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Inglorious Bastards

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Don't you see it's got nothing to do with who 'deserved' what it's to do with the aesthetic - ie. separate from the moral dimension - of showing human suffering.

I deny that if you separate the moral dimension what remains can be called an aesthetic sense. Amoral aesthetics is a contradiction and oxymoron.

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But it's the Basterds who do all the brutality. So the film was showing the animalistic side of the Allied troops and satirizing them?

There were only a couple of scenes where the Nazis lived up to the 'animalistic' tag - the start, obviously, and then when the Jew Hunter leaps across the room and throttles the actress-spy.

We know what the Nazi's did, it was not the point of the movie to depict more of that. The Basterds were delivering retributive justice.

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Is watching a scene of a child being abused aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the child is a young Hitler?

Is watching a scene of a woman being raped aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the woman is Magda Goebbels?

Is watching a scene of someone being mutilated aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the victim is a Nazi soldier?

Is watching a scene of a crowd of people undergoing extreme psychological horror before burning to death or being mowed down by indiscriminate machine gun fire abhorrent? Even if the crowd are members of the Nazi Party?

See a pattern emerging?

Yes, I did spot a pattern. Here's another piece:

Is describing men, women, and their children being driven into a tunnel to suffocate, in a novel, aesthetically abhorrent?

Depending on the context, it is or it is not.

Where, in Objectivist aesthetics, have you read about this list of yours being aesthetically abhorrent, no matter what the context?

You mentioned, at the beginning of the thread, that praising the movie goes against Objectivist morality. You failed to connect that to anything actually contained in Rand's description of morality.

Now you're saying the film goes against Objectivist aesthetics. Connect that to things Rand actually said, or, if you can't, stop telling us what Objectivism is.

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You said it's easy and obvious. Doing something easy and obvious to become a millionaire is ludicrous?

Don't even. I never said that he caused controversy to become a millionaire. He was already a millionaire when he made this movie. I am not inside his head and can't tell you the exact motive for his desire to create controversy. But I can tell that he did desire it because the movie makes you feel sorry for at the least some of the bastards' victims and raises questions as to when sadism is "allowable". Being an Objectivist doesn't destroy basic empathy. If it did, there would be no difference between Objectivists and Nazis when it came to dealing with undesirables.

The easy way was to use Nazis. They are universally hated by people who like to make broad generalisations about an entire nation that was mesmerised into a horrible collectivist way of thinking. Buying into this hate may have its roots in good reasons, but falling for mob enticement is not my thing.

I'm more and more seeing people who just plain hate other PEOPLE and the fact that those others may be socially considered distasteful or criminal is just an excuse for the collectivists to show their true side.

Anyway... not every member of the Wehrmacht was an ardent Nazi. I didn't catch that guy's rank, the one who gets his head bashed in by that jewish sociopath with the baseball bat, but he might actually have been against nazism. We'd never know. Ironically, it seems he died for what he believed in, and that's actually commendable so QT succeeded in making a Nazi character heroic. His death reminded me of the death of that mother in "Saviour", an amazing Dennis Quaid movie about revenge that is miles above "Ignoble Bashers".

We need a movie of "We, the Living". I hear "Noi Vivvi" is hard to find on DVD.

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Don't even. I never said that he caused controversy to become a millionaire. He was already a millionaire

Facts:

This movie made millions. (more than any of his previous ones)

You said this movie was easy and obvious to make.

You said it's ludicrous to expect you to make this movie.

So I repeat the question: Why is it ludicrous? Why would you refuse all those easy millions? Make that easy and obvious movie you mentioned, buddy, and become a millionaire.

I am not inside his head and can't tell you the exact motive for his desire to create controversy. But I can tell that he did desire it...I

....'m more and more seeing people who just plain hate other PEOPLE...

You can tell what his secret desires are from outside his head? Do you use an X-ray machine?

You got it completely wrong: guessing his motives is not the psychologizing part, guessing his desires and secret hatred is. His motivation for making movies is public knowledge: he wants to make the movies he would enjoy watching, if someone else made them. And he would enjoy watching them for the same reasons his audience enjoys them: many of those reasons have been listed in this thread.

None of them include a secret desire in our heads to stirr up controversy with sadism, or a secret hatred of people, you're just psychologizing. You are mistaken.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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I never wanted to watch this movie due to the way it was advertised and because of other QT movies I've seen. The advertisements all seemed to show way over the top violence, which seems to be the standard for QT movies, especially Kill Bill. However, due to the success of the movie, I do plan on going to watch it if I can find the time, but I'm almost certain I'll be disappointed or maybe even appalled.

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I didn't catch that guy's rank, the one who gets his head bashed in by that jewish sociopath with the baseball bat, but he might actually have been against nazism. We'd never know. Ironically, it seems he died for what he believed in, and that's actually commendable so QT succeeded in making a Nazi character heroic. His death reminded me of the death of that mother in "Saviour", an amazing Dennis Quaid movie about revenge that is miles above "Ignoble Bashers".

Some advice: If you're going to speculate on the sinister motivations that resides in anybody's subconscious, you should at least avoid writing relativistic stuff like the above quote.

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Some advice: If you're going to speculate on the sinister motivations that resides in anybody's subconscious, you should at least avoid writing relativistic stuff like the above quote.

Explain, please.

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None of them include a secret desire in our heads to stirr up controversy with sadism, or a secret hatred of people, you're just psychologizing. You are mistaken.

I can't answer you anymore because you keep changing the context of what I say. I'm more interested in clarification than confrontation, but I'm also getting tired of saying "blue is blue" and getting asked why I'm saying that "blue is green".

-PKD

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Explain, please.

*Sigh*

You hint at having sympathy (even admiration) for Nazis and indifference to their atrocities while sanctimoniously lecturing us over a movie and questioning our fidelity to your perception of Objectivism.

Not saying you're a closet-Nazi or anything but this is typical troll behavior.

Edited by Mister A

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*Sigh*

You hint at having sympathy (even admiration) for Nazis and indifference to their atrocities while sanctimoniously lecturing us over a movie and questioning our fidelity to your perception of Objectivism.

Not saying you're a racist or anything but this is typical troll behavior.

I don't know that the guy who got his head bashed in was really an ardent nazi. I know that the guy who did it was a psycho. I'm also not a troll, but I have a personal context in this subject which gives me an insight others don't have.

Atrocities are atrocities no matter who performs them or why.

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Care to elaborate? Bashed in a skull yourself?

No.

Anyway, I found the actual movie boring. It opened with an amazingly well-written opening scene (stolen somewhat from Angel Eyes' visit to the farm in the beginning of "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly") and never went back to the level of quality that this opening had you expect. I disagree that the movie was "two and a half hours of mindless violence". There was mindless violence. But for the most part the movie dwelt in boring stretches of nothing much interesting going on. The characters were not very interesting, I couldn't care about them at all. The americans were ignorant brutes, the Nazis were one-dimensional, except for the Jew Hunter, he was very well acted. The sniper hero was interesting but he was a Nazi so we're not supposed to care...I did, because he seemed realistic to me, more so than the bland caricatures of the Nazi high command...Mike Myers played a British officer, a move more distracting than enhancing. I spent my time trying to figure out what got stolen from which movie, recognised Ennio Morricone themes, themes from "Un Dollaro Bucato" (great Giuliano Gemma film), "Companeros", "A Professional Gun" (both Franco Nero flicks), etc...

I don't know why but I just can't get into his characters. Kill Bill was good, but I can't say I was that interested in Kiddo. The only character I cared about in Pulp Fiction was Bruce Willis. I loved Reservoir Dogs and Deathproof was a lot of fun...so sometimes I like his work. I just wish the characters would mean something to me.

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There is a redemption in the character of Steiglitz, a former german soldier and presumably Nazi who turns on and kills Nazis on his own and so is recruited to be one of the Basterds.

Not every German soldier was a Nazi. In fact, the German army were the last part of German society to fall to the Nazis. They were controlled, at arms length, by Hitler through the executive branch of government and the paramilitary SS. The army resented this. For instance, the movie Valkyrie with Tom Cruise chronicled an assassination attempt on Hitler by German army brass; a failure that ended with the final blow the Nazis would deal to autonomous factions in German government.

On a different note, I don't agree that this movie was an exercise in sadism. First of all, the violence was not ubiquitous; more attention was given to dialogue and cinematography. This movie was an onion. The violence was as gruesome as a mouthful of chewed onion, but there certainly were layers of meaning in the presentation, and ultimately it contributed to a unified whole. Case in point:

The Nazis who took sadistic pleasure in the movie were literally killed by it, poetically falling to a pseudo-gas chamber orchestrated by a survivor of the Jew-purge.

I have two significant gripes with the movie - no character development, and the non-subtitle on-screen text/ Samuel L Jackson narration. Completely out of place. The movie wasn't great, but I enjoyed it.

Edited by FeatherFall

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Anyway... not every member of the Wehrmacht was an ardent Nazi. I didn't catch that guy's rank, the one who gets his head bashed in by that jewish sociopath with the baseball bat, but he might actually have been against nazism. We'd never know. Ironically, it seems he died for what he believed in, and that's actually commendable so QT succeeded in making a Nazi character heroic. His death reminded me of the death of that mother in "Saviour", an amazing Dennis Quaid movie about revenge that is miles above "Ignoble Bashers".

I will address this one since I actually paid attention to the movie. He was a sergeant, given an opportunity to give the Basterds information on snipers which would likely have killed the Basterds. Instead of helping after being told of his fate otherwise he insulted the Basterds and called them some form of racial slur

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- no character development

What do you mean by character development? I would like to have seen more of these characters, but none of them need to change or learn anything.

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What do you mean by character development? I would like to have seen more of these characters, but none of them need to change or learn anything.

For most of the characters, the only understanding you get about them is your initial reaction. Only the Jew Hunter had any depth. At first I thought he was a Nazi. As the movie progressed, it seemed to be that he was not a Nazi at all, but only cared about his job more than anything else, immoral or not. Maybe that's the point. That mindless violence in the sense of the Basterds is truly mindless. It isn't evil, it isn't sinister. You can't say any of the Basterds were intelligent though, so their violence was ultimately fruitless. Operation Kino wasn't even their own plan, as I recall. Beyond the Jew Hunter and the whole chapter on the Basterds (2, I think), I don't think the movie was good.

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For most of the characters, the only understanding you get about them is your initial reaction. Only the Jew Hunter had any depth. At first I thought he was a Nazi. As the movie progressed, it seemed to be that he was not a Nazi at all, but only cared about his job more than anything else, immoral or not. Maybe that's the point. That mindless violence in the sense of the Basterds is truly mindless. It isn't evil, it isn't sinister. You can't say any of the Basterds were intelligent though, so their violence was ultimately fruitless. Operation Kino wasn't even their own plan, as I recall. Beyond the Jew Hunter and the whole chapter on the Basterds (2, I think), I don't think the movie was good.

I've been thinking about the lack of character development in IB for a bit now, and I think the vagueness was 100% intentional -- take the build of first scene for example, when Hans Landa promises not to harass the farm family, provided that they forfeit the Jews. Did he keep his promise? We don't actually know. There are many other examples of this throughout the film. It's just classic Tarantino nonchalance. Essentially, saying that there was not enough character development is saying that you don't like Tarantino films.

That being said, I've never really been a fan.

Edited by Georgia

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I (obviously) don't consider the train wreck chapter in Atlas Shrugged to be sadistic or comparable to Inglourious Basterds. Rand did not portray an act of cruelty, and she did not dwell on the suffering (eg. describe horrible feelings of suffocation or laceration or burning), and the event was presented as a disaster not a triumph. She wrote about a bunch of people whose lack of care (disregard for reality) had reached the inevitable disaster and cost their own lives. There was a valuable lesson for the reader.

I don't see what's valuable about depicting gruesome death and presenting it as a triumph... unless you just enjoy watching gruesome cruelty. (it's not necessary for merely showing the defeat of Nazism)

Rand talks briefly in an lecture/interview 'Favourites in Art' about how the philosophy is one thing, and the successful aesthetic presentation of the philosophy is another thing, and she also praises Beethoven's aesthetic craftmanship while condemning his 'malevolent world view.' I admit this does not establish the separation of morality and aesthetics with perfect clarity, nor could I find any passage of hers condemning the depiction of suffering for positive entertainment. But personally I don't see why Objectivist principles would support this sort of art, as I cannot detect the good in what's being presented. And it just wreaks of finding an excuse (the Nazis) to show sadism, with no real admirable purpose.

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I admit this does not establish the separation of morality and aesthetics with perfect clarity, nor could I find any passage of hers condemning the depiction of suffering for positive entertainment. But personally I don't see why Objectivist principles would support this sort of art, as I cannot detect the good in what's being presented. And it just wreaks of finding an excuse (the Nazis) to show sadism, with no real admirable purpose.

No, looking for something in Rand's writings to confirm your preconceived notions of Objectivism wreaks of you not knowing what you're talking about. A week and five pages ago you declared that everyone praising Inglourious Basterds is immoral, then you listed a numer of things that are supposedly aesthetically abhorrent, including any scenes depicting child-abuse, rape, mutilation and a crowd undergoing psychological horror, in any context, even if they were Nazis.

And after having searched for something in Objectivism to confirm all this, the best you can come up with is assumptions about the filmmaker's hidden intentions to show sadism.

I (obviously) don't consider the train wreck chapter in Atlas Shrugged to be sadistic or comparable to Inglourious Basterds.

No one thought you would. But it is comparable to that list you posted and I was quoting. You declared, unequivocally, that depicting every single item on that list is aesthetically abhorrent. At least two items on that list, the death of children and psychological horror of a crowd, were depicted in the AS scene.

Here's your list, let me quote it again. Note the obvious denial of the importance of context:

Is watching a scene of a child being abused aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the child is a young Hitler?

Is watching a scene of a woman being raped aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the woman is Magda Goebbels?

Is watching a scene of someone being mutilated aesthetically abhorrent? Even if the victim is a Nazi soldier?

Is watching a scene of a crowd of people undergoing extreme psychological horror before burning to death or being mowed down by indiscriminate machine gun fire abhorrent? Even if the crowd are members of the Nazi Party?

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You miss the obvious point that the artist may wish, at times, to abhor the audience with aesthetic effects. The question is what is the ultimate end of this decision.

Inglourious Basterds does not show cruelty/brutality/horror to abhor, it shows it to delight. That is bad enough - the ultimate end of this decision is yet more concerning.

You also miss the very obvious point that plot events are different from aesthetic depictions, whether by camera or by pen. Ford Maddox Ford's novel The Good Soldier features rape as a plot event - but no prose is expended depicting the act - and if the author had chosen to write long, reveling descriptions of the rapes one would have to question this decision.

I could be more pedantic and look for Rand quotes to back up my interpretation of Inglourious Basterds but it's of no especial consequence to me whether Rand said something or not - the core values of Objectivism are of especial consequence to me and I don't see how they justify anything in this film. Showing human suffering and cruelty for kicks... nope, can't think of much more anti-man than that.

I'm guessing you probably would probably enjoy watching a rape scene if it was a Nazi woman, huh. After all, what value is greater than justice? :)

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I'm also not a troll, but I have a personal context in this subject which gives me an insight others don't have.

Is this an arugment from authority or what? How is your "personal context" supposed to be meaningful to anyone beyond the evaluation of the presentation of your position on it's own merit?

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Absolutely fantastic movie. Made me smile at all the right places. My only disappointment was with regard to the Good characters being a little dim-witted. This is surely a movie most O'ists should appreciate. Justice is served with a side order of

scalps

.

The above post is nearly as sickening as this movie.

IB was well made, well acted, funny, I agree with all of this. This however should not detract from the seriousness of the film's moral failings. I agree with the following review completely (bold mine).

http://www.newsweek.com/2009/08/13/inglourious-basterds-when-jews-attack.html

In Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino indulges this taste for vengeful violence by—well, by turning Jews into Nazis. In history, Jews were repeatedly herded into buildings and burned alive (a barbarism on which the plot of another recent film, The Reader, hangs); in Inglourious Basterds, it's the Jews who orchestrate this horror. In history, the Nazis and their local collaborators made sport of human suffering; here, it's the Jews who take whacks at Nazi skulls with baseball bats, complete with mock sports-announcer commentary, turning murder into a parodic "game." And in history, Nazis carved Stars of David into the chests of rabbis before killing them; here, the "basterds" carve swastikas into the foreheads of those victims whom they leave alive.

Tarantino, the master of the obsessively paced revenge flick, invites his audiences to applaud this odd inversion—to take, as his films often invite them to take, a deep, emotional satisfaction in turning the tables on the bad guys. ("The Germans will be sickened by us," Raine tells his corps of Jewish savages early on.) But these bad guys were real, this history was real, and the feelings we have about them and what they did are real and have real-world consequences and implications. Do you really want audiences cheering for a revenge that turns Jews into carboncopies of Nazis, that makes Jews into "sickening" perpetrators? I'm not so sure. An alternative, and morally superior, form of "revenge" for Jews would be to do precisely what Jews have been doing since World War II ended: that is, to preserve and perpetuate the memory of the destruction that was visited upon them, precisely in order to help prevent the recurrence of such mass horrors in the future. Never again, the refrain goes. The emotions that Tarantino's new film evokes are precisely what lurk beneath the possibility that "again" will happen.

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