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Manderlay

1,350 words

Lars von Trier’s Manderlay should be required viewing for every white nationalist. It is also an excellent recruitment tool for friends and family members who need a quick primer on Race Realism 101.

Von Trier’s second installment of his USA: Land of Opportunities trilogy picks up where he left off with the critically-acclaimed Dogville. Having never been to the US due to his fear of flying, Von Trier was inspired to make a “series of sermons on America’s sins and hypocrisy” after noting that Americans had made films about places they never bothered to visit themselves.

While the majority of critics unleashed their frustration and anger at Von Trier’s “false” projection of American race relations, only a foreigner could have made such a controversial and truthful movie about race in America. Had this been an American production, civil rights race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would have demanded an end to production before it even started. Indeed, during casting it was reported that black American stars turned down the slave roles due to “stereotyping.” Apparently, however, British black actors had no such qualms about appearing in a negative light, for they quickly filled the roles.

Manderlay (shot on a Bertolt Brecht soundstage)starts where Dogville ends. Shortly leaving Dogville, Grace (feisty ginger-haired Bryce Dallas Howard) stumbles upon Manderlay, a working plantation in Alabama — 70 years after the abolition of slavery. Naturally, she concludes she has to change things. Her father, a mob boss played by a sinisterly charming Willem Dafoe, astutely advises her to let things be and not intervene with local matters. But  Grace dutifully ignores him (N.O.W. would be so proud) and is determined to freeing the slaves from their white devil oppressors. Since any means are justified to resist racism, Grace employs her father’s mobsters to hijack the plantation.

After Grace seizes Manderlay, she witnesses the death of the plantation’s matriarch, Mam (Lauen Bacall). Before dying, Mam agrees that slavery is over and unsuccessfully tries to convince Grace to burn the secret book under her bed entitled Mam’s Law. Mam’s Law reads like a primitive version of The Bell-Curve. To aid the management of the plantation, Negroes are divided into a number of descriptive categories:

1. Proudly Nigger
2. Talkin’ Nigger
3. Weepin’ Nigger
4. Hittin’ Nigger
5. Clownin’ Nigger
6. Loser Nigger
7. Pleasing Nigger, a.k.a., chameleons who can transform themselves into exactly what the beholder wants to see.

Grace is repulsed by the stereotypes (in writing no less!) and refuses to grant the dying slave master’s request.

Wilhem (Danny Glover), the wisest slave of the bunch, is afraid and tells Grace that he isn’t sure the slaves of Manderlay are ready for a new way of life. But Grace, determined to instill confidence in these poor exploited savages, refuses to hear the cries of inadequacy and launches into her dictatorship errr, democracy by stripping the white owner’s heirs of their land, then promptly deeding it to the slaves with the help of her mafia Jew lawyah, thus creating the first ever rainbow commune on American soil.

The white family is none too pleased as they are forced to do the work of Manderlay’s entire slave population. At one point they are humiliated in black face as they serve the slaves supper. Frustrated and horrified by the chain of events, the white family tries to send an emergency note out describing being held prisoner by coloreds and asking for help from the police. Today, if that same exact message were relayed in a 911 call, the police would shrug it off and move on to bigger and more politically correct things. At least back in the 1930s it was expected they would respond!

The slaves are summoned to a makeshift classroom to learn about their voting rights. Now as shareholders of the plantation they have “biness” to tend to. Grace slowly guides and leads them into taking pride in their land ownership. Even after disaster sets in, with the naive Grace again thinking she’s outsmarted a white woman with 70 years management experience, it looks like maybe the rainbow commune has fulfilled the utopian expectation. But alas, these are Negroes we’re talking about here. Their barbaric nature always rises to the surface.

To cope with the disaster, food rationing is implemented for everyone living in Manderlay, including the mobster Jewish atty. Well, Joseph (Teddy Kempner) will have none of that, so true to his tribe’s nature, he finds a loophole in his contract and slips out of Manderlay unnoticed. A Jew creating the legal framework for Marxism but foregoing any actual sacrifice? Shocking. Could this be part of the proof that Von Trier was “anti-Semitic” and thus must be banned from Cannes?

Meanwhile, back at the plantation: Freedom and personal responsibility are all fine and dandy in good times, but when desperate hunger leads to petty theft, accidental death, and then majority-ruled capital punishment (under Grace’s newly minted democratic rule of law), reality begins to hit home for the self-appointed executioner. Democracy is a bitch!

Enter Timothy, a “proudly nigger,” who hatches a plan to save the plantation from ruin and also save morale. Grace, enamored with Timothy (like all eager brainwashed white women are to prove their non-racism), embraces Timothy’s plan. With help from the whites, success finally settles on Manderlay. With everyone celebrating, Grace releases the white family from their imprisonment and orders her mob enforcers to go home. She is proud of herself and can’t wait to show off her meticulously manufactured prosperous black friends to dear old daddy!

Timothy, waiting for the last mobster to exit Manderlay, sees his chance to bed a white women without fatal consequences and leads Grace into the slave master house. As Timothy rapes Grace on top of his former slave master’s bed (real life father Ron Howard must have loved this), Grace visibly wrestles over the “sexual traditions” of the honorable Munsee tribe and tricks herself into enjoying an obvious painful encounter. After all, she wouldn’t want to be culturally unenlightened.

Post-African coitus, Grace spots Timothy’s house on fire through the window and runs downstairs to find out why. The briefest lapse of adult supervision has led to murder and mayhem  in liberated Manderlay. After finding out lover Timothy (“but he’s a Munsee!” — plantation code for “but race is a social construct!” ) is partly to blame for the downfall of her experiment, Grace vows to leave once and for all. That is, if Manderlay’s shareholders will let her. The majority, you see, has given up on freedom and voted in favor of making Grace their new Mam.

Now, I could give away the ending, but that would discourage you from buying the movie and using it to indoctrinate your loved ones.

Many reviewers of Manderlay claim that the movie is an elaborate “blame whitey” exercise, using slavery to explain the persistent inability of blacks to live up to white standards. But we all need to dig deeper. Throughout the film, former slaves repeatedly claim, “You made us.”

Yes, Timothy, we made you. We made you think you can compete with whites on all levels. We made you into think man is indeed equal when, by evidence of your hatred for Grace and everything she represents, he is not. This is why black on white crime continues at epic proportions across the nation and why your brethren continue to rape white grandmothers, not for sexual pleasure, but out of sheer vengeance for your own intolerable sense of inferiority.

The “pleasing niggers” of Manderlay are not just chameleons projecting what Grace wants to see. They are also Grace’s own projections, being fed back to her. We whites no longer live in the real world. We see what we want to see — meaning what others think is “proper” to see — never overtly acknowledging and reacting correctly to the reality staring us in the face. We have set up blacks to fail, since their natures do not allow them to live up to our standards. But we have also set up ourselves to bear the costs. Thus we have willingly, by our own hands, become the true slaves.

 

10 Comments

  1. Michael G
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I saw the movie after reading the review. My take is that it is more a commentary on freedom and paternalism rather than race per se. There is a clear message that maybe these blacks were better off under paternalistic care of the slave master rather than under the new freedom that grace gave her. However, it is not clear that the film suggests in anyway that the reason why they are doing so poorly under freedom has to do with their race, as opposed to the fact that they were never used to freedom and that there are ruthless capitalistic whites willing to exploit them.

    Now, you can easily read in their failure due to inherent racial differences if you want, but that’s not how all the liberals who praise the movie see it, or necessarily how Lars von Trier sees it either.

  2. Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    A movie denigrating both raycizz and anti-raycizz Whites, alright! Now there’s some equality! Between that and the interracial rape I’ll pass. Nice write-up , however.

  3. April Gaede
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I guess Trayvon was a ” hittin nigger”….

  4. Sandy
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I had to laugh at the last paragraph which certainly sums up our world today. Very well said.

  5. BasilX
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I will not watch that movie.It would be a cruel torture.

    • April Gaede
      Posted June 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      I watched it after I saw this article. I had avoided it though I had seen it several times. I thought it was good and I laughed through the whole thing.

  6. Posted May 18, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Between this film, “Europa” and his comments regarding “Melancholia,” von Trier seems to be evolving in an interesting direction!

    • Posted May 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, his films are worth talking about. “Europa”, in particular, deserves further contemplation in light of his comments at Cannes 2011 (although even without those comments, an excellent film that merits discussion).

      At Cannes, he said that he used to believe he was a Jew because of his Jewish stepfather, but that his mother, on her death bed, revealed that his patronymic line is actually German (he is a descendent of the Danish composer Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann). Around the same time, he converted to Catholicism. All of this happened between the production of “Epidemic” and “Europa”.

      Thus, it is interesting that the NSDAP collaborator in “Europa” is called Hartmann, and that his Catholic identity is affirmed at numerous points in the film. One would assume that in a European post-war arthouse film, a family of German collaborators would be depicted as demonic ghouls, but they are not. It is the American occupiers who are the villains, and the Hartmanns and their compatriots are left to their mercy. We see the Americans terrorising the Germans with gunfire when they attempt to hold a public funeral for one of their fallen men, and it is the American protagonist (or antagonist, depending on one’s disposition!) who ends up making everything worse through his intervention (much like Grace in “Manderlay”). This is a whole world apart from the vilification of the Axis in popular anti-fascist films like “Rome, Open City” and “The Tin Drum”.

      Instead of presenting the “liberation” of the Germans from National Socialism as something to rejoice, Germany is depicted as a nation under siege. It is visibly in ruins, and the narrator refers to 1946 as “year one for Germany”. The American occupation and the fall of Hitler, in other words, signifies the beginning of a new epoch. Superficially, this is an analogy for the “cultural imperialism” exerted by America, which von Trier has expressed hostility against in several other films (“Dogville”, “Manderlay”, “Dancer in the Dark” and “Dear Wendy”), but it is more than that. The setting is not intended as mere allegorical fodder.

      In an interview with an Israeli journalist during the 1990s, Ernst Zündel said something to the effect that Germany “lost her soul” in the aftermath of the Second World War, and I think the same idea is being articulated here. It is about the deliberate embarrassment of the Germans by the Allies in their demand for an “unconditional surrender”, as well as the subsequent brainwashing and the imposition of an anti-German constitution. It is not about mere military conquest, but about the forceful imposition of a foreign ideology (quite literally at gunpoint).

      In a particularly egregious scene, Trier himself makes a cameo as “the Jew”, a contemptible Jewish thief brought in by an American officer to help determine whether or not Hartmann was a collaborator. The twist is that the Jew in question is a criminal who has been let off the hook for pretending that the American officer’s favoured German collaborators are innocent! In other words, the one Jew in the film is an opportunistic shill and a petty thief, motivated first and foremost by his own self-interest. In a documentary from the Europa Trilogy DVD boxset, von Trier refers to this character as a “villain”. Whether that is because he is allowing himself to be used as a tool for political corruption, or because of his distinctly Jewish character traits, is up to you (these are obviously not mutually exclusive; where there is Jewish behaviour, there is political corruption), but I am inclined to think he meant the second option.

      I doubt that Trier is an anti-Semite, but he does not strike me as a great philo-Semite, either. This film is an interesting reflection of the conditions in Germany after the Second World War. It also has a characteristically amusing performance by the great Swedish actor Ernst-Hugo Järegård, who later went on to star in Trier’s bizarre television series “Riget”.

  7. Petronius
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    It is a bit like Bunuel’s “Viridina”, where Christian/”politically correct” ideas about the wretched and the poor also backfire.

  8. Faustus
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Excellent.

    But I will do without the movie.

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