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Er ist wieder da (Look Who's Back, literal translation: He's Back) is a 2015 German film, directed by David Wnendt. It is the screen adaptation of the eponymous book, starring Oliver Masucci as Adolf Hitler, who somehow resurrected or time-travelled in 2014. He's a Fish out of Temporal Water in a Germany he no longer recognizes at first, but quickly realizes that he can go back in the political business thanks to modern technologies and many people being as gullible as ever.

The film is, depending on how you view it, a more manic and dire interpretation of the book or how the events in the novel actually happened. Compare it against Borat, which also features a striking satirical character making commentary in the form of unscripted interviews with men on the street segmented against a structured plot.

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It got an Italian remake in 2018 with Luca Miniero's Sono tornato (meaning "I'm back"). It features Benito Mussolini suddenly appearing in Rome instead of Hitler in Berlin, but other than that it's a straight adaptation. Including the reactions of non-actors at the end.


Tropes specific to the film include:

  • Adaptational Heroism: The film version of Sawatzki.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Sensebrink, who opposes "the Hitler Show" in the movie was one of its chief (if craven) architects in the novel.
    • Hitler himself, while much more laughable in the movie, is a much more threatening and deceitful individual than he was in the novel.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Deconstructed, as that's what allows Hitler to express his ideas with little criticism. To him, if being seen as a comedian works and gives him popularity, he'll play along.
  • Amazon Chaser: Downplayed, as Hitler spends a good two minutes of internal monologue describing how he admires Katja Bellini for running her TV broadcast company like an Iron Lady.
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  • Animals Hate Him: A dog bites him (and gets shot), a bee get's stuck in his beekeeping-suit...
  • Artistic License – History: Hitler lost the presidential election in 1932, but as far as most people are concerned, the people of Germany elected him, and that is how this movie treats it. President Hindenburg was forced to appoint him chancellor, but the movie doesn't take the time to make the distinction. In any case, the Nazi Party received the most votes then and came to power with a coalition, like many other parliamentary governments.
  • Ascended Extra: Krömeier's grandmother. In the novel, she isn't directly seen and is written out after Hitler fools her into believing in his supposed goodness. Here she isn't fooled one bit.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    Sawatzki: Wait, so you're called Adolf Hitler and look just like him? What a coincidence!
    Hitler: And what, people tell you, oh, You Don't Look Like You?
    • Also:
      Sawatzki: [to his date's grandmother, about the cake he's eating] Did you bake this?
      Friend Of Vera: Why are you hosing her? That woman is senile. And you're asking whether she baked an Almond-Cream-Strawberry-cake?
  • As Long as There is Evil: At the end of the film, Sawatzki has a confrontation with Hitler on a rooftop, culminating in Sawatzki shooting Hitler in the face, causing him to fall over the edge of the roof to his apparent death, but when Sawatzki walks over to the edge and takes a look downwards, only to discover there is no body lying on the street. Hitler then suddenly appears behind him, completely unharmed, and tells Sawatzki that it is impossible to get rid of him, as there will always be a part of him, not just within Sawatzki, but within everyone really. Subverted as this is revealed to be a Show Within a Show.
  • Basement-Dweller: Sawatzki still lives with his mother in the film version.
  • Badass Longcoat: Hitler at the end of the film, along with a Commissar Cap, reminiscent of the outfit he wore as commander-in-chief of the German army during World War II.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the end of the movie, Hitler is more popular than ever, and more than ready to get back into politics.
  • Cassandra Truth: Hitler never denies who he really is, with the only person ultimately fully believing that is Sawatzki toward the end of the film, and he ends up being locked up in a mental institution because of this. Vera's grandmother is also convinced he is the real deal, but since she is senile no one will take her seriously.
  • Celebrity Paradox: A montage of media mocking Hitler is shown, which includes the famous scene from Downfall. Thomas Thieme, who played Martin Bormann in Downfall, has a minor role as a TV executive.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The incident of Hitler shooting a dog. Sensenbrink gets hold of it and uses it to run Hitler off the air.
  • Cringe Comedy: Sawatzki on a date.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: All over the film, played both for comedy and for drama. It might be very jarring to see someone pretending to be Hitler and broadcasting his message and world view all over modern Germany... but it is also kind of funny just to see "Hitler in a bumper car".
  • Demoted to Extra: Vera Krömeier's role as Hitler's secretary is downplayed in the movie as are her subplots from the book. The unnamed newspaper kiosk owner that helps Hitler at the start gets the worst of it though as he's a recurring character in the novel that Hitler frequently visits, but he isn't seen after he's conned by Adolf in the film.
  • Downer Ending: Sawatzki discovers that Hitler is the real deal, and as such is deemed insane and locked away in a mental hospital as Hitler's popularity soars, and he's likely to rise to power again.
  • The Dragon: Sawatzki in both versions of the story, however Bellini eventually usurps this role from him in the film.
  • Dramatic Irony: Near the end of the film, Hitler is beaten up by neo-nazis, who claim he's mocking the Führer, and just like nearly everyone else, don't know he's the real deal. Hitler himself points it out after regaining conciousness.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The brainstorming for racist jokes. One of the comedy writers is absolutely not amused (the viewer probably isn't either...).
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Chillingly subverted, as Hitler from 1945 is mostly unfazed by and adapts quickly to 2014 Germany. Hitler is confused for a moment, but only because of the sudden unfamiliarity of his surroundings. Once he reads some newspapers and takes time to adjust to the new technology, he finds the current Germany ready for his come-back.
  • Foreshadowing: A menorah falls over when Krömeier and Sawatski get intimate early in the movie, foreshadowing the reason for the clash between Krömeier's grandmother and Hitler later in the movie.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • As part of its Black Comedy feel, in attempting to shoot an animal show with Hitler, Sawatzki tries to explain how great Hitler is with animals while in the background, a dog has latched its jaws around Hitler's legs until he finally kicks and shoots the animal.
    • When the real Sensenbrinck visits the set filming "Er Ist Wieder Da", the actor playing Sensenbrinck in that movienote  starts mimicking Sensenbrinck's movements, even mouthing his words along with the real Sensenbrinck.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Hitler, naturally. One of the most humorous scenes has him trying to process the fact that people in the 2010s don't bat an eye at using, um, a certain word as a term of endearment. He does, at the end, find the future not too different from the period that saw his rise in power.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Sawatzki is institutionalized, after learning that Hitler is the actual Hitler and not an actor.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Sensenbrinck is very disappointed that to play him in the In-Universe version of "Er Ist Wieder Da" they cast a complete unknown actor, when of course the real Sensenbrinck is played by Christoph Maria Herbst, one of the most famous German actors.
    Sensenbrinck: Couldn't you have gotten Benno Führ or Bruno Ganz?
    Sawatzki: For such a small role? That would be wasteful.
  • Kick the Dog: Unlike his famed love for dogs, Hitler shoots one when it bites him early in the movie. The idea of the trope is subtly mocked when it's pointed out that "faking" being Hitler is one thing, but the audience would never forgive someone harming a little dog.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When they are first going on tour, Hitler comments that producers devoid of imagination (like Sawatzki) would want to do stuff like "Hitler visits the bank" or "Hitler on the beach (in swimwear)". Later on, we see things like "Hitler at the carnival" or "Hitler visits a honey farm and gets a bee stuck in his glove and gets stung and almost starts crying from the pain" (we'll work on the title).
  • invokedMethod Acting:
    • Sawatzki thinks Hitler is an actor that takes this trope very seriously, so he does not drop character one second.
    • In-Universe, possibly combined with Took the Bad Film Seriously. The actor playing Sensenbrinck in the In-Universe movie adaption of "Er Ist Wieder Da" is star struck to meet the real Sensenbrinck, mentioning that he's "begun to dream like him" and even starts copying him.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Everyone in the modern day save a few ignored voices believe that the guy they see is a convincing comedian and social commentator disguised as Adolf Hitler, despite Hitler's own insistence.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted. Since the movie takes place in the modern day, Hitler briefly explains the world since 1945, refers to Angela Merkel (without naming them, though showing photos and videos) as "a clumsy woman with the charisma of a wet noodle" and Social Democratic Party leader Sigmar Gabriel as an "obnoxious fatso". However, it's played straight for other world leaders. Witzigmann dresses up as Barack Obama as part of the show "Whoa, Dude!" but Hitler offers no commentary on that fact, other than mentioning "black U.S. president" as one of the costumes Witzigmann dons during his show.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Krömeier's grandma is senile and apathetic, but seeing Hitler wakes her out of her stupor and she becomes alarmed and angry that Hilter is back. Actually justified in that senile people forget their lives backwards, and remember their youths better and better, and Hitler looks exactly as he did back then.
  • Perky Goth: Vera Krömeier. Her friends claim their manner of dress is because they're Satanists.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Sensebrink opposes Hitler's rise less out of moral fortitude and more because it becomes the project of his rival Katja Bellini. He's quick to try and get Hitler back when the network's ratings tank after he forces Hitler off the air.
  • Recursive Reality: In the end, the movie becomes increasingly vague whether you're actually watching the "real" events, Hitler's retelling of the event's in his book, the movie that was made In-Universe or something else entirely.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a shot for shot recreation of the infamous "Hitler rants" scene from Downfall (which was produced by the same company, Constantin Film). Only this time it's Sensenbrinks who has a fit of anger and not Hitler. A brief glimpse of the scene itself shows up earlier, where Hitler learns of the Hitler imitators that showed up in his absence.
    • A couple to time travel movies: Sawatzki is dressed very similarly to Marty McFly's iconic appearance, and from what little we see of Hitler materializing in contemporary Germany, it's similar to the T-800 appearing in modern day.
    • When Hitler is googling "world domination", one of the images that appear on screen is a picture of Pinky and the Brain.
    • The film Book Ends with two music pieces that were heard in A Clockwork Orange, namely the overture of Gioachino Rossini's Thieving Magpie at the beginning when Hitler awakens in Berlin, and Henry Purcell's Funeral Sentences and Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary at the very end with the montage of populist parties and anti-Islam demonstrations. What's more, one of the trailers featured a quick montage of scenes and one-word inter-titles with Rossini's William Tell's overture playing, just like one of the old trailers of A Clockwork Orange did back in the day.
  • Show Within a Show: Hitler is making a movie on his experiences after waking up in modern Germany.
  • Silence Is Golden: Hitler thinks this. Just before his first very successful speech on television, Hitler keeps silent for a sizable moment, disparaging in his head how the current media want to drown the audience in noise. Well timed, it helps him create expectation and interest from the public he's speaking to.
  • The Sociopath: Guess who. To the point that, when he sees Sawatzki looking somber after the confrontation with Krömeier's grandmother, he instantly assumes it's because he wasn't hard enough on her, and that Sawatzki only just realized that his girlfriend was Jewish.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Hitler seems fond of waiting just out of shot before abruptly introducing himself.
  • Strawman News Media: The German TV, newspapers and even Internet community all give a lot of attention to Hitler, praising his messages and not quite getting that his attire isn't for show, it's the real deal. However, individuals like some writers and anchormen do point out that Hitler is getting dangerously popular and Adored by the Network just because he's a seller.
  • Title Drop: Hitler's first appearance on television in the movie is announced by the anchorman Michael Witzigmann with the sentence "Er ist wieder da!".
  • Unreliable Narrator: Hitler pens Er Ist Wieder Da at the start of the third act, which may explain why certain events in the book are so different from the ones we see depicted in the film.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The movie version of Hitler and Sensenbrink experience this. The former when footage of him shooting a dog is made public, seemingly ruining his career and the latter when the lack of Hitler on his television line-up causes it to crumble.
  • Villain Has a Point: Deconstructed. Hitler listens to the problems the citizens have and loudly points out the flaws of modern society on television. The problem is that the people begin to respect him because of his unapologetic criticism, forgetting his other opinions. At the end, Hitler has a shot at politics again because people know he has a point.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Chillingly portrayed. Although he's not trying to hide who he is - quite the opposite actually - Hitler does find the 21st century to ultimately be quite to his liking.
  • Villains Never Lie: About being who he is, Hitler never does. He's all for using television and the internet for propaganda purposes though. The film plays this to even more chilling effect, when Sawatzki comes to the realization that Hitler is the genuine article. Sawatzki confronts Hitler at gunpoint, accusing him of trying to trick people with his propaganda, just like he did back in the 1930s. Hitler replies with cold bemusement that he never tricked or conned anyone back in the day; he was completely open about what his policies and goals were, and everyone who voted for him knew exactly what he was about.
  • What Year Is This?: Hitler tries to ask a woman this, and gets maced. He stumbles to a newspaper stand and realizes that it's 2014, nearly 70 years into the future from what he last remembered.
  • Worthy Opponent: Hitler laments that the old Social Democratic leaders in his time were charismatic, able men very much different from then SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel.
  • You Monster!: At the end of the film, once Sawatzki knows that Hitler is the genuine article, he calls him a monster. Hitler throws it back in his face, arguing that if he is to be considered a monster, then so must the people who voted for him.

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