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The Germans love their ''Basterds'' too

The GlobalPost's Paul Hockenos reports audiences in Germany are going ga-ga for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, despite that country's understandable sensitivity toward movies that take liberties with World War II history.

When I showed up at my neighborhood theater in Berlin, the ticket line reached out to the curb. Once inside the jam-packed theater, I found myself as intrigued by the reaction of the German cinema-goers as I was by the film.

It was plain from the bursts of laughter and applause that they thoroughly relished all two-and-a-half hours of it, even though the graphic, blood-soaked farce would appear to break every German's rule for political correctness.

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The article also points out that $11 million of Basterds total budget was financed by State-financed German foundations. German critics have also responded warmly to Basterds, Hockenos states, in part because of the film's revisionist history (warning: major plot spoilers below!).

One of Germany’s foremost critics, Georg Seesslen in the magazine Der Spiegel, noted that Inglourious Basterds was the first film to actually show Hitler die. Why, he asks, had no one ever thought of killing off Hitler on the silver screen? By the end of Inglourious Basterds, he wrote, Hitler is "more than dead. He is kaputt — all shot up, burned and chopped to pieces.”

All other films symbolically left the book open, thus turning Hitler’s evil itself into a spectre that never perished. By implication, Germany could never be “normal” because Hitler lived on, at least on film.

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German audiences also probably appreciate the extent of the cultural homework Tarantino did while writing Basterds. My German friend Sven saw the movie last week and was impressed with Tarantino's scrupulous attention to detail, such as the way Germans use their thumb when flashing a number three with their hand.

Comments

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Erwin

I think you mentioned in your review that this movie is simultaneously pleasurable and aggravating. Yeah, you bet it is. Still loved the hell out of it though.

Immediately after watching this movie, I began to think about the scenes from the trailer that were not included and I realized that the DVD release will most probably be an extended Director's Cut. It makes sense given how long this film already is, and how little is actually told (for instance, just what is up with Pitt's scar? How did he get that?)

My worry is that an extended cut will make the film feel just as self-indulgent as Death Proof, but then again I don't think I would've mind staying in the theater to spend just a little more time with those basterds. Unless I was in the theater in the movie.

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