By Utpal Borpujari in Cannes
A sweeping, fast-paced, multi-lingual Second World War epic by Quentin Tarantino, the king of blood ‘n’ gore from Hollywood, with a fantastical scene showing Adolf Hitler and his propaganda chief Goebbels shot in a Paris movie theatre, took the 62nd Cannes Film Festival by storm on Wednesday.
“Inglourious Basterds”, with a multi-national cast led by superstar Brad Pitt that speaks in their own mother tongues (English/German/French), was immediately described as a modern masterpiece by the great director who had won the top Palme d’Or for his cult film “Pulp Fiction”.
The director, who did not agree with the suggestion that it is a “Jewish revenge fantasy”, said while it was just a fantasy, it suggests how the power of cinema could be a weapon to end horrors like the Third Reich.
Highly-anticipated, the film was completed at a furious pace by Tarantino so that he could get it screened at the Cannes festival, and the wild reception to it – even if that has got to do with the presence of Tarantino and Pitt – would surely make it as one of the highpoints of this year’s Competition along with Lars von Trier shocking “Antichrist” and Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet”.
With a powerhouse cast, comprising Christoph Waltz who outshines everyone with his portrayal of a multi-lingual and crafty Gestapo intelligence officer, Melanie Laurent as a young Jewish cinema owner in Paris seeking revenge of the Germans for the massacre of her family, Diane Kruger as a German actress who wants the Third Reich to come down, and Daniel Bruhl as a cinema-loving German soldier, the film is divided into fast-paced chapters.
Tarantino’s expertise in showing gore without making it seem repellent as in full exhibition in this film, and the thriller mode with the Jewish holocaust as the backdrop, is expected to make this film a worldwide Box Office favourite, putting it at par with his earlier films like “Pulp Fiction”, “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill”.
Tarantino, is his ever-effervescent talkative mood, said he had used in the grand finale the power of cinema as a metaphor to destroy evils like the Third Reich.
He described the film’s great finale as an indicator of the power of cinema being used as a metaphor, that’s going to bring down the Third Reich. I first thought she would start the fire.
“My characters did not exist, but if they had existed, may be the outcome of the war could have been settled in a cinema theatre,” he said.
Tarantino wanted the film to premiere at Cannes. “That was always a dream. For me, there is no place like Cannes for a filmmaker. Cinema Olympics, Cinema Nirvana, whatever you call, yes it is. And here cinema matters, and that’s important. All the film friends on planet earth are here. And I make movies for the planet earth, not for America.”