Eli Roth Excels at Propaganda
If the ‘Inglourious Basterds’ star may say so himself
Eli Roth, the filmmaker behind the Hostel franchise, spoke to The Onion’s A.V. Club about his role in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Inglourious Basterds—as The Bear Jew, an American Nazi-killer—and about directing the film-within-the-film, called Nation’s Pride, a recreation of Nazi propaganda. Although he acts with “murderous rage,” smashing people’s heads in with baseball bats, says Roth of The Bear, “he’s not someone who would do that to anyone other than the Nazis. He’s not a bully.” More like a vigilante: “He can’t take it that all these Jews are being murdered, and no one’s doing anything about it. It took a long time for the U.S. to get involved in the war, and it drove him crazy that Jews were being exterminated, and no one was fighting it.”
In a way, creating Nation’s Pride, the faux-propaganda mini-film, offered Roth his own chance at renegade justice. He says of Tarantino, “it was perfect that he had the Jewish guy do it, because I knew that the more authentic the movie was, the more ridiculous it would make Hitler and Goebbels look. So I was saying, ‘More swastikas, more swastikas.’” And while he wasn’t quite prepared for the feeling he would get after having birthed such a monstrosity (“the first time we showed it to the audience with 300 extras, when they started screaming ‘Heil Hitler’ and ‘Kill the Jews,’ my stomach turned”), like the horror-directing pro he is, Roth quickly assuaged his nausea with self-congratulation: “You know what? I would have been a great Nazi propaganda filmmaker.”
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