By Kate Connolly in Berlin
15 August 2008
Quentin Tarantino, the master of bloodbath cinema, is to give
his trademark comic-book treatment to the Nazis and the second
world war in a film that has stirred controversy even before
production has begun. Shooting on the film, which has the
working title Inglorious Bastards and which Tarantino has
described as an "in-your-face movie", is due to
start in the Potsdam Babelsberg studios west of Berlin on
But the film project by the US director of Pulp Fiction and
Reservoir Dogs, which is a remake of a 70s war film by Enzo
Castellaris, has already created a furious response from German
critics. One said the effects of the "collision"
between pulp fiction and Nazi barbarity were "completely
The film depicts scalpings, disembowelment and swastikas being
engraved in foreheads as a group of American Jewish soldiers
are airdropped into Nazi-occupied Europe to wreak revenge
on the Germans.
Film buffs were yesterday poring over what appeared to be
the Tarantino script of the film, which has apparently been
leaked and posted on several internet sites. Although film
experts said the 167 page "final draft" had Tarantino's
handprint all over it - including his wobbly handwriting,
spelling mistakes (Inglourious Basterds) and grammatical errors
- it had not been confirmed as genuine last night. There was
speculation that it might have been released as a publicity
What has been confirmed is that Brad Pitt is to play the starring
role - Lieutenant Aldo Raine - "known to the Germans
as Apache Aldo ... a hillbilly from the mountains of Tennessee",
who leads the group of Nazi-hunters.
Early in the film, he tells potential recruits: "I'm
putting me together a special team ... and I need me ... eight
- Jewish - American - soldiers ... as a bushwackin', guerrilla
army, we're gonna be doing one thing and one thing only, killin'
He adds: "We will be cruel to the Germans and through
our cruelty, they will know who we are," ordering his
troops to "git me 100 Nazi scalps".
One of the group, known as "Bear Jew", has a reputation
for "bashing Germans' brains in with a baseball bat".
He features in at least one scene.
Other stars believed to have been signed up or up for consideration
who have flown to Berlin over the past fortnight to meet Tarantino,
include Natassja Kinski, Leonardo di Caprio and the German
film stars Daniel Brühl and Til Schweiger.
If the script is anything to go by, even by Tarantino's blood-curdling
standards the film looks likely to be a stomach-churner. Apart
from baseball-bat bashing and skin engravings, we see one
German officer being shot in the testicles, as well as scalps
being peeled "like a banana skin" from others.
The pulp fiction treatment is even given to the killing of
a Jewish family being harboured by a French dairy farmer,
who are machine-gunned to death through the floorboards of
their hiding place.
"This is pop culture meets Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
with an unprecedented force," wrote the film critic of
the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tobias Kniebe, in an attempt to sum
up the explosive effect the film is likely to have in Germany.
The trouble is that little distinction is made between Nazi
and German, ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers or SS officers, to
the extent that if the script is anything to go by, there
is no such thing as a good German and all of them have to
die. The final scene shows Hitler
trapped in an exploding cinema in Paris.
There was speculation last night that Tarantino was attempting
to upstage Tom Cruise's controversial film Valkyrie, which
tells the true story of the German count who attempted to
. The film has been pilloried long before its expected
release in February.
Other: WWII News
Copyright © Kate Connolly in Berlin.
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