Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen that scene from Downfall re-subtitled as something hilarious and current. Hell, your mom’s probably even emailed you one after she finished sexting me on Facebook. Anyway, Vulture recently caught up with Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel to ask him about it. Cuteness ensued.
The German filmmaker is pleased, nay, thrilled that YouTube enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret it. “Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one,” says the director, on the phone from Vienna. “I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! [Ed. Note: Only a German would come up with a number as precise as 145 off the top of his head.] Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.”
As for the idea of such a serious scene being used for laughs, Hirschbiegel thinks it actually fits with the theme of the movie. “The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality,” he says. “I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.” He adds, “If only I got royalties for it, then I’d be even happier.”
Semi-true fact: Coincidentally, “Hirschbiegel” is also the name of a German game in which a group of guys masturbate around a bagel, or strudel. The last one to ejaculate has to throw it at a Jew. True story.