I do love a nice feminist review…

(On a side note, why is it that all my titles end in “…”?)

Now I rarely read Pandagon any more for various reasons, but Amanda Marcotte has a wonderful review of Inglourious Basterds, one of the better film’s I’ve seen lately. I’m a sucker for Tarantino (Kill Bill is almost single-handedly responsible for my decision to go to film school), and a sucker for feminist film reviews, so I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite points…

Tarantino uses the vehicle of a war movie to dismantle the rom com trope of the persistent Nice Guy® suitor who wears down a woman’s resistance by not going away.  In most movies, we’re supposed to see the annoying guy who hangs around and does you favors as adorable, and cheer when the heroine warms to him.  In this movie, the guy who won’t take no for an answer is a Nazi, a violent prick, and a rape threat….What’s so refreshing about this movie is that it’s a big raspberry blown to self-important WWII flicks, particularly Saving Private Ryan, which trotted out every cliche from WWII movies that I can think of without even a hint of self-awareness.  Tarantino is rightfully bored with that.  The Basterds, for instance, aren’t a scrappy group of men, each representing a different subculture or ethnic enclave in America.  They’re all Jewish, except Pitt’s character.  They’re all insanely tough and angry and more interested in kicking ass than learning lessons about themselves and what it means to be a man.  In general, none of the characters take the opportunity of the war to learn and grow as people.  And because of this, it makes you think about how fucked up it really kind of is that most war movies do wallow in the bizarre idea that we should applaud these people learning about themselves in the context of war.  We get nothing about how Americans really came into their own as a benefit of this war.

On the other hand, Grrrl on Film has some criticism to make of (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!) the way the female characters’ deaths were shot:

It’s choreographed and lingering and upsetting. Yes, violence is done to men here too, but even the graphic head-bashing was shot in wide-angle, not close-up. Heads are held down while being scalped and we don’t see the victim’s eyes. A close-quartered fire-fight is shot so quickly it’s difficult to see who got shot where. Were the women given the most emotional, drawn-out deaths because they were the most heroic characters and our suffering at their loss was some twisted way of honoring them? I’m not so concerned with the level of violence, what bothers me is how differently it was filmed with Shoshanna and Bridget and with the overdone destruction at the end

So yeah, I pretty much agree with both of them. The film, by the way, is well worth a watch…


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