If you grew up like I did, going to Hebrew school three times a week in La Jolla (twice during the week after school and then on Saturday for synagogue services) and the mandatory two hours of Holocaust studies per week (along with Hebrew language and bar mitzvah prep) and the countless field trips to the Holocaust museum in Los Angeles, then you have probably suffered from the same Holocaust anxiety that I did as a young kid.
So when Tracie B and I were deciding how to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our first date, she took the reins and said, “after the week my man’s had, I think he could use him a little Nazi ass-kickin'” and treated me to a screening of Tarantino’s new film Inglourious Basterds, about a group of Jew commandos sent behind enemy lines to kill Nazis toward the end of the second world war.
I’ve read a lot of disappointed reviewers who say the movie is not “violent enough” and lacks the thriller elements of his other films. And they might be right.
But a closer look at the film reveals that it is not a roman d’aventure (story of adventures) but rather an aventure de romans (adventure of stories): the film is a seamlessly woven fabric of allusions to nearly all the great war movie genres and beyond, with the Spaghetti Western as the frame that holds all the elements together. The conceit of the “cinema that kills” was entirely brilliant.
Tracie B pointed that in my endorsement of the film I am contradicting my credo that there can be no good Holocaust movie with a happy ending. But I counter saying the story is a fantasy and is exaggerated caricatures underline its basis as an oneiric and purely filmic tale. But I don’t want to ruin the dénounement…
I do wonder if the e in Tarantino’s basterds is akin to Derrida’s a in differance. Does anyone know the derivation?
Ironically, on this day, one year from our first date, when I boarded a plane and came to visit her for the first time in Austin, I said goodbye to Tracie B today: I’m at the airport headed to California for business and to catch up with a few friends.
I promise: more wine tomorrow (and probably some good stuff, considering where I’m heading) but thank you for indulging me today in a little Nazi ass kickin’… It’ll do a body good every once in a while.