Quentin Tarantino, the master of bloodbath cinema, is to give his trademark comic-book treatment to the Nazis and World War II in a film that has stirred controversy even before production has begun.
Shooting on the film, which has the working title Inglorious Bastards and which Tarantino has described as an ”in-your-face movie”, is due to start in the Potsdam Babelsberg studios west of Berlin on October 13.
But the film project by the United States director of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, which is a remake of a 1970s war film by Enzo Castellaris, has already created a furious response from German critics. One said the effects of the ”collision” between pulp fiction and Nazi barbarity were ”completely unpredictable”.
The film depicts scalpings, disembowelment and swastikas being engraved in foreheads as a group of American Jewish soldiers are airdropped into Nazi-occupied Europe to wreak revenge on the Germans.
Film buffs were on Thursday poring over what appeared to be the Tarantino script of the film, which has apparently been leaked and posted on several internet sites. Although film experts said the 167 page ”final draft” had Tarantino’s handprint all over it — including his wobbly handwriting, spelling mistakes (Inglourious Basterds) and grammatical errors — it had not been confirmed as genuine by Thursday night. There was speculation that it might have been released as a publicity stunt.
What has been confirmed is that Brad Pitt is to play the starring role — Lieutenant Aldo Raine — ”known to the Germans as Apache Aldo … a hillbilly from the mountains of Tennessee”, who leads the group of Nazi-hunters.
Early in the film, he tells potential recruits: ”I’m putting me together a special team … and I need me … eight — Jewish — American — soldiers … as a bushwackin’ guerrilla army, we’re gonna be doing one thing and one thing only, killin’ Nazis.”
He adds: ”We will be cruel to the Germans and through our cruelty, they will know who we are,” ordering his troops to ”git me 100 Nazi scalps”.
One of the group, known as ”Bear Jew”, has a reputation for ”bashing Germans’ brains in with a baseball bat”. He features in at least one scene.
Other stars believed to have been signed up — or up for consideration who have flown to Berlin over the past fortnight to meet Tarantino — include Nastassja Kinski, Leonardo diCaprio and the German film stars Daniel BrÃ¼hl and Til Schweiger.
If the script is anything to go by, even by Tarantino’s blood-curdling standards the film looks likely to be a stomach-churner. Apart from baseball-bat bashing and skin engravings, we see one German officer being shot in the testicles, as well as scalps being peeled ”like a banana skin” from others.
The pulp-fiction treatment is even given to the killing of a Jewish family being harboured by a French dairy farmer, who are machine-gunned to death through the floorboards of their hiding place.
”This is pop culture meets Nazi Germany and the Holocaust with an unprecedented force,” wrote the film critic of the SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung, Tobias Kniebe, in an attempt to sum up the explosive effect the film is likely to have in Germany.
The trouble is that little distinction is made between Nazi and German, ordinary Wehrmacht soldiers or SS officers, to the extent that if the script is anything to go by, there is no such thing as a good German and all of them have to die. The final scene shows Hitler trapped in an exploding cinema in Paris.
There was speculation on Thursday night that Tarantino was attempting to upstage Tom Cruise’s controversial film Valkyrie, which tells the true story of the German count who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. The film has been pilloried long before its expected release in February. — guardian.co.uk