Euthanasia-rights drama The Sea Inside is not the only Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee that's causing controversy. German entry Downfall, a partially-speculative reconstruction of the final days of Adolf Hitler that is drawing fire for humanizing (although not defending) the dictator at its center. Whilst many critics found director Oliver Hirschbiegel's character embellishment essentially harmless (A.O. Scott made much of the attention paid to Hitler's eating habits), ex-pat German filmmaker Wim Wenders was riled enough by the picture's "lack of narrative position alone" to write a polemic against the film for German newspaper Die Zeit. Downfall's screenwriter. Bernd Eichinger, furiously defends his film in today's New York Times:
There is no such thing as telling the truth and not taking everything into consideration…When I wrote this script, the important thing was to show the gray.
The film is currently playing in New York at Film Forum, where this Monday and Tuesday viewers of the 6pm show will be treated to a Q & A with Hirschbiegel and Bruno Ganz (who plays Hitler). Be nice, kids. Or, alternately, don't.