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APRIL 21 & 25
As the war turned against Hitler in 1943, Goebbels enlisted a different sort of Germanic superhero, Baron von Münchhausen, to divert German audiences. Though capable of amazing (and sometimes martial) accomplishments, director Josef Von Baky’s Münchhausen is hard to credit as a Nazi exemplar. He’s played by dashing Nazi-era leading man Hans Albers (quite steely a decade earlier in Fugitives), but the hero is almost a rootless cosmopolitan; he travels from Russia to Turkey to Venice and on to the moon, and is more interested in sexual conquests than military ones. (At the time, the topless harem girls must have been almost as startling as the newly introduced Agfacolor.) Like Terry Gilliam’s remake, this is more a series of set pieces than a narrative, but if the special effects look rudimentary by contemporary standards, this one has a lighter touch. Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. in the Goethe-Institut-sponsored “Ministiry of Illusion” series at the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)