Blood in the Face (1991)

“We are not playing Boy Scouts.”

In the documentary, Blood in the Face a team of intrepid filmmakers (including Michael Moore) attends an American Nazi Party (ANP) meeting in rural Michigan, and here they interview several attendees. I think my jaw dropped within the first 30 seconds of this film, and I continued to feel stunned until the closing credits. I’m not sure exactly what I expected to see–in retrospect, I imagined the film would trace some of the ideology of the Nazi party, and the origins of its growth in America. Instead the filmmakers trot off to the location of the American Nazi Party get-together and start filming. We know there are those who follow Nazi beliefs in the world, but somehow I was unprepared for the stark reality.

Some of the footage is candid, with shots of the attendees mingling in open fields, and tables covered with Nazi paraphernalia that’s for sale. Other scenes include footage of speeches made to attendees (in a room which includes a bust of Hitler flanked by two candles). At other times, the filmmakers interview–or attempt to interview various members of the ANP about their beliefs and goals. Some of the attendees of the meeting seem to be young people who are attracted to the Nazi garb and the weapons, but others mingle in brown uniforms. By far the most interesting aspects of the film are the interviews with ANP members expressing such thoughts as the comfort they achieve from “being around their own kind.” Several ministers from the Christian Identity Faith are interviewed, and they express their explanations and justifications, wrestling in biblical references with a wobbly logic I couldn’t follow (but that was probably a good thing). Apparently Jerry Falwell isn’t right wing enough, and one ANP member even offered to get “together with the Pope, and teach him a few lessons.” The Christian Identity Faith ministers expressed some creative conspiracy theories–and these, naturally, involved foreigners sneaking around America for dastardly purposes. One example is cited of foreigners entering the country armed with “backpacks and nuclear weapons”, and there’s another example cited about the numbers of Soviet tanks in the Yucatan pointed towards America. Included in the footage is a cross burning, and a KKK wedding (and yes, they get married in the robes). There is some data given early in the film about George Lincoln Rockwell (with some archival footage), but overall, the film is too unstructured and haphazard to be informative.

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Filed under Documentary, Political/social films

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