It's disturbing and tragic, but it's a reality that we all must face in 2018 America- Nazis have been given a presence and platform within the mainstream media. Although it often comes under the guise of "conservative comentator," or the corporatespeak euphemism "Alt-Right," the Nazism agenda of hate has not just a voice, but a megaphone today. Imagine, in 2009, telling someone you had to type that sentence in 2018- what a sobering thought.
Given this unfortunate (to say the very least) turn of events, films portraying Nazis of the past are more relevant and timely than ever. Thus, Robert Schwentke's German homecoming film "The Captain" is not just compelling and interesting, but politically poignant and socially important as well.
The Captain, based on a disturbing true story, appears as part of the Music Box Theatre's (3733 N. Southport) Cinepocalypse, a week long festival of genre films that runs June 21st-28th.
The Captain, a self-described historical docudrama, tar-black comedy, and sociological treatise, centers around the story of Willi Herold (played by Max Hubacher), a German army deserter who stumbles across an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform during the last, desperate weeks of the Third Reich. The synopsis, according to the promotional write-up tells that us Herold is:
"Newly emboldened by the allure of a suit that he stole only to stay warm, Willi discovers that many Germans will follow the leader, whosoever that happens to be. A parade of fresh atrocities follow in the self-declared captain’s wake, and serve as a profound reminder of the consequences of social conformity and untrammeled political power."
The Captain, which opens its regular run at the Music Box on August 3rd, is just one of over 30 films that comprise Cinepocalypse. A full festival schedule, as well as tickets, can be found at this link.
Cinepocalypse will feature several notable directors on hand for fan Q&As and other special events. There will also be special screenings of classic films, and the line-up is overflowing with local Chicago connections.
The festival welcomes writer-director Lana Wachowski, who will host a special screening of her debut 1996 film "Bound." Wachowski is of course best known for 1999's "The Matrix."
Director Stephen Hopkins, who will host a special 25th Anniversary screening of his phenomenal Chicago-shot thriller, "Judgment Night," which starred Jeremy Piven, Denis Leary and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Ernest R. Dickerson will receive the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, and host a special 35mm screening of "Juice" (Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson).
There will be nine world premieres at Cinepocalypse, several more U.S. premieres and a few more Midwest premieres on top of it.
One particularly note-worthy and very engaging Midwest premiere has a load of local ties-
"The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man."
This film chronicles one man's journey to find meaning in Murray's many unexpected adventures with everyday people, using rare and never-before seen footage of the comedic icon popping in on events like he was beamed in from outer space.
Cinepocalypse begins Thursday night at 7:30 with the opening ceremonies, and the premiere of "The Domestics," a survival love story starring Kate Bosworth and Tyler Hoechlin.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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Filed under: Media