Thursday, February 3, 2011

Decadent Sardines

One of the things my father’s MI6 office in Hamburg contained was a stash of Nazi era films – some were feature films with anti-semitic overtones, and others were directed by Leni Riefenstahl such as the Nuremburg Rally. In addition to these were a number of short propaganda documentaries highlighting the depravity and decadence of the USA. All were banned and forbidden to be shown to the German public.

The monthly film evening for this secret fraternity took place at a special cinema in the centre of the city at the Gansemarkt, opposite the old UFA (Universum Film Co) studios. The program would start with a few Nazi shorts, and then lead on to the main film. It was the shorts that I liked best as they showed everything from Harlem jazz clubs to naked women wrestling in rings filled with sardines. As they groped at one another and slipped and fell, the women swiftly became covered in tiny fish scales so that soon they were just a shimmering blur of silver as they writhed in front of the frenzied crowd.