What should one watch if one wants to know about Nuremberg? Which films best capture the essence of the tribunal? Famed film aficionado Lydia Maslova has prepared a unique list of films to accompany the “Nuremberg: Casus Pacis” project. We continue with our series, publishing her recommendations twice a week – the greatest films about the war and its aftermath, from the famous and award-winning, to the niche, but important and meaningful ones.
‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009, United States, Germany)
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Til Schweiger
Quentin Tarantino, using his characteristic ironic fashion and favourite genre of “alternative history”, weaves together two storylines inexorably leading to the triumphant finale of “Inglourious Basterds” – the death of Hitler and the entire top brass of the Third Reich during a fire in a Parisian cinema. The attack was organised by a punitive brigade of eight Jewish-American soldiers who scalped German officers under the slogan: “Teach the Nazis lessons in humanity? Nazi ain't got no humanity”.
A chilling portrait of fascism in “Inglourious Basterds” is played by Christoph Waltz, who was awarded an Oscar for his role as a ruthless SS officer, Standartenführer Hans "The Jew Hunter" Landa, one of the most brilliant villains in cinema history – a polite, polished gentleman with pleasant manners, impeccable French, and demagogic arguments about why Goebbels' comparison of Jews to rats is not an insult, but rather a compliment.
The film's finale, where the Jewish avengers carve a swastika into the forehead of the Standartenführer, leaves no doubt: the false allure of Nazi symbols and rhetoric and its deceptive aristocratism should not mislead anyone as to the true savage nature of Nazism.