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Human Remains1998

  • 4.1
HUMAN REMAINS is a haunting documentary which illustrates the banality of evil by creating intimate portraits of five of the 20th century's most reviled dictators. The film unveils the personal lives of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco and Mao Tse Tung. We learn the private and mundane details of their everyday lives, their favorite foods, films, habits and sexual preferences. There is no mention of their public lives or of their place in history. The intentional omission of the horrors for which these men were responsible hovers over the film. HUMAN REMAINS addresses this horror from a completely different angle. Irony and even occasional humor are sprinkled throughout the documentary. This darkly poetic film is based entirely on fact, creatively combining direct quotes and biographical research. Though based on historical figures, HUMAN REMAINS is contemporary in its implications and ultimately invites the viewer to confront the nature of evil.

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7 members like this review

A very good, concise film. Evil has been narrated by each of these individuals, using various translated documents from the past.

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Member Reviews (17)

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top reviewer

A very good, concise film. Evil has been narrated by each of these individuals, using various translated documents from the past.

7 members like this review
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top reviewer

A shapeless figure stirs the ground with a shovel, disrupting the silence of the night by breaking coarse soil. The monochrome atmosphere, something out of a Guy Maddin film, evokes a sense of uneasiness. The faceless entity is unearthing the serpentine memories of fallen dictators. Adolf, Benito, Joseph, Francisco & Mao. Like a low rolling fog, the ghostly and inane thoughts of the aforementioned men billow over the speakers. Their desires, their depravity, their medical conditions. It's an eerie waltz of corruption and narcissism.

Not your typical psychological exploration, Jay Rosenblatt's plunge into the deep end is both scary and devastatingly strange - especially when paired with a claustrophobic score that moans and aches like the pressure against a submarine.

At a fascinating 30 minutes, this short documentary is worth the watch. And may seem at ease next to James Marsh's exceptionally bizarre documentary, 'Wisconsin Death Trip.'

2 members like this review

I loved it!

2 members like this review

Surprisingly entertaining and often hilarious. As for it being a serious documentary, perhaps not. No effort is made to clearly separate rumour and innuendo from established fact.

1 member likes this review

fascinating.

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

Very simply, this is one of the greatest short films ever made. Specifically, an outstanding example of avant-garde, experimental cinema...

There are other younger filmmakers on this platform, Fandor, who are listed as 'experimental' filmmakers... They should be forced to watch this film like the Ludvico treatment in A Clockowork Orange:) I know Jay Rosenblatt (not really), I've admired the work of Jay Rosenblatt for years, You (sirs and madame's) are no Jay Rosenblatt:) LoL! Seriously, Fandor should be doing heckuva lot more to promote this gent than some of the other so called 'experimentalists'...

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filmmaker

Chilling

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top reviewer

Subtitled “A Film About the Banality of Evil,” this is an unusual documentary involving five brief portraits of major historical dictators--- Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco and Mao Tse Tung. Each portrait combines archival footage and running first person narratives created by the director Jay Rosenblatt as if they were the actual individuals speaking. Each narrative involves only very personal details excluding any public or historical facts about the individuals, and according to Rosenblatt’s website “is based entirely on fact, creatively combining direct quotes and biographical research.” The fusion of the narratives with the archival footage makes for a most unique and intriguing biographical experience to be sure.

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top reviewer

Particularly able sound design; very Lynchian. Mao is certainly one disgusting human being, but I don't really go along with the central premise of this film. In my view, we are all One anyway since our souls originate from the same Source energy, so being disturbed by the mundane humanity within these psychopaths ultimately is a superfluous exercise. But the film works for the most part due to its brevity and because monsters are innately novel subjects.

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top reviewer

It has taken a few weeks to review this. It is so ghostly, so haunting, it is really extremely difficult to review it. It is horror in the truest sense. It actually makes the five most atrocious beings of the Twentieth Century seem human. I am a whole lot more comfortable when they presented as Beelzebub. Making them so human truly terrifies me.

It is so powerful, so enigmatic that I can't recommend it too strongly. Be in a strong frame of mind, however, because it is challenging.

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top reviewer

Congratulations! I am a history fanatic, and I enjoyed this short, but, very informative film.

Fantastic. Eerie and poignant.

Alternately lurid, bizarre, repugnant and, in the instance of Francisco Franco, in a sense uneasily heartwarming. But always banal. And always, at the same time, in the shadows of monstrosity and indescribable cruelty.

Super nice. Funny shit.

Very revealing.

very interesting......

Insightful and alarming. We should never forget, the suffering and cruelty they released on the world. The death toll is close to 200 million, between them all.