“Don’t let the cunic panda!” The title of this writing alludes, only, to Chaplin’s masterful film. It was released in the United States in 1940.
Although by the time sound films had already been consolidated, Chaplin continued to make silent films, because he feared that by speaking a certain language, his character would lose all its magic.
The great Dictator It is Chaplin’s first sound film and for his speaking debut, he had a lot to say.
The brilliant final speech lasts for almost five minutes in which there is not a single joke, but a profound reflection on what human destiny should be in terms of freedom, tolerance, progress and democracy.
The film offers a parody of Adolf Hitler (Hinkel), but goes further, addressing the issue of dictatorships in general, from Nazism and fascism, also the prevailing anti-Semitism at the time.
Certain “similarities” existed between the great master of humor and the German dictator, Chaplin himself recognized it when he said that they used the same mustache, in addition to being born in the same year. “I know that man well, he is capable of anything,” he said.
As the film was released during the war, at the end of it, Chaplin stated that, had he known the horrors of the concentration camps, he would not have been able to shoot his feature film.
This leads us to a discussion that is always interesting: humor trivializes political tragedies by using them as a source of parody and inspiration or, on the contrary, underlines their cruelty and contradictions to help us become aware of them, to combat them and above all prevent them.
In the case of The great Dictator It is, without a doubt, the second. Chaplin shows the pathos of dictators. The great thing is that, without denigrating the human being, he exhibits his moral nakedness, the ridiculousness that hides behind his apparent solemnity and his delusions of grandeur, but above all his inhumanity.
In the end, every action has a purpose and that is what counts. Where do the words that are spoken lead, what values or anti-values do they defend and promote, what consequences do they have.
It is valid for humor and for what we say in our daily lives, the media or the networks. Nothing remains in the void, every word said remains resonating forever in the hearts to which it reaches. Listening, in these times, to people raising the legacy of Adolf Hitler horrifies and scares.
One of the things that the Nazi leader’s life journey teaches us is that we have to fear those “crazies” with an inoffensive and even comical appearance, owners of an absurd speech that seems not going to get anywhere, because they can end up becoming in the masters of our destiny and captains of our slavery if we lower the guard of our spiritual and political defenses.
His words can turn into desolation and death.
Chaplin’s work will endure, as a testimony of humor placed at the service of justice, democracy and freedom, to unmask those “crazy people” capable of anything and to remind us, through humor, that we should not conjure up demons, because the Diablo always destroys, even those who serve him.
Article published in the newspaper As it is