Tough Jews in cinema
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( Francois Duhamel / Weinstein Co. )
By Rachel Abramowitz
Forget Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen, the platoon of comic Jewish schlemiels and urban neurotics. This summer's "Inglourious Basterds" reminds moviegoers of the cinematic tradition of butt-kicking Jews.
The Quentin Tarantino spaghetti-WWII flick features an elite band of butt-kicking Jewish American commandos who tear through occupied France, scalping Nazis and carving swastikas into the survivor's foreheads. The most bloodthirsty? Staff Sgt. Donnie Darkowitz, a.k.a. "The Bear Jew," who delights in battering Nazis with his baseball bat and is played by horror director Eli Roth, who crowed to the crowds at the Cannes Film Festival that Tarantino's fantasy about Jewish revenge is "kosher porn. It's something I dreamed since I was a kid." The film also features one of the toughest Jewesses on screen, a cinema owner who orchestrates her own revenge on the Fuhrer and the German high command, complete with the mocking public admonition that "This is the face of Jewish vengeance."
Here are some of "Inglourious Basterds' " cinematic antecedents.