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In 1988, Christoph Schlingensief made Mutters Maske, a kind of remake of Veit Harlan’s melodrama Opfergang (1944). The essay explores the way in which Schlingensief dealt with the Nazi melodrama. Mutters Maske can be described as a ‘Return of the Real’: the despair and the sickness which lie beneath the pristine surface of Harlan’s images becomes visible and, more importantly, becomes evident for the recipients. The paper draws on the term ‘traumatic realism’ (Hal Foster). Schlingensief does not formulate a critique of Opfergang, in the narrow sense of the word. Instead, he exaggerates the neurotic subtext of Harlan’s movie. “If you can’t beat it, (…) join it”, says Foster. “More, if you enter it totally, you might expose it; that is, you might reveal its automatism, even its autism, through your own excessive example.”