Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, Oct 7th, 2014

FILM: The Decent One

The Decent OneIn early May 1945, U.S. Army soldiers occupied the Himmler family home in Gmund, Germany. There they discovered hundreds of private letters, documents, diaries and photographs. The Decent One, a brilliant and unique documentary from Vanessa Lapa makes use of these materials to sketch the biography and expose the inner mind, ideals, plans and secrets of SS commander, the architect of the “Final Solution,” Heinrich Himmler.

We get a true picture of who Himmler was all through his youth, his thoughts of nearly crippling inadequacies, deep nationalist pride and growing devotion to Hitler (even some not so hidden sexual banter with his wife-to-be through their letters) as this man grew to be one of the most infamously cruel characters in recent history.

The film includes the afore-mentioned letters from Heinrich Himmler to his wife Marga (and her replies), the Baby Diary of Marga and Himmler in which they documented Gudrun’s first years-1929 and 1935-and one hundred and thirty five still pictures (48 used in the film) plus orders and requests from Heinrich Himmler to his subordinates (to name just some of the many pieces from the collection used). How the full collection of all this stuff came into the hands of the filmmaker is as much an interesting story in itself and worthy of its own documentary.

There’s also tons of archival footage of Germany and the Nazis, lots with Himmler standing front and center, scary stuff no matter how many times you see it.

A fascinating if not appalling subject made into a great film, The Decent One is certainly worth seeking out.

The Decent One is now playing in New York at Film Forum, expanding nationwide this Fall.

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FILM: The Decent One