From the New York Times.
On YouTube, we’re in a bunker, and the enemies are always, always closing in. The ceilings are low. The air is stifling. A disheveled leader is delusional.
This is the premise of more than 100 videos on the Web — the work of satirists who for years have been snatching video and audio from “Downfall,” the 2004 German movie of Hitler’s demise, and doctoring it to tell a range of stories about personal travails and world politics. By adding new English-language subtitles, they transform the movie’s climactic scene, in which Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) rails against his enemies and reluctantly faces his defeat, into the generic story of a rabid blowhard brought low.
In the original scene, Hitler is told that his reign of power is over; he then deafens himself to reality, eloquently savages everyone who cost him his dreams, vows revenge and finally resigns himself to private grief. The homemade spoofs plug into this transformation just about any hubristic entity that might come undone: the subtitles speak to the plight of governments, soccer teams, football teams, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Adam Sandler.
The meme of the parodies — the cultural kernel of them, the part that’s contagious and transmissible — has proved surprisingly hardy, almost unnervingly so. It seems that late-life Hitler can be made to speak for almost anyone in the midst of a crisis.