Israelis Approve of Inglourious Basterds

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Quentin Tarantino's Nazi-killing extravaganza finally hit Israeli theaters this week. Aside from Germany (where giddy critics went overboard with praise after the film's debut there), Israel was Tarantino's ultimate barometer to gauge whether he could get away with bringing spaghetti-Western justice to Nazis. When I interviewed Tarantino about the film over the summer, we discussed my ambivalence about how liberal Israelis, who deal with issues of power and aggression on a daily basis, would take to the film. Judging from the audience's reaction at the film's Israeli premiere, I was wrong. Tarantino, shouting the same pre-movie pep talk that he's used to introduce Inglourious Basterds at other theaters, earned wild applause and cheers from his first ever Israeli critics:

I've been looking forward for the past few movies to coming to Israel, and I figured this might be the movie to do it with. ... You guys just made me feel really welcome and I just thank you from the bottom of my heart [applause and whistling]. And I'm very looking forward to seeing the movie with an Israeli audience. ... Try not to throw tomatoes ... So are you guys ready to kill some Nazis? [loud cheers, 'yeahs!'] Are you ready to fuck up some Nazis? [louder applause] Let's get this motherfucker started! [audience goes wild]. 
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