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Saturday, August 29, 2009

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Review Part 6

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.

Jaycee Dugard Incompetent Searchers Responsible Not

Actually the sheriff and police, the parole officers and deputies are not really responsible for not finding her and getting her home. A neighbor called in about women and children in the back yard, saying he was a sex offender and demanding they do something about these people living in the backyard. So the deputy goes and doesn't know he's a sex offender and doesn't look in the backyard. This is not because he is stupid. This is because there is a lack of communication, an inability to connect the dots. Think 9-11 for a minute and Condi's whod a thunk someone would fly an airplane into a building utterance of inanity? Just Arnold and a couple of Hollywood directors, that's who. Ever go to the movies, girl?

The same deficiency operates in the search for Jaycee. That blindness to connect clues. Maybe reading Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie should be required reading for professional sleuths. I prefer Maigret myself.

It is the fault of our educational system. There is an emphasis on obedience, not questioning. Question Authority is a great t-shirt to wear. People get upset with it and think you are a liberal radical. Well, you are. It's the only thing that is going to rescue us from dumbness, our cultural way of life.

Now we have two women at UC Berkeley seeing that the two girls are behaving strangely when Garrido comes to get a permit to pass out religious literature. Campbell gets Jacobs to run a background check and they find out he's a sexual offender. (This is after Campbell, stalling him, has told him to come back on Tuesday for the permit. I wonder if Campbell was afraid to see him alone?)Both women are there Tuesday and this is how they report some of what they noticed.

According to Jacobs, both daughters were robotic, extremely pale to the point of being almost gray, and with non-responsive bright blue eyes. The 15 year old was first seen staring up at the sky.

Well now, with both of these women in mother mode,(their choice of words) the dots are starting to be connected. Calling the parole officer he says, "but he doesn't have any daughters", the light is turning on. Garrido brings Jaycee (Alyssia) to the parole officer's office on Wednesday with the two children (she is his wife and the mother and now he trusts her) and the cat is out of the bag when they question Jaycee. Evidently she has never learned to lie. That was probably one of the things that saved her. She had no treachery in her soul, unlike our Huckleberry Finn, who prizes the ability to deceive when necessary.

But it is the two women with their intuitive faculties still not suppressed that open the window for Jaycee's escape.

Americans are so unable to connect dots that it has become a national liability and will lead to our disintegration along the lines of Toynbee's thesis of disintegrating civilizations. It has prompted me here to review Inglourious Basterds in order to defend Tarantino. All the reviews are mostly clueless reporting the plot only or tearing Tarantino to shreds. Just like now we know the plot of Jaycee's abduction, the incompetent search, the fixation on the stepfather (shades of the Ramseys)and 18 years of unobservant, clueless observation of Phillip Garrido. I do not blame these men. I meet them all the time, everywhere I go. People are asleep. They look and do not see.

Campbell is wasted issuing permits. She needs to be at a high government level. She sees. She connects signs and clues. She intuits, she interprets. But she attributes her ability to do this as being a mother. That is she has been an observant mother, which is not the same thing. She is exercising her full human capabilities for thinking creatively and correctly. How great that the parole officer remembered he didn't have any children thus turning his mind up a few notches.

For more of the heart of the story see; http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20301301,00.htm

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Review Part 5

As violence and revenge are projected as themes and disavowed by Mark Blankenship, he comes to the scene of Shosanna's death. The hero German soldier who has been turned into a movie star (Daniel Bruehl)who has been chasing Shosanna in an adolescent way, procuring her theatre for the Nazi event and the premiere of his movie debut, enters the projection room as her film is playing on reel 3 where she tells the Nazis it is all over for them and they will die. Now here is Tarantino's salute to another grand opera of treachery, Tosca. Buehl is the modern day police chief Scarpia and she is Tosca. He has come to claim her in all his movie star image of himself. She is not impressed as usual. She sees his intent to force her, tells him to shut the door almost seductively. He falters and she repeats her command. As he turns she shoots him in the back a few times. She has kissed her black lover goodbye as they both will burn in the holocaust of fire. She goes to the body and here Tarantino twists the old cliche of the corpse arising to be killed again. He does but he shoots her. Just like Gregory Peck does to Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun but this is a more classical scene. They both lie sprawled across the floor apart in death and we have the ending of Tosca. It is beautiful and classical and a salute to high culture as Rienzi has prepared us. The flames behind the screen as Shosanna laughs and laughs and laughs in her film is another tribute to grand opera.

By now you know I am deconstructing this film on the fly. The more one thinks about it the more there is to think about. You take from a Tarantino film what you bring to a Tarantino film. And that is his gift to us. If all you bring to it is red then that's what you leave with. Not a shabby thing at all. Something that has made you see a bit differently from usual. The juxtaposition of the two women is glorious. One is the actress, the other has in real life assumed heroic proportions so as to appear a giantess, to have overcome her terror and fear. Someone said, courage is the action you take when you are terrified. The first encounter with Lantz she ran away with terrified wings on her feet. This time she has confronted all of them holding her ground by burning her theatre down, igniting an antique collection of flammable film. I want to tell you from experience, a small amount of film on fire will burn a small house down like you wouldn't believe.

Still more on the fiery holocaust.