DOGGONE EVERYTHING (In Search of Something)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

For all you Tarantino fans who liked his latest movie, history is perhaps not something he should have messed with, and especially not this history. Yes, it's fiction, but as a filmmaker is he exempt from historical truth? Exempt from being responsible with history? It seems some critics do not feel he has the knowledge or sensitivity to be in this realm. (See end of Newsweek and NY Times critique below.) Both critics had good things to say, but in their final assessment were not pleased with the film. His knowledge of pop culture and film is his forte and maybe that's what he should stick to. A rather dicey chance he's taken with this film.  Even though the story is fiction, unfortunately many people do not know the history of this time and might not discern fact from fiction. See quotes below:
"Tarantino's movie may be the latest, if the most extreme, example of a trend that shows just how fragile memory can be—a series of popular World War II films that disproportionately emphasize armed Jewish heroism (Defiance) and German resistance (Valkyrie, White Rose), or elicit sympathy for German moral confusion (The Reader). If so, it may be that our present-day taste for "empowerment," our anxious horror of being represented as "victims"—nowadays there are no victims, only "survivors"—has begun to distort the representation of the past, one in which passive victims, alas, vastly outnumbered those who were able to fight back. "Facts can be so misleading," Hans Landa, the evil SS man, murmurs at one point in Inglourious Basterds. Perhaps, but fantasies are even more misleading. To indulge them at the expense of the truth of history would be the most inglorious bastardization of all."
("'Inglourious Basterds’: When Jews Attack." By Daniel Mendelsohn, Aug 14, 2009.)

And NY Times:

"Cartoon Nazis are not new to the movies, and neither are fascinating fascists, as evidenced by Ralph Fiennes’s Oscar-nominated turn in “Schindler’s List.” Unlike those in “Schindler’s List,” Mr. Tarantino’s Nazis exist in an insistently fictional cinematic space where heroes and villains converge amid a welter of movie allusions. He’s not making a documentary or trying to be Steven Spielberg: Mr. Tarantino is really only serious about his own films, not history. In that sense “Inglourious Basterds,” which takes its title if not its misspellings from an Italian flick in “The Dirty Dozen” vein, is simply another testament to his movie love. The problem is that by making the star attraction of his latest film a most delightful Nazi, one whose smooth talk is as lovingly presented as his murderous violence, Mr. Tarantino has polluted that love. "
("Tarantino Avengers in Nazi Movieland." By MANOHLA DARGIS, Aug. 21, 2009.)

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