"'Where Germany ends,' Hitler once said, 'the potholes begin.' And so he set about engineering the massive public works project known as the Autobahn. Hailed as a hedge against unemployment, a stimulant for a sluggish economy, a boon for car owners, and an efficient network for military transport, REICHSAUTOBAHN forwards the notion that from its conception the Autobahn 'wasn't to be just a road, it had to be a cultural institution.' Accordingly, Bitomsky states that the Nazis didn't develop the idea of the uberhighway, they simply formulated the aesthetics of the monumental road. REICHSAUTOBAHN drives headlong into the cultural politics of a 'road without obstacles,' the perfect symbol for a nation seeking extreme unification. And as with all dictatorial symbols, cultish adorations spread throughout the arts. There were Autobahn poems and novels, Autobahn paintings, Autobahn movies and, even, Autobahn oratorios. These propagandistic praises became the extended facade to a sweeping architecture without ornamentation, 'not the shortest but the noblest connection between two points.' Towards the end of the documentary, Bitomsky segues to black-and-white shots of the highway today. Congested with traffic, it is a slow-moving ribbon of fume-belching cars and trucks, a very concrete monument to hubris." –PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE
Venue: Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave Map
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