Academy Award Nominated ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Special Screening for Museum of Tolerance and Simon Wiesenthal Center

The iconoclastic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino joined a panel Thursday night led by Rabbi Abraham Cooper that featured the honorable Rabbi Marvin Hier, producer Lawrence Bender, media entrepreneur Dan Adler, and actor Eli Roth in a special community event at the Museum of Tolerance, part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The night opened with a screening of “Inglourious Basterds,” nominated on Tuesday morning for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The room was filled with more than 300 attendants, a number of them identified themselves as survivors of the Holocaust and children of survivors, and were immensely pleased by the film’s fantastical journey back to Nazi occupied France in WWII. Rabbi Cooper addressed the film’s growing cultural significance and the symbolic notion of justice that it brings to moviegoers: “This fantasy film allows you a few moments to live in the ‘what if’ and to ponder because in day to day life, we do NOT have that privilege.” Rabbi Hier added to the fact that historical accuracy is not a negative factor to the film, but gives audiences a sense of release and satisfaction.

“The original concept was an adventure movie,” Tarantino explained, as he stated that many adventure stories took place during WWII. Even though he noted that the film was not made for a higher purpose, there was no doubt that the actual outcome of the film has impacted not only the audiences, but the members behind the production as well. Bender highlighted, “I really felt like I reconnected with my Judaism in a way that I had never experienced before in my life” and explained how audience’s reactions have been extremely positive which has made the film worth it.

In a town hall format, many members of the audience engaged the panel with questions. One member of the audience noted that “Only a Non-Jew could have made this film because you don’t have the fears or hesitations that Jews live with every day…and THANK YOU.” By the end of the night, the consensus ruled that what the film does best, “is spark up discussion, and that’s what is most important,” added Roth.


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