Inglourious Basterds and the Immortality of Revenge Cinema

David Crow Aug 22, 2019

We examine the wrathful movie magic of Inglourious Basterds' ending, and why Quentin Tarantino and Shosanna went there.

Some audiences were baffled in 2009 when the fifth chapter of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds began. Whereas other sections of the film were either cordoned off under titles like “Once Upon a Time… in Nazi Occupied France” or the name of the movie itself, what could the whimsical “Revenge of the Giant Face” possibly signify? The meaning became self-evident by the time Shosanna’s (Mélanie Laurent) visage cackled with delight from a burning movie screen, and the High Command of the Third Reich was beckoned into Hell. In a dazzling rewrite of history, Tarantino’s fictional characters, including both the titular “Inglourious Basterds” and Shosanna’s giant projected face, defy reality and end World War II in a gruesome climax of bloodlust and Old Testament wrath. The lingering
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