- Once again <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQhTVz5IjQ>Quentin
Tarantino has managed to produce the impossible: 'an anti Holocaust
film'. The Holocaust film genre can be grasped as a realistic cinematic
representation of the 'Jewish victim' (innocent and harmless individual)
confronted with the ultimate brutal bureaucratic murderous ideology known
as Nazism. The genre can be realised as an intense emotional blackmail
that aims to depict the history of the 20th century through an empathetic
identification with a phantasmic faultless Jewish protagonist. Needless
to say, this genre has been rather successful. Whether it is Schindler's
List, The Pianist, Everything is Illuminated, The Boy in the Striped
Pyjamas or any other Shoah (Hebrew for Holocaust) film, it is always
Jewish innocence that faces institutional state terror.
- Tarantino manages to resolve the clear discrepancy between
the cinematic 'Jewish innocence' and the Jewish nationalist 'murderous
reality'. He does it all through a fantasy. In his imaginary setting, the
Jew is a revengeful subject. He is an iconic retaliating scalping savage,
Biblically-motivated murderer. In Tarantino's latest epic, for the first
time, the Diaspora Jew resembles his Israeli nephew. Through
a cinematic fictional plot, history has become a homogenous continuum in
which Jewish past and Israeli present are unified into a relentless expedition
of suicidal vengeance. If films indeed resemble the work of the dream and
the unconscious, Tarantino's latest can be grasped as a wake up call; it
illuminates something that we insist to suppress and deny.
- On the face of it, Inglourious Basterds follows
a typical Hollywood WWII film genre. In the film a special unit of Jewish
Americans (the Inglourious Basterds) lands in occupied France just to teach
the Nazis what Jewish reprisal is all about. They ambush Nazi patrols and
then kill their prisoners, exhibiting ultimate brutality, whether it is
scalping the dead Nazis or killing the rest by crashing their skulls with
a baseball bat. The Basterds would always leave one German alive as a witness
of their relentless brutality so he can spread out the news of Jewish terror.
With a bayonet, they would carve a Swastika into the survivor's forehead
in order to make the Nazi identifiable to all after the war. This is presumably
a modern take on the mark of Cain but it is somehow a bunch of 'inglorious
humans', who take the role of God.
- The film's opening scene takes us to German-occupied
France (1941). Col. Hans Landa (Cristoph Waltz) of the Waffen SS a.k.a.
the "Jew Hunter," interrogates a French dairy farmer about rumors
that he was hiding a Jewish family of local dairy farmers . Col
Landa manages to break the French farmer who admits to hiding the Jews
underneath the floorboards. Col Landa orders his soldiers to fire into
the floorboards, killing all but the teenage Shoshanna (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9lanie_Laurent>Mélanie
Laurent), who manages to escape to the woods. (1)
- Three years after her escape, Shoshanna reappears in
Paris, having assumed a new identity. She also becomes proprietress of
a small cinema. The film reaches its climax when Shoshanna, celebrates
the opportunity to revenge the death of her family. She commits an heroic
suicidal act, burning to death the entire Nazi leadership and high command
who happen to gather in her small cinema to watch Goebbels' latest
Nazi propaganda film. While the Nazis burn alive and the theatre is consumed
by a blaze, with Shoshanna's face filling up the screen, laughing satanically,
she is informing her Nazi burning crowed, "This is the face of Jewish
vengeance." From a Jewish perspective Shoshanna's suicidal act can
be realised in reference to the heroic Biblical Samson who topples the
Philistine shrine on himself killing elders, women and children. In Tarantino's
latest, rather than Nazis burning Jews, it is actually the Jew who locks
the Nazis behind doors and burns them to death.
- Jew Vs Nazi
- "Inglourious Basterds just made me smile forever.
Quentin Tarantino is righteous and every Jew should write him a thank you
note. Here's mine" Sarah Silverman on Twitter.
- One may wonder, how it is that a Jewish producer affiliated
with Israel and Zionism is standing behind such a film that portrays the
Jews in such a horrifying light. The answer is actually very simple. Zionists
love to see themselves as revengeful and merciless. In Israel, Samson who
is nothing less than a genocidal murderer is regarded as an eternal hero.
He even managed to get an IDF battalion called after him. It is not a secret
that the fantasy of retribution is deeply imbued within the Zionist psyche
and Israeli politics. "Never Again" is there to suggest to Israelis
that Jews will never again be sent as lambs to the slaughter. What it means
in practice is that Jews will fight back and hit as hard as they can. Reprisal
is a key element in the understanding of Israeli conduct. As much as the
film depicts a horrifying image of the revengeful Jew, Jews and Zionists
happen to support the film and even love it.
- But Tarantino doesn't stop there. He also offers a harsh
criticism of Jewish identity by drawing a comparison between the Jewish
and Nazi protagonists.
- Unlike the single dimensional vengeance ridden Jewish
protagonists (the Inglourious Basterds and Shoshanna), Tarantino's Nazis
are mostly complex and multi dimensional.
- To start with they present a duality and even a contradiction
between individuality and the collective role. While the Jewish protagonists
present a conviction that unified the personal and the tribal into retribution,
Col. Landa, the SS 'Jew Hunter' actually bounces between hedonism and Nazi
murderous subservience. Col Landa is also a very well mannered Austrian,
cultured, charming man. And yet, within seconds he could turn into a monstrous
beast. He interprets his behavior in terms of productivity; he is 'doing
his job'. At the end of the day, he is a detective and his task is to locate
Jews in their hiding places. Col. Landa is even willing to admit that he
is good at it because he is capable of 'thinking like a Jew': he can predict
how people who 'lack dignity' may behave. Unlike the Jewish protagonists
who can't speak any foreign language, Col. Landa is immersed in Western
culture. He speaks fluent English, French and Italian in addition to his
native German. Unlike the Jewish protagonists who are focused on nothing
but revenge, Landa eventually betrays the 3rd Reich just to bring an end
to the war and have peace in Europe. Needless to mention that he also
manages to secure his future in the same breath, negotiating it with a
'top brass' American.
- Fredrick Zoller (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Br%C3%BChl>Daniel
Brühl), is another example of Nazi multi dimensional identity. Zoller
is a young German Wehrmacht war hero starring in Joseph Goebbels' newest
Propaganda film. In spite of Zoller being a decorated killing machine,
he is far from being proud of it. He had done it in self-defense. His real
affection is cinema. It is in the cinema where he meets Shoshanna
and fall in love with her, unaware of her heritage or her revenge plan.
While Zoller can easily alienate himself from his role as a Nazi hero
soldier or even a killing machine, Shoshanna is not ready to even consider
the possibility. She is set to fulfill her mission. She will eventually
shoot him in the back and kill the Nazi leadership.
- Rough guide to Tarantino's Symbolism
- Symbolism and History- as mentioned before During the
film, the inglourious Basterds carve swastikas on German soldiers who are
allowed to survive their ordeal.
- It is not exactly a secret that the history of WWII is
far from being widely accessible or freely discussed. Rather than trying
to elaborate on the meaning of history and historical dynamic, we are subject
to an increasing saturation of symbolism and even legislation that suggests
what views are allowed to be held and what aren't. 'Terror', 'Nazis' and
'Fascism' are obviously 'the baddies'. 'Democracy' and 'Freedom' are the
'goodies'. Tarantino is here to offer a harsh criticism of the above.
Carving people's forehead with symbols (Swastikas) is a form of hegemony
maintenance. As it seems, we are just powerful enough to dictate 'a truth'.
If we were instead interested in the meaning of our history, we may be
able to stop the English Speaking Empire from repeating its Dresden crime
in Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq and Gaza.
- The Golem- At a certain stage, the Nazi high command
is convinced that "The Bear Jew", a 'baseball bat'-swinging
Nazi hunter' is in fact, a vengeful Golem, summoned by an angry rabbi.
In the Jewish legend, Golem is a creature made of clay and brought to life
by magical incantations. In the film, "The Bear Jew" is actually
Staff Sergeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth), second in command of the Basterds.
The reference to Golem is rather significant. As it seems, even the Nazis
cannot believe that a human can turn out to be so brutal towards
another fellow human being. However, the Symbolism may even be greater.
The Golem has the Hebrew word 'truth' carved on its forehead. For the Inglourious
Basterds the notion of truth is the 'truth' they manage to impose on others
by carving Swastikas on their foreheads.
- The Sabbath Goy- 1st Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad
Pitt), the commander of the Basterds is an American Goy who has nothing
to do with Judaism or Jewishness. He is a thick accented, vengeance-driven
officer from Tennessee. It may raise some questions why it is that Tarantino
had let a cowboy Goy command the Jewish Basterds. It may be possible that
Tarantino is trying to suggest that Lieutenant Raine is just an outlet
(or 'a mercenary proxy') for Jewish reprisal. As devastating as it may
sound, his relationships with his Jewish subordinates may resemble the
relationships between Bush and his Neocon warmongers. It is hard to decide
whether Lieutenant Raine is subject to judification or whether it is him,
being a blood thirsty savage capitalizing on Jewish vengeance. One thing
is rather clear, according to Tarantino's cinematic imagery, the combination
of America and Jews is far from being a healthy humanist adventure.
- The Film and the Dream
- Rather than looking at the content of a dream, it may
as well be possible to imagine the dream looking at us as its 'content
of reality'. As it happens, in the dream, it is usually us and our so called
psychic reality that is being watched and even scrutinized. The interpretation
of dreams is, in most cases, based on the assumption that in the dream,
some involuntary waves of thoughts are there to throw light on the kernel
of our being. It is there to bring to our attention those things we suppress
and deny. This idea brings to mind Slavoj Zizek's return to the 1960's
slogan that 'reality is there for those who cannot face the dream'.
- The film resembles the role of the dream. As much as
we tend to believe ourselves to be the viewers, from time to time, it is
actually us who are being watched. Tarantino's latest is a classic example.
It is there to elevate consciousness to the realm of thoughts we insist
to avoid. It raises questions that are regarded as taboo. It provides
us with an opportunity to glance at ourselves from the perspective of the
unconscious. Through the fantasy it draws our reality. As in the dream,
Inglourious Basterds displaces and reshapes events without any commitment
to any historical truth, it is not committed to well accepted facts either.
It doesn't follow any recognized narrative, yet, it provides meaning.
The success of the film may be due to its ability to communicate with some
pre symbolic reality (The Lacanian Real . It strips us
of our symbolism and symbolic order. As a work of art it leads us closer
to Being. Through violence it touches our ethical kernel and hopefully
awakens our craving for kindness. For the first time we transcend beyond
the discrepancy we impose on ourselves for turning a blind eye to the origin
of Zionist and the barbarism and war mongering on a global scale. Through
the fantasy we manage to look at evil in the eye and this is exactly where
Tarantino ends his film. In the final scene the Camera takes the role of
Lieutenant Raine's eyes (a point of view shot). We basically watch Lieutenant
Raine sadistically cut with his bayonet onto Col Landa's forehead. In cinematic
language, we basically watch with horror as Lieutenant Raine carves us
all with Swastikas.
- Unconsciousness, according to Lacan, is the discourse
of the other. It is that painful truth one tries to conceal from the other
while knowing that this concealing may be impossible. From a Jewish perspective,
Inglourious Basterds should have been realised as the nightmare of a bad
dream coming true. It is almost impossible to deny that Tarantino is out
there shouting 'The Emperor is Naked': he is neither a victim nor an innocent.
The fact that many Jews fail to see it and instead, end up praising the
film, may stand as another disturbing indication that Zionist collective
identity has managed to detach itself from any recognized notion of humanist
reality. As sad as this may sound, it explains world Jewry's institutional
support of Israel. It may also explain why Zionists as a collective failed
to internalize the meaning of the Shoa. Instead of searching for grace
in themselves, Zionists keep engaging themselves in Nazi hunting and carving
others with different labels and symbols.
- For too many years, Zionist lobbies around the world
have managed to dismantle any criticism of Israel. They have managed to
turn the history of WWII into an internal Jewish restricted research zone.
They have managed to transform our knowledge of the past into a symbolic
exchange, but they somehow failed to silence the dream. This is where Tarantino
comes into play. Through the fantasy he manages to tell us what our reality
is all about.
- As much as the Inglourious Basterds, Shoshanna and the
Israelis (who gathered on the hills around Gaza to watch their army spreading
death) gain some pleasure out of vengeance, it is possible that through
two and half hours of therapy led by Tarantino we may, after all, learn
to enjoy our symptoms and say it loudly: Enough is Enough. No more Old
Testament vengeance and barbarism. We want grace and mercy instead.
- 1. Re dairy farmer, already then and
there, Tarantino manages in a very subtle manner to set the template for
his fictional fantasy to come. It would be impossible for me to argue that
there were NO Jewish dairy farmers operating in occupied France at the
time. However, it is certainly true that dairy farming wasn't exactly a
stereotypical Jewish occupation. We also learn at this very scene the names
of the children of the Jewish family are Shoshanna and Amos. Again, this
may seem to be a minor detail. But in fact it is rather crucial. Amos
is not at all a Jewish Diaspora name. It is actually a biblical name.