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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Back to violence. Now there is splashy violence and then there is insidious,evil violence. They are two different things. One is subtle, the other is not. Insidious violence occurs in your life every day. Do you see it? Or are you blind and asleep?

An example of terrible violence done to a soul is in the first scene. Waltz knows that his dairy farmer peasant victim has hidden the family of Jews. He knows it in his gut because he connects lots of dots. The way the UC Berkeley officer knew something was wrong with the two children which led to Jaycee's rescue after eighteen years of hell. Now there's a case of both kinds of evil. Her daughters sound autistic. Who will rescue them?

But back to the first scene of IB. Landa knows and he could just simply have his officers rape the farmer's daughters, torture them in front of him until he tells, shoot them all, whatever. But no, he sits down to drink a glass of fresh milk, chat a little over tobacco, and squeeze more fear into his victim. Because the farmer knows he knows but hopes he doesn't. His careful performance is perfection. His eyes get stony with protective cover. He sweats and Christoph Waltz watches with pleasure and he tightens his hold. They speak English, so the Jews underneath won't understand. He reaches a climax where he tells him ever so charmingly that he can take his family in for interrogation or he can just indicate with a nod where they are hiding. The French peasant is known for his astuteness, and this one needs no prodding. He knows what will happen to his young and beautiful daughters. He knows the Jews down below are doomed anyway. Now he is being asked to become a collaborator, to sully his soul, to do such a despicable act that he will forever torture himself afterward. (Think Sophie's Choice.) Now this is violence. He is asking him to be Judas. His reward is not 30 pieces of silver, but the safety of his daughters. He can berate himself the rest of his life by weighing the two alternatives and BTW Corrie Ten Boom had Jews hidden in her house walls and wouldn't tell and she and her family and all the Jews went to a camp. But that's another story.

Waltz is the devil in real life. He is offering a deal to Faust. Sort of. And he has destroyed a human being for the rest of his life.

That is violence, pure and simple. It is the kind of violence you will come up against again and again in your life. Will you recognize it? Will you be able to resist? Will you cave in, compromise, just what will you do? We are seeing this with our charming President Obama. So far he is compromising with insidious evil. He is asleep I think.Will he wake up? Dunno.

Visual violence has already corrupted us. It is too late now to undo the desensitization process. Only when it is someone we love will it cut us to pieces. Willem Dafoe's wife Elizabeth almost threw up watching his death in Platoon.

So one cannot protest violence in a Tarantino film unless one has confronted his depiction of real, total, unrelenting torture and violence of the soul.

The fiery holocaust of the Nazis can be viewed as a template of the JFK assassination, so follow me to Part 8.

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