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.
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.
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.