Cinecast Episode 136 – We have a Bingo!

Episode 136:
Jay Cheel (Film Junk/The Documentary Blog) joins the boys today for a good dissection (and an inordinate amount of time spent) on the cinema of our old friend Quentin Tarantino and his latest flick, Inglourious Basterds. Note *MAJOR SPOILERS* in the 80 minute discussion. Toronto After Dark wrap-ups with talk of Nazi Zombies (Dead Snow), Romanian vampires (Strigoi) and blood sucking babies (Grace). And Jay digs through the multitude of hours spent watching BluRay to talk documentaries, grindhouse and a little Jacques Tati. DVD picks, ‘sleepy’ Gamble, Acid spurting ‘Zompires’ (‘Vombies?’), and a Political-Romantic-Comedy-Rockumentary (Kurt’s new favourite ‘genre’ (in big air-quotes), consisting of only one indie Japanese film!) on this epic length show… and there might even be the patented Jay Cheel sing-a-long bit.

Thanks for listening!

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COVERED IN TODAY’S SHOW:
Inglourious Basterds until 1:24:20 (Kurt’s review)

Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Strigoi (Kurt’s review)
Grace (Kurt’s review)
Død Snø

JAY:
Our Daily Bread
Murder on a Sunday Morning
The Losers
Spring Break
Trafic

MORE:
The Mutant
Imaginarium of Dr. Pernassus
The New God (Kurt’s Review)

DVD picks:
Matt: Adventureland (Andrew’s review)
Kurt: Trouble the Water
Jay: Trouble the Water
Andrew: Sunshine Cleaning (Andrew’s review)
BLU RAY: Screwballs and Fire & Ice

Other DVDs available:
Rudo y Cursi
Last Days of Disco (Criterion)
Duplicity

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rot
Guest

*******Inglourious Basterds Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

I haven't listened to this podcast or any podcast discussing the minutiae of IB, so I am expecting there is some revelation awaiting me, but one thing that did bother me about IB was the arc of Col. Landa. I know Jay said in the other thread he found it fascinating, but to me it felt incredibly contrived, I mean more so than the usual (I expect things to be somewhat contrived in a film like this) but it fundamentally made no sense whatsoever. Here you have someone we are told is the greatest detective of human behavior, we see it with the Jews, we see it with Diane Kruger's character, and he claims to know SOOOO much about the Basterds, he knows everything they will do… he knows how indiscriminately they kill Nazis, that they mutilate them, scalp them, that clearly this enemy is not one who is all that interested in strategic advantage but relishing in the murder and mayhem they ensue. And you decide to take them at their word you will go unharmed?

This to me is Tarantino forcing a punchline at the risk of undermining his characters, and this is a fault I find a lot with him, and why I say he often is paying only lip service to the themes he superficially explores, because a character is being pulled along by the clever conceits of his story (and stylistic choices) more than they are embodying anything dimensional to suggest real human situations. Jay mentions the ideas of what it is like for average people to become soldiers and then return to civilization, that that is fascinating, well when rendered as stick figures, not really, at least not to me. When the character has a sense of autonomy and dimension like in the Hurt Locker, I would say yeah, there is something to chew on there.

Hans Landa is well played, but he feels only like a Tarantino puppet to me, and that he would be so smart and do something so stupid just shows that for Tarantino being clever is more important than being insightful. That said, I loved the punchline this detour provided. I was entertained.

rot
Guest

*******Inglourious Basterds Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

I guess what I am saying is in any other situation outside of a farce, would a person actually willingly put themselves in the protection of people who slaughter their kind for fun, and not under pressure mind you, but arbitrarily?

I expect a megalomania defense which, if that is the case, makes Landa as authentic a character as Daffy Duck.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

The allies had landed, Landa could likely see the end of the war coming. This was a big chance, and he banked on the fact that the Basterds superiors were in control.

Also, Landa likely does get away in the end, Raine wasn't killing him, merely branding him. I'm sure something could be done about the brand. I'm not sure if he got that property in nantucket though.

Either way, the film if a bit of a fantasy, so this detail is not really crucial to anything, albeit I can see why it would not play well to someone who didn't dig the film

Mike Rot
Member

you caught the film twice, so maybe you caught those indications in the film where I missed them… did they stress anywhere in the film that the pressure was on and the nazi regime was weakening? all I remember is them being pestered by the Basterds and reveling in the propaganda, eating in luxurious restaurants, enjoying the good life.

and I could buy the argument that a nazi may expect everyone else to behave like a nazi and follow the line of command, I just wish that was emphasized as part of Landa's character, it would have made this drastic breech in logic that more easier to accept.

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Whoa, the cast is almost 3 hrs!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I'd say that yea, for Inglourious Basterds (as will all films by Q. Tarantino, Richard Linklater, The Coens and Wes Anderson) a second viewing is mandatory. (There is a lot more going on in these movies than just 'plotting' and 'narrative')

Mike Rot
Member

I will probably catch it again, although I still need to see District 9

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Totally agree with Kurt on Strigoi and Grace – they were complete stand outs at Toronto After Dark this year.

Dead Snow is Norwegian 🙂

Mike Rot
Member

*******Inglourious Basterds Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

*******Spoilers**********

again, my memory might be faulty on this point, but what reasoning was behind him volunteering to surrender to the custody of the Basterds as part of this deal? He was making the terms, he is a clever guy, he knows how barbaric the Basterds are, but he goes unarmed into their custody?

Matt Gamble
Guest

He would have been considered a POW, and it is standard procedure that he would be taken into custody. Besides the mention about D-Day already occuring, Pitt says early on that they are going in first before the invasion happens, basically acting as a diversion. Just knowing the date would let you know that the Afrika Corps has been defeated, that the invasion of Russia has failed and Germany was basically scrambling to survive,

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

That Germany was scrambling to survive….hence the morale booster by plopping out "Nations Pride" into the German cinemas, both in Germany and in conquered Europe.

Mike Rot
Member

neither of those comments answer my question about why the person making the terms of the deal (Landa undoubtedly had the upperhand) would go unarmed into the Basterds custody… who CLEARLY had no interest in procedure, lest scalping was in the handbook.

Jay C.
Guest

"the Basterds custody… who CLEARLY had no interest in procedure, lest scalping was in the handbook."

Are you assuming that commanding officers were unaware of the Basterds activities? I look at the Basterds as a strategy rather than a uncontrollable team of insubordinates. The point was striking fear into the hearts of Nazi's. I don't think they would be on that mission if they weren't assigned to it. Thus, I don't think they would go over the heads of their commanding officers if their actions resulted in anything beyond being 'chewed out'.

If Landa hadn't spoken directly to the Basterds commanding officer, I would've questioned his trust. But as officers, I think the actions simply fall under the rules of war, even if both sides have very different ideas of what those rules are.

Matt Gamble
Guest

neither of those comments answer my question about why the person making the terms of the deal (Landa undoubtedly had the upperhand) would go unarmed into the Basterds custody

Lets try this again.

He would have been considered a POW, and it is standard procedure that he would be taken into custody. Prisoners are not allowed to be armed, and he would have had to surrender to be put under Allied protection. They wouldn't allow a high ranking Nazi to simply waltz through their lines armed. Landa would know this is procedure, so he would have no qualms about following it.

And an even simpler answer to your question would be that while Landa could think like a rat, he obviously couldn't think like a Basterd.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

"And an even simpler answer to your question would be that while Landa could think like a rat, he obviously couldn’t think like a Basterd."

Ha! Gamble for the Win!

Mike Rot
Member

"Are you assuming that commanding officers were unaware of the Basterds activities? "

not really, that's incidental, what I am saying is Landa KNOWS how they behave and that if there was this gentlemanly agreement on paper, using his wits he would easily know that the company he was with were not going to abide by the rules. put it in the first person, if you knew what he knew about the Basterds, about what they do, and you had the upperhand, and could kill the Basterds or kill Hitler, and nothing Harvey Keitel on the other end of the phone can change that position of power, would you voluntarily disarm yourself and allow yourself to be in the custody of these people?

"They wouldn’t allow a high ranking Nazi to simply waltz through their lines armed."

really, if that high ranking Nazi promised the execution of Hitler I think they would allow him to sodomize anyone he wanted… a lone soldier coming into the ranks with a weapon is seriously that big of a threat? come on. He would voluntarily disarm before the Basterd's superior officer.

Mike Rot
Member

he obviously couldn’t think like a Basterd because the story required it.

Matt Gamble
Guest

a lone soldier coming into the ranks with a weapon is seriously that big of a threat?

So you think a high ranking Nazi would be allowed to ride bitch through the country he raped and pillaged all so he could give his knife to the Allied commander 300 miles away. Should Raine hold his dick for him too while he pisses?

Mike Rot
Member

to guarantee the execution of the highest ranking Nazis and ensure an end to the war (remember that was solely Landa's discretion then), uh, absolutely.

you act as if the Americans had any leverage on the situation. Either the Basterds are executed, and the operation fails, the war continues, more people die, or you accept any conditions Landa makes.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I think deep down Landa did want to 'be american' and did want to develop some level of Camaderie with Aldo. This is somewhat accomplished with the american sayings (Shoe's on the other foot, BINGO, etc.) and overall mutual respect feels he put out for Raine. (As in "Would you show me mercy if the positions were reversed?")

I actually think that may have been an honest error of judgement on Landa's part, a calculated gamble. It's not a dealbreaker by a long shot, and really, that ending is fabulous….And forgivable if the filmmaker bent the narrative logic a little to get there.

Mike Rot
Member

fair enough, not a deal breaker for me either, but it was awkward.

Matt Gamble
Guest

to guarantee the execution of the highest ranking Nazis and ensure an end to the war (remember that was solely Landa’s discretion then), uh, absolutely

Hess and Himmler both tried to broker peace with Allied forces, and Hess was thrown in jail for the remainder of his life while Himmler (who was the head of the SS and controlled nearly 3 million troops) was hunted in Germany for his treachery. When he finally did surrender to the Allies, Himmler commited suicide before he could be interogated. Himmler was negotiating with the Allies as early as the winter of 1944, which would have ended the war months in advance, and would put it on a similar timetable to Landa's deal in IB.

So while in real life Himmler was strung along for over 6 months and was not going to be given asylum for ending the war early, you seem to think not only should Landa have been given everything on a silver plate, but that he would have simply cruised through France with not a care in the world or the slightest bit of risk from any remaining German forces or any Allied forces that might not know otherwise.

Your argument is that putting a prisoner in irons, which is standard for ALL prisoners during transport, is simply ridiculous and would never happen. Yet handing a known mass murderer the keys to the White House to sodmize Eisnhower's puppy is totally keen in your estimation.

You are arguing from a point of ignorance rot. Please stop.

rot
Guest

right ignorance, I tend to forget what passes for intelligence on this side of the geek looking glass.

"Your argument is that putting a prisoner in irons, which is standard for ALL prisoners during transport, is simply ridiculous and would never happen."

and the commanding officer on call that day who denies the request of the person offering up the entire war on a platter, because its the rules that he be handcuffed, and Landa can't possibly keep the Basterds at gunpoint until he makes it to his superiors, well he deserves a medal.

remind me when Himmler had a detonation device under Hitler's ass again in your encyclopedic knowledge of all things useless?

rot
Guest

I ask for lateral thinking and instead get a book report, and I am the academic.

rot
Guest

and BTW you're not really helping out explain WHY then Landa would agree to the terms, I was never asking WHY the Basterds did what they did, or even WHY the Americans may condone it… the question was always WHY would Landa agree to the terms when he had no need to, at no time in history was a detonation device so close to Hitler's ass, all he needed to say was "I am taking the Basterds by gunpoint to a rendezvous point, at that point I will hand them and myself over"… not ask, request, or no deal.

by your logic that commanding officer would say "no"?

I can accept Kurt's take, maybe another viewing that will resonate more.

rot
Guest

"You didn’t like the movie. Fine."

I feel like I am in an Abbott and Costello routine.

for probably the twentieth time of me saying this, I did like the movie, I would go even so far as to say I loved the movie.

rot
Guest

but forgive me for discussing a point of the movie, again I haven't listened to the podcast but in three hours I'm thinking you go into the minutiae of the film. What Landa does is a huge plot point, why he does it is kind of a big deal, not a nitpick, but a resolution of his character arc.

but actually Andrew, I am in total agreement with you, its JUST a movie.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yea, what Rot said. Minutae is fun. I'm writing Andrew's "Would everyone please shut up about trivialities" as a 2am drunken-fit. Without Trivialities, most movie websites wouldn't have a purpose! 🙂

rot
Guest

is it just me or is the streaming of the podcast sounding like chipmunks? tried it on Chrome and Firefox, same problem.

rot
Guest

Andrew, are you still drunk?

Not that I am looking for an answer further to this now (Kurt gave one), but just because I do not want to be characterized as the guy quibbling over what kind of beer they had in the pub, follow what I am ACTUALLY saying….

Hans Landa has a character arc that others here have said is quite, if not profound, than thought-provoking. The 'deal' he makes at the end is ultimately the MacGuffin for the final climatic end, his decisions when sitting with Aldo cause the Allied victory of the war, cause the release of the Basterds, cause some pretty great visual bravado and cause the witty punchline at the end. In fact outside of maybe the killing of Shoshana's family in the opening scene, that bit of dialogue between Aldo and Landa is probably the most significant narrative component of the whole film. I am NOT looking for some great profound truth in it, I am not asking what kind of handcuffs he is wearing, what I am asking is why, considering what we know about Landa in the story, and what we know he knows about the Basterds, would he set the terms so poorly so as to allow himself to be disarmed by characters who actually have a piece of dialogue in the film that says "we are not in the prisoner business, we are in the nazi killing business"???

Equate this to your criticisms of the main characters in Vacancy, I remember you saying how stupid their decisions were, that they were not acting true to a kind of base logic of how people in those circumstances would act. And in fact this happens a lot in genre, but going on the premise that this is more than just a movie (a premise I don't hold) and that there are interesting things to learn about Landa's narrative arc, all I am asking is why did he act so stupidly?

Kurt's answer does hold some validity, but I still think ultimately it was a convenient way for Tarantino to do something clever, and this is a common criticism I have for a lot of his films and his use of characters, they are often stunted by whatever cool shit he wants to play with narratively or stylistically. Not always, but a lot of times.

rot
Guest

still sounding like chipmunks, on firefox and chrome when listening to the streaming version.

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