Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, another tarantella of gratuitous violence: don’t cha just love it?
GB Shaw mocked the preacher who talks of love and peace from the pulpit one Sunday, then exhorts his congregation to take up arms the next. Seldom to never does the preacher admit candidly, Well, I thought I was worshipping Jesus, but now I see my real enthusiasm is for Mars. So GBS created a character who does do just that: converts to Christianity, is reclaimed by blood lust, and out loud reconverts back to exhuberance of mortal mayhem.
Just paused in the flick, wanna share related thoughts before proceeding: my bio is in the above, in a nutshell, is yours?
I thought I loved peace, and Christ, and mercy … I loved Chaplin as a kid, as a man: kick the loser in the teeth, watch Chaplin’s idiot clown bounce back up again: kick him again …
I loved La Strada: the strong man kills beauty, doesn’t have a clue about himself, realizes he’s missing something way too late.
But then I learned that I also loved Roshomon, and the Seven Samurai!
The violence seemed to come on a high moral plateau: it was about peace, it was about social decency: but oh my god, the violence, the war, the killing, the action!
The next thing I knew, 1958, ’59, I couldn’t see enough samurai films. The violence continued while the high moral platform sank into bullshit.
Last week I saw a Japanese update, a Takashi Miike movie. It opens with a guy committing Sepukku, in slow motion loving close-up. A minute later we meet a woman who’s had her limbs cut off, her tongue cut out, was routinely raped, then abandoned. Are we just ghouls? Shouldn’t we feel a twinge of embarrassment when Brad Pitt’s American basterd officer seems to relish atrocity as much as the Nazis he wars on?
Does Tarantino have our number? my number too? as well as did Kurrosawa? ! Or does Quentin know us, and himself, better than Kurosawa did?
Maybe he’s taken it a step further, into degeneration? Given us all the gore and sadism of the crucifixion without wasting our time about love, mercy, or sacrifice.
It’s like Roger Federer. I’d worshiped Rod Laver since the 1960s: then I see that Federer is as good, maybe better: then even John McEnroe says so on TV. Then the whole world agrees, pain in the ass: I hate it when people say what I’ve been saying a year or a decade or two later without any acknowledgments.
Then we start talking about Rafa being even better.
Better than the best? !
It’s wonderful: do any of us know what we’re talking about?
I suspect Genghis Khan did.