Sunday, January 24, 2010
Human Remains is a haunting documentary which illustrates the banality of evil by creating intimate portraits of five of this 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.