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The Film; “Blood Must Flow,” shines light on neo-Nazi music scene


'Blood Must Flow' - Undercover Among Nazis: Berlin Film Review

The Bottom Line Raw exposé of Germany's neo-Nazi rock-scene loses sight of its targets.

The fact that such activities can continue without attracting police attention is one of Kuban and Ohlendorfer's principal sources of indignation - they show that in urban areas such as Berlin a more pro-active hands-on approach from the cops has paid dividends. "It is crucial to show what is going on here," says Kuban of a topic that "has been brushed under the carpet far too often" as neo-Nazi violence is deprioritized in favor of targeting "international Islamic terrorism" and even extreme-left activism.

The enigmatic Kuban's zeal borders on the obsessional, though his dogged persistence in questioning complacent authority figures - often to their faces - pays dividends. During one such confrontation he comments frustratedly on his own lone-wolf status, dropping in the startling detail that he has "multiple murder charges" against him, a wild assertion which bears no relation to anything that we see or hear elsewhere in the film.


But there are larger, more structural problems here. The second half moves away from Germany, ranging across Europe to Hungary and Italy in a somewhat arbitrary geographical detour that adds little to the picture's overall impact. Kuban's raw material is strong stuff, but Ohlendorfer can't quite find a coherent framework within which to showcase it - there's insufficient editorial distance here between subject and film-maker. Ohlendorfer's attempts at flashy editing flourishes fall repeatedly flat, while there's a counterproductive overuse of a jazz-inflected, horn-heavy score obviously designed to emphasize the tense, thriller-type elements of Kuban's dangerous crusade.




‘Blood Must Flow’ – Undercover Among Nazis: Berlin Film Review
The Bottom Line Raw exposé of Germany’s neo-Nazi rock-scene loses sight of its targets.

For much of this year, the German media has been awash with news of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi terrorist group thought to have murdered at least ten people over a decade. The NSU’s existence only became public when two of their members committed suicide after police cornered them following a botched bank robbery.
Many media outlets treated the revelation as surprising new evidence of an armed far-right underground network, but one undercover journalist has been investigating the scene for years, filming footage from neo-Nazi concerts that showed a flourishing music scene and a growing readiness for violence.
Hidden and ignored
But the scene remains largely ignored, and not one German television channel has opted to air the documentary despite its unsettling content. Ohlendorf says this has nothing to do with the often shaky camera work and questionable soundtrack, but to a lack of mainstream interest. “You have to ask what media outlets want, just to drive traffic?” he asked.
The police also feature heavily in “Blood Must Flow,” and Ohlendorf thinks that they are also being far too passive. “Often action from the police at these events is more of a token gesture,” he said.
This is evident in the film, where police officers are seen waiting outside concerts. “We’ll wait until they do something illegal,” one says, as a crowd of hundreds roar along to a band urging them to kill Turks. “We’ll just let them finish the party,” said another.
Door to the far-right
Ohlendorf believes that not only do the lyrics incite violence, the music is actively used to recruit young Germans for the far-right scene. “In villages, where there is often little else to do, recruitment starts with the offer of free beer and live music,” he said.
But what was perhaps more shocking for the 51-year-old director was the well-educated Germans that Kuban met on his travels. “It’s not just skinheads at the concerts, but intellectual people whose involvement is threatening to bring neo-Nazism into the mainstream.”
Anti-fascist jester
During the filming, the pair also met a group of vigilantes who managed to stop an annual far-right festival from being held in their village.
“There are lots of engaged citizens, but there needs to be more who stand up against racism,” says Ohlendorf. Prevention, he added, was vital, and should start as early as possible. Ohlendorf spent the summer touring schools with his film, and discussing it with pupils. “Generally the film was well-received, but in most schools there were one or two who watch the film and say ‘yeah, but..foreigners,’ ” Ohlendorf explained.



 

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