Time of the Gods

Original title: (Zeit der Götter. Der Bildhauer Arno Breker)
Germany, 1992, 92 min, color
In German; English subtitles

While working on his Hercules Concept, director Lutz Dammbeck became fascinated by the life and work of the German sculptor Arno Breker (1900-91). How could a highly talented sculptor—who had met French avant-garde artists in Paris in the 1920s and whose work was first considered “degenerate art” by the Nazis—become Adolf Hitler’s preferred sculptor and protégé? 


In trying to find an answer, Dammbeck meets with several of Breker’s contemporaries and friends, including authors Roger Peyrefitte and Ernst Jünger, West German art collector Peter Ludwig and Breker’s model, the former decathlete Gustav Stührk, who posed for a Nazi-commissioned sculpture in 1936. 


The film explores what transformations in power and politics do to art, how much opportunism can be found in “pure” art and whether fascist symbols can ever regain their aesthetic innocence. The questions it addresses about the relationship between ethics and aesthetics make a valuable contribution to any discussion about art and power.


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