized history presented to the masses as entertainment rather than education. There is no real certainty as to what aspect of society is being satirized either and this detracts from the film significantly.
One Hundred Years of Evil works best as a series of Hitler jokes; play around with our understanding of him as a historical and pop-cultural figure. Historical material is manipulated in order to include him in the background of many notable historical events and he is presented as being a driving force for 20th century socio-cultural trends (including McDonalds). The strangeness of this material elicits quite a few laughs and they are refresingly original in their handling of him within American society. As a conspiracy theory film though, it falls flat and becomes very repetitive very quickly and this is where it loses a lot of viewers.
Those searching for a film with a dark sense of humour are the most likely candidates to enjoy this film. They will at the very least get a kick out of hearing a story about Hitler ranting and raving about hot dogs. Though overlong and unfocused it is still quite enjoyable and certainly presents an unconventional premise. It’s a shame this amounts to little more than a one joke film.
– Justine Smith