I'm sure you've all seen one incarnation or another of the Downfall meme (or Hitler meme). Maybe in the version you saw Bruno Ganz' original English subtitles from the Oscar-nominated German film have been replaced with complaints about Obama winning the Democratic primary or about the premature negative reactions to the first Avatar trailer or the unveiling of the iPad. Most appropriate to this week's turn of events, maybe you saw the one where Hitler is furious about yet another viral video putting false translations to his monologue. Well, say goodbye to these humorous -- though definitely overdone -- parodies, because Downfall's producer, Constantin Films, is attempting to remove them all from video hosting sites (and yes, Hitler's upset about that, too).

I understand the company's reasoning. Though the spoofs have been good for a laugh or two, even from the film's appreciative director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, the point of fair use has been passed, and now a number of complaints about certain mutations to the meme that cross lines of decency and defamation have given Constantin no better choice than to eradicate the concept completely. Unfortunately, that means even the innocent versions are being squashed in a move that both harms this new art of creative transformation and poses the threat of a huge backlash against the production company and the source material it means to protect.
categories Cinematical