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The impulsive robbery, male rape, heroin ODs, the backseat brain-blasting: Pulp Fiction is spectacle; it’s Tarantino at play. Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino at work. That’s not to say Basterds isn’t fun: Mike Myer’s overstated British lingo and the comic Nazi theatricality do more than season Tarantino’s world—they give it marrow. After all, what’s a Quentin Tarantino film if not an open-mouthed mastication of foreign genres spit out as American pulp? Bad Italian accents, Morricone’s symphonic bombast—the director is clearly nodding to a foreign syntax of cinema. But the cinematic déjà vu’s that run rampant in Inglorious Basterds evidence a filmmaker who has not only studied the geometrics of cinema, but who is concocting his own theorem, his own chain of reasoning about what it means to make a contemporary film. Tarantino knows that cinema is not the world itself, but a way in which one takes liberty to organize the world, and by this reasoning licenses himself to depict history any way he likes it, regardless of the politically correct version. In an age of art that gesticulates either with hip irony or brutal realism, Tarantino somehow avoids both. He bathes in the violence of irony, stripping it of any “hip” seduction: carves swastikas into the heads of unwilling Nazis and forces us to watch the massacre of unarmed Germans in a crowbar-jammed theater-turned-oven. Yet it’s so heavily fantasized that it cannot be realism.

That said, Inglorious Basterds teaches us something important about one of the great living filmmakers of our time: he’s a fool. A jester, to be more precise. Beatrice K. Otto writes that in societies where freedom of speech was not considered a human right, the court jester—precisely because anything he said was by definition “a jest” and “the uttering of a fool”—could speak frankly on controversial issues. Tarantino loves the “pulp” style: jocular, sensational, grimy, deliberately poor in quality. The term “pulp fiction” comes from magazines produced from the 1920s through 1950s. These lurid, fantastical, exploitative rags were printed on cheap paper made of wood pulp. So, pulp is the modus operandi of this masterful jester. We must then approach Inglorious Basterds looking for his controversial truths.

Take, for example, Tarantino’s reference to the King Kong story. In a basement pub, a few Basterd spies and a Nazi SS officer decide to play a game by attaching name cards to their foreheads. Each person must attempt to guess which name is written on his or her own card by asking leading questions. The German SS officer discovers that his persona a) comes from a tropical region, b) was made captive and taken across the sea in chains, and c) arrived in a foreign land against his will. The SS officer narrows his guess to two possibilities: the African-American Negro or King Kong. His first guess is the former, although the answer is the latter. Cleverly, Tarantino reads King Kong as a metaphor for the African Diaspora. But what is even more interesting is the (perhaps unintentional) reversal that happens in his film. The only African presence in Inglorious Basterds is Marcel, the projectionist at the theater and—crucially—the damsel Shosanna’s Negro lover. In the end of the film, Marcel dies in a hail of flames and gunfire, giving his life at the behest of the beautiful girl. Sound familiar? Tarantino arguably casts the Negro Marcel as a King Kong figure. Tarantino hasn’t escaped the metaphor of the tragic Moor; indeed, he’s finished it. In the original 1933 King Kong classic, Denham, the dogged movie director who stole Kong from Skull Island in the first place says, “It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.” And it was Beauty that killed Marcel, in the form of Shosanna.

Not only does Tarantino subtly recognize the cinematographically referential nature of his films; he also literally implants films within his films. It bears mentioning that the Grindhouse double feature he co-directed with Robert Rodriguez begins with a number of fake trailers (one of which, Machete, actually entered production after the trailer was filmed). Stolz der Nation, Josef Goebbels’s propaganda film around which the plot culminates, provides another great example of how Tarantino utilizes and subverts distinctly foreign genres to create his own jester-like style—a style humorous, ironic and scarily heavy.

In Stolz der Nation, over three hundred American troops die by the hand of a German sniper, concealed high in a village clock tower. Although the American moviegoer recoils at the sight (even as dramatization) of Fredrick Zoller plugging hundreds of US soldiers with German bullets, what Tarantino does in the third act of the film is enact a clever, ironic, dark role-reversal. At the climax of Inglorious Bastards, the new “German sniper” is Basterd Bear Jew, high in the opera seats, plugging three hundred odd German cinemagoers with slugs from their own machine guns. As the building burns, the helpless victims pound on the theater doors. The statement is hardly subtle: the Jews have now thrown the Germans into the sacrificial furnace. One can’t help but think of the Holocaust. The question is: how satisfied are we with this bloody revenge? The smoky specter of Shosanna hovers above the massacre, laughing, but she is dead and cannot reap what she has sown. Does murder vindicate murder? All we know is that we are still in our seats, hands over our mouths, generally horrified. “The shoe,” as Standartenführer Hans Landa (aka The Jew Hunter) says later, “is on the other foot.”

This unorthodox Nazi officer, the gem of the film, is the embodiment of Quentin Tarantino. Hitler, I’m sure, would wish that the entirety of occupied France be forced to speak German if it were logistically possible. Instead of towing the party line of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,” Colonel Landa attempts to appreciate the cultures he encounters rather than overcome or destroy them. He speaks several languages. Hitler admires his ability to think like a Jewish “rat” rather than like the metaphorical German “hawk.” The result of this appropriation is not an exact copy of the Frenchman (he often misuses phrases—“That’s a bingo!”), and there’s an inherent theatricality to his pretense. But I wouldn’t call this pretense artificiality. By failing to relate, he creates something new. He is neither an expatriate nor a tourist. Just as the multilingual German officer struggles to appropriate the other languages as his own, Tarantino, having digested a massive amount of cinema, is near-fluent in the language of the blaxploitation film, the French nouvelle vague, the kung-fu epic, and the Spaghetti Western, and he uses them (or rather misuses them) to create something new and bizarrely American.

Inglorious Basterds is a medley—a miscellany of genres baked in a furnace of violence and congealed into one passionate thing that is describable but impossible to identify. It is Tarantino’s adulterated masterpiece, and though each creepy scalping of a freshly shot human being is enough to make any viewer green-around-the-gills, one can’t help but marvel at the jester’s deft cinematic work.

Jason Harper is the film editor for Wunderkammer.

Comments

Thank you for the review, but would you please warn us before you give away endings like the fate of Marcel?

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ここに列挙していること共係りがありますが、往時、口臭と口内炎が縁由があるという現実を小耳にはさんで愕然しました。口臭の不可欠の起こりは、マウスの虫ですが、身体の衰勢で口臭がエラくなる際もあるみたいです。身に厄介事が突入している証しというわけです。コンディションが頽廃すると口内炎になりやすくなるため、口臭は口内炎の証跡とも予想されています。この案件では、歯の手入れを丁度為果てていたとしても、口臭が半端なくなったり、口内炎になったりするため物すごいです。過労やストレスには心配しながらいく必要があると復見ました。

私は、口内炎に一年中悩まされており、口内炎の治し方などに関して、多くの情報を検索してはトライしています。今月読んだものでためになったものです。口内炎の原因は正確には分かっていないと、いろんな本で書かれていますが、相当整理されて理論立てて口内炎の原因を解明しています。おすすめと言っている口内炎の薬は、以前買ってみたことがあるものもあり、私は一長一短かと考えますが、口内炎の治し方、原因、予防法などに関して深く理解したい方には参考になるでしょう。僕は、1ヶ月毎に口内炎になっていると思う、結構な数の対策を実施していますが、寝る際にマスクは試していませんでした。今日からトライしてみようと思っています。

わらわは、生まれ持った体温が低い性質で、低体温症に呻吟しています。低体温を改善するための素晴らしい手段を存知上げていたら、ご指南いただきたくお願いします。低体温症は相伝するのか子どもも低体温気配で、責任を覚えています。最初の傷みは結局、健康不完全や疾患になりやすいというところです。風邪は屡屡ひきます。肩こり腰痛は日夕です。低体温を改善する為に、多種多様なデータを求めてはチャレンジしてみて、体温を上げる労苦をしているが、今もって35度台です。以前は35度前半で、刻下は35度後半に変化しているので、これでも少々高まった方です。なんとか36度台を日毎に維持できるよう日々をくらしています。

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口内炎の治し方であれば、口内炎の薬を働かせるのが敏速と仮定しますが、根源的に成長してしまうと困難なので、成しうる限り口内炎が発生しない感じで毎日の暮らしで頓着していくのがベストと測り知ります。口内炎が出現する起こりは、多彩あるみたいですが、口の中の胚芽が拡大するのが不可欠の導因と推し測られています。ですので、口腔内を純粋に気をつけておくことが口内炎の予防になります。毎食後の歯の手入れや戸外から還御してきた時のうがいとかを主眼を置いていきたいです。うがいをする時は、うがい薬に委任するともっと効果的と見做します。

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体調には、矢張り気にかけて毎日の暮らしを生きのびていかないと失格ですね。此の節、口腔内が甚いとかぎ取って閲したら口内炎ができていました。今節は、多端だった原因もあり、睡眠を減損し働き過ぎになっていました。ダイニングもそんなに時間を徒遣せずぞんざいになっていた気がします。元気がより良いであることは覚っているのですが、平々たることが過不及無くできないというのは心配です。口内炎の治し方は様々存在するようですが、薬で治すのが速やかと思って職務帰りに薬屋に行ってみたら、しこたまの口内炎の薬が販売されていて目からウロコが落ちる思いでした。体調維持を怠った言い訳ではないですが、わしも含め主としての現代人が、事解していても却々健康に心配することができない現況が横たわっているのかなと思ったのを想出す。

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数学の苦手克服をしたいと考えています。数学が大変できないので、学年でも数学不得意で有名です。数学の勉強法については、様々実証したと記憶しています。数日前にふと目について震えた記事です。数学の練習を多く解きまくって、慣れるのが良い方法と学校の先生が喋っていましたが、基本から脱線していることを把握しました。概念のそもそもを把握する、かみ砕いて言うと何がうれしいか知ることで数え切れないほどの生徒が数学が面白くなり、できるようになっているという本質的な勉強の方法のようです。今日からこの数学の勉強法をチャレンジしてみたいと思うのです。数学の苦手克服が果たせる日を祈願して今週も走ります。数学が余裕になるときがあることを祈ります。

高齢出産で子どもを産出した知友に、過日挙げ句の果てに会遇しました。ニホンでは35歳以上の婦女が、ややに洟たれを生み落す場合、高齢出産と現わします。でも、今日このごろの世の中35歳以上で分娩も異色ではないので、高齢出産という語法もいかがなものかと内輪には積もる。メディカルサイエンスの向上もあるかと思いますが、その知友も一きわ問題なしに産むことができたようです。子どもを抱きしめて嬉しげな仲良の相形が今どきでも沸き起こるようです。高齢出産だからととつおいつすることなく、童子を生出すことのできる世感受が志望されていると認知しました。

肩こりの起こりは血の巡り落込で筋肉がガチガチになっているといった所見が従前強いでしたが、血管が誘因という所見が発現してきました。簡潔に言うと、肩こり解消することを目的に、肩を按摩したりすることが一通ですが、筋肉をさすっても意味のないということです。奇奇怪怪な血管が因の時、肩こり解消のやり口は、初っ端から病的な血管のプレイスを追究して、その地点をはなはだしく圧迫することによって解消できます。

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