S( RI:I:NnFacing FascismnHans-Jiirgen Syberberg: Hitler, A Filmnfrom Germany; Farrar, Straus &nGiroux; New York.nby Stephen MacaulaynHans-Jurgen Syberberg is a filmmakernwho was born in Germany (Pomerania)nin 1935. In the history of film,npost-World War I German productionsnare highly rated. Lang, Murnau, andnPabst, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari,nThe Last Laugh, and The Joyless Street:nall are names that stem from the 20’s.nTwo years before Syberberg’s birth, thenGerman film industry fell under Hitler’sndominion. A period of barren fascistncraft followed. Post-World War 11 films,nuntil recent years, are not particularlynnoteworthy. In Syberberg’s words aboutnmodern filmmaking in Germany (whichncan apply equally well to Hollywood,nwhich Syberberg sees as a cause for thenchange): “Today’s movie-house has, innmy opinion, been the locus of a deterioratednform of Aristotelian dramaturgy—ndeteriorated into boulevard triviality—nfor the past fifty years, without poetic,naesthetic, or intellectual innovation.” Innthe rare cases when such innovation doesncome to the fore, it remains isolated,nwithout true successors, with perhapsnonly poor imitators. Hitler, A Film fromnGermany is Syberberg’s successful attemptnto reclaim film from the mentalitynthat views film—what Susan Sontag callsn”the art of the twentieth century” in hernpreface to the text of the work—as “thenfast-food stand of show business.”nThe film is what Syberberg calls anTrauerarbeit, a “work of mourning,”nand as such it is discomforting: the workingnout of any pain requires it. While thenreader of the tejct is spared sitting over anseven-hour period and the viewing ofnshocking images that proceed unabated,nhe or she is also forced to reflect on thenwords and images. The meditation occursnmidsentence or during other breaksnfrom reading; the film-viewer cannotnstop or go back, only move ahead. Bothncome away changed.nMany films have been made aboutnHitler; men from Charlie Chaplin tonAlec Guinness have played the role. ButnSyberberg’s creation is not merely a filmnabout Hitler. Rather, it is the performancenof a tragedy, one with the purposenof forcing the German people to come tongrips with a period in its past and so tonbecome purged. Certainly Syberbergnknows that his countrymen are aware ofnthe horrible numbers of Auschwitz andnthe other camps; he, as they, are aware ofnthe arguments that Hitler was simply thentool of the rapacious capitalists. But suchnrecognitions and others like them are rationalnor material concepts, and, saysnSyberberg, “Hitler is to be fought, notnwith the statistics of Auschwitz or withnsociological analyses of the Nazineconomy, but with Richard Wagner andnMozart…. Hitler and all the idealism ofnhis misled followers can be conquerednonly with the heart.” He contends thatnthe German people have become thoroughgoingnmaterialists since the war,nwhich has made them comfortable yetnMlSKnStruttin’ with Some IdeasnGary Giddins: Riding on a Blue Note;nOxford University Press; New York.nby Douglas A. RamseynGary Giddins’s range is impressive.nHe is of a generation of jazz critics andnreviewers reared in the age of rock, mostnof whose lack of perspective has resultednin some of the most wrongheaded evaluationsnsince the know-nothing apologistsnof the Dixieland revival of the 1940’s.nMr. Ramsey is a Jazz musicologist in SannFrancisco.nnnculturally deficient. Their emphasis, henthinks, is not just born of necessity, of thenneed to rebuild, but rather a reactionnagainst Romanticism, of which Hitler isnmistakenly seen as the apotheosis. Syberbergnasserts:nIn the course of assiduous lessons innrationalism and materialism, theynrepressed one of their most importantntraditions, the accursed main strandnof their nature, pinning it all on thenNazis without a demurrer, puttingnthe curse of Fascism upon the longnhistory of irrationalism and whatnrelates to it. Hence everything that isnmysticism, Sturm und Drang, largenportions of classicism, the Romanticnperiod, Nietzsche, Wagner, and Expressionism,nand their music andnparts of the best things they had, werensurrendered, relocated, repressed.nSome of “the best things” are, undoubtedly,npre-Hitler films. Syberberg thinksnit is too much to give up, especially as, ifnthe horror is faced with the heart and thenhead, it will be seen as unnecessary, anmse, something hiding a wound. DnThe pages of Down Beat ate awash innthese writers’ obeisances to the wateryndeposits of the fusion movement. ButnGiddins, Robert Palmer, and PeternKeepnews—almost alone among jazznwriters of the rock generation—havenrounded themselves into first-rate generalists.nOf the three, Giddins is the mostncompendious in his knowledge. Few, ifnany, other jazz critics have even listenednseriously to The Dominoes, much lessntraced the performance genealogies ofnthe group’ s members to such unexpectedninfluences as Eddie Cantor and Aljolson.nHis consideration of the question of BingnFebruary 1983n