And with Blind Spot - Hitler's Secretary one would expect to feel some kind of metamorphosis exiting the 90-minute collage of interviews. Here was an individual who not only worked for the famous dictator for years but was able to bid farewell to him in his last hours. To this day there are rumors and assumptions bandied around about the man's private affairs, hypothetical observations that can often be supported only by vague but strongly-worded theories from historians that rarely get verified. And here was (may she rest in peace, she died shortly before the film's premiere in Berlin) a living, breathing witness to some part of the behind-the-scenes, a unique opportunity.
Unfortunately, possibly due to being 80 years old when filmed, Mrs. Junge is not able to shed any new light on the renowned figure that has not already been speculated upon. There's his lack of care for human life against ideals. How little interaction he had with the opposite sex, including with wife Eva Braun. The stereotypically artistic stubbornness that refused to see any other point of view. So many questions have long been left unanswered, and Blind Spot does little to change that.
Understandably, the conversations seemed to have been taped in her home, allowing for her comfort, but simply watching someone tell familiar stories is not necessarily a cinematic experience. Not to show disrespect to a woman who endured a lengthy and difficult lifetime, but her words are far stronger than the voice and body language that accompany them. It's hard to gauge how she feels about any of what she says, as if she's reading off a TelePrompTer. Again, this could be due to age, or even to reading subtitles instead of comprehending her native tongue.
Blind Spot is more reminiscent of a magazine article, the type of profile you see of historical figures that allows you to be moved by the powerful information set in front of you. Mrs. Junge's harried stories of living in a compound with her boss and the ever-approaching threat of defeat would most likely reach the fevered sympathy this biography tries for if they were read, because you could put your own imagination into what it's like to hear bomb shells hit the concrete above your head.
That said, having accused this conglomeration of lacking emotional connectivity, Blind Spot is successfully able to pursue the notion that there were those in Germany who really just did what they were told, who didn't think about the morality of it, because a father figure promised to take responsibility. There is a touch of guilty laughter to be found when Mrs. Junge describes Hitler's attachment to his talented dog, so kudos must be handed over for provoking humor over a subject few can smile about more than 50 years hence. But the film's gauntness is due to a first-time filmmaking pair that didn't want to push their elderly subject too far... and who can really blame them?
Reviewed at the 2002 New York Film Festival. Aka Im toten Winkel - Hitlers Sekretärin.
We've got some duplicating for her.
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Director: André Heller, Othmar Schmiderer
Starring: Traudl Junge as Herself