I admit to seriously mixed feelings of fascination and revulsion when I watch this 8-minute 1941 German film entitled Stukas. Richard Wagner is among my Top Five favorite composers and here we see the remarkable curative strength of music, specifically from his 1876 Ring-cycle opera Götterdämmerung.
Trouble is, the miraculously cured patient in the film is a clinically depressed Nazi pilot who is hospitalized and then hears the soaring strains of Wagner’s music. The pilot is miraculously rejuvenated, rejoins his cheering squadron and takes to the air again to continue the Reich’s merciless bombing of Britain.
This clip’s Götterdämmerung music is worthy here, but I offer Stukas more as a clear example of how propaganda is structured and the type of story it tells. We live in an age where the propaganda is subtler, but it’s undeniably present, especially on some cable networks. Beware.
Thanks to Alex Ross, author of the excellent book The Rest is Noise, who earlier posted this film on his blog at www.therestisnoise.com.