The Downfall: Syntactic

The downfall is a historical drama that was initially produced in the German language. Der Untergang was produced in 2004 directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. The producer of the film is Bernd Eichinger featuring Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara among other famous movie stars. The setting of the drama is in Berlin during World War II when Germany is on the threat of being defeated. The drama is based on Historian Joachim Fest’s book Hitler’s Bunker and Until the Final Hour by Traudi Junge. It shows the final days of Adolf Hitler who was a dictator. The historian movie has the semantic and syntactic characteristics of the genre.

Semantic is an essential factor in genre classification which revolves around the name of the genre itself. Elements such as acting, costume, set, cinematography, and iconography help in explaining the genre of the movie. One of the factors that depict the semantic approach is the general environment or the setting of the film. In Download the context is in Berlin, and it starts with Traudi Junge and four other women arriving at Wolf’s Lair in Rastenburg. , and shortly after that Hitler comes to ask their names. Traudi is the first to be tested for secretarial skills, and she is finally offered the job.

This setting is very significant in helping the audience understand the themes of the movie as it resonates well with the message of the drama. The Soviet artillery is also substantial in this historical drama as it portrays the attitude of Adolf Hitler(Hirschbiegel, 2004). When he hears the bomb he inquiries from his Generals where the gunfire is coming from.  The General only knows that there are in Berlin but doesn’t know how far they are from Führerbunker. Hitler is not at ease, so he decides to contact General Karl who informs him that the artillery battery has happened twelve kilometers away from Führerbunker. This scene near the battlefield so Hitler is devastated and yells at his Generals for not bothering to inquire before he could ask for himself.

The second semantic aspect depicted in the movie is a costume. This is a historical movie with the theme of war. The generals are wearing uniforms, and there are several types of war weapons. Without such elements, it could be difficult for the audience to understand the genre of the movie (Hirschbiegel, 2004). The costume is one of the tools that the director of a film uses to tell the story. The costume communicates the personality of the characters to the audience. One characteristic of the historic movie is that it should have costumes worn during the era when the film was produced. If it is a recent movie, then the type of costumes should not be old fashioned as this will confuse the audience. There must be a relationship between the kind of costume and the age when the movie is set.

The cinematography of the movie is excellently done with stunning looks and significant sounds. The scenes contains and the screen displays are enough for use in evaluating characteristics of a historical drama war film(Hirschbiegel, 2004). The audience can easily understand that this is a war movie as the scene tells it all. The movie depicts the theme of deadly wars in history which caused severe human loss and grief. The film is classified in the right genre using the semantic approach.

Syntactic include the elements in the film where there are only a few characters left from the movie without suffering. The syntactic element creates fear in other characters within the film. The characters in the movie get fear and anxiety about what is going to happen to them. The syntactic approach is used in the film in showing the acts done by Hitler to fellow human beings; he murdered and tortured many people who were innocent. The syntactic approach reflects the horror that the people experienced during the war, to make things worse the people suffered the torture from one of their one.

The people realized that they faced a monster named Hitler who terrorized them by making their lives hard, they met the constant threat of death, Hitler was the ruler at the time and used to kill people without any reason if he did not like them (Hirschbiegel, 2004). The people believed that Hitler had the conspiracy of killing the people using other people that the people were friendly with. He also used the troops to torture and murdered the people. The personality of Hitler was confusing because sometimes he was kind in the film while at other times he was violent to the people.

The syntactic in the downfall movie shows the close people to Hitler as pathetic because they took advantage of the fact that they were close to Hitler to torture the people. They discriminated the people by treating some well when they seek services from the government (Hirschbiegel, 2004). They would torture and kill people then hide their bodies. The film represents a dark history of the past where leaders used to misuse the power and discriminate innocent people. Downfall provides a classic scenario where leaders killed and tortured innocent people because they did not like them. The torture also includes the bombing of people residence who were living their own lives.

The theme of the film is violence and the suffering of the people. From the syntactic point of view, the people’s rights were not respected; their dignity was put on trial in the manner that they were being treated (Hirschbiegel, 2004). The movie depict a scenario where people have fear living in their own country, and the people were worried about what would happen in their lives. The elements of anxiety are seen where people fear for their lives; in the world war, two Germans were killed by their government. The people used to be discriminated based on whether those in authority such as the troops that were involved in the world war two.

The film creates an image where the people do not like the people in authority. The German people did not like Hitler as their leader because of the actions that he used to do to them (Hirschbiegel, 2004).Those who were tortured by Hitler were left with trauma because of the experiences that they had gone through. The trauma affects the people while they are going on with their activities; they worry about the incidences happening in future. The people were afraid that they could also be killed like the other people who were killed.

In conclusion, semantic and syntactic approaches are used in the film to stress the theme of the movie. The semantic and syntactic facilitate the movie producers to acquire the setting of the movie as well as create the right perspective of the film to the viewers. The movie reflects real life scenarios.


Hirschbiegel, O. (Director). (2004). Downfall [Motion Picture].