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The Great Dictator

Charles Chaplin
USA 1940 / 125’

A film made out of anger that someone plagiarised the shape of Charlie's moustache could not be a serious thing.But Chaplin was the only one capable of such masterly manoeuvring between seriousness, triviality, sentimentalism, pathos, shrewd satire, grotesque and also the simplicity and moving naiveté of those times when cinema was silent. Using all conventions and tricks of a classical comedy, from the screenplay based on similarity of the main characters and the resulting comedy of errors to gags based on choreography and motion, so typical of Chaplin, The Great Dictator is still a serious film. This is the worried voice of someone who observes the world carefully and is concerned about its future. A satire of the fascist dictatorship, mercilessly exposing the absurdity of Hitler's views. Chaplin not only destroyed his opponent with laughter and reduced his ideas to a grotesque absurd, but he also dealt with him on the moral plane (Adam Garbicz). The scenes of the food fight of two dictators or the barber's 'dance' with an unexploded bomb made cinema history. Chaplin manages supremely to combine situation humour of the silent-era cinema with wonderful, almost ballet-style studies; for example, the scene of Hynkel, enchanted with his vision of greatness, dances with a globe in an almost loving embrace.

Monika Kocbuch

Charlie Chaplin

Real name: Charles Spencer Chaplin. Born in 1889, died in 1977. Actor, director, screen-writer, comedian, producer, composer. Everyone associates Chaplin with the figure of the tramp Charlie, created in 1914 in burlesques: with the characteristic bowler hat, cane and too big shoes, kicking policemen in the buttocks and participating in cake fights. But above all, he was one of the greatest anarchists and individualists in the history of cinema, a disobedient rebel who always went his own way, regardless of the dominating political or religious views and social principles. He made his defiant films, even if they were then banned by censors and prohibited in the USA.

Selected filmography:

1914 Making a Living

1916 Vegabond

1921 The Kid

1925 The Gold Rush

1931 City Lights

1936 Modern Times

1940 The Great Dictator

1947 Pan Verdoux / Monsieur Verdoux

1952 Limelight