Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited action flick (2009) isn't a World War II movie—it's a movie about World War II movies and, by extension, how the Third Reich has become a beloved fixture of American pop culture. One story line riffs on The Dirty Dozen
and its ilk, with Brad Pitt as a Tennessee cracker leading a squad of Jewish-American badasses on a search-and-destroy mission through Nazi-occupied France. The other stars Melanie Laurent as the secretly Jewish proprietor of a Parisian movie palace who's plotting to incinerate the German high command at the premiere screening of a Nazi propaganda epic. Tarantino has already caught some flack for daring to use the Holocaust as material for another of his bloody live-action cartoons, but of course the generation that experienced it for real has mostly faded away. In that sense Inglourious Basterds
is a social marker as startling as Easy Rider
was in its day.
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In North Face, a new German drama about an old expedition, the heroes are no blue-eyed supermen.