Nazism and Darwinism on Film
|May 22, 2007||Posted by Theodosius under Darwinism|
I saw a film recently that I think would interest anyone who is concerned about the moral implications of Darwinism, and who also believes that art can help us to reflect upon moral issues.
The film is Germany Year Zero (Germania Anno Zero, 1947), by Roberto Rossellini, shot in the ruins of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II with non-professional German actors (albeit dubbed in Italian).
Like the near-contemporaneous films of Vittorio De Sica (Shoeshine, Bicycle Thieves), Germany Year Zero paints a compelling portrait of the chaos and poverty afflicting the civilian population—especially children—immediately following the war.
What makes Germany Year Zero of exceptional interest, however, is the way in which it builds to an almost unbearably sad climax, due in large part to the effect of lingering Nazi propaganda on the mind and conscience of an individual child.
Edmund, the l2-year-old boy at the center of the story, is convinced by his teacher to commit an abominably evil act for which he afterwards cannot forgive himself. And the argument employed by the teacher is couched explicitly in terms of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“philosophyÃ¢â‚¬Â of the survival of the fittest.
Not only is Germany Year Zero a cinematic experience you will not soon forget; it also provides much food for thought about Darwinian metaphysics and the human conscience.