Revenge Of Shosanna In Inglorious Basterds

The opening sequence of the film delineates the slaughtering of Shosanna’s family by the hands of Hans Landa with only Shosanna escaping. When the opportunity conveniently rises, she resolves to avenge her family by burning down the Nazi-filled cinema during the premiere of the propaganda film, Nation’s Pride. Shosanna is a prime example of a character driven by revenge. Shosanna’s revenge on the Nazis is the sole factor that guides her actions.

Three years go by after the prosecution of Shosanna’s family and to redefine herself, she changes her appearance and gives herself a new name of Emmanuelle Mimieux. 

Shosanna’s first plan of action goes into play when she plots with Marcel, the projectionist to set the Nazi-filled cinema ablaze on the night of the premiere. The majority of her plan required Marcel to lock the cinema doors and then go backstage and set off the nitrate film canisters behind the screen, trapping the high ranking Nazis and burning them to death.

Furthermore to her plan, Shosanna tells Marcel that she wants to replace one of Frederick Zoller's dialogue scenes with her message of vengeance. The scene where David Bowie’s, “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” is played in the background during the montage of Shosanna getting ready for the premiere shows a flashback of her and Marcel preparing the video recording. Marcel tells Shosanna that nobody would be willing to help produce, yet add sound to the video for them. When Marcel asked, “And suppose someone would develop the footage…how do we get a 35mm print with a soundtrack?” and Shosanna replies back with, “We find somebody who can develop and process a 35mm print with a soundtrack. And we make them do it...or we kill them.” Shosanna’s witty, yet serious tone shows that she is willing to go to no end to carry out the revenge she wants and will get.

After recording Shosanna’s clip, the partners decide to kidnap a French film developer to develop their film into reel film. Once kidnapped, Shosanna demands Marcel to bring the French film developer to her. With hands behind his back and face buried into the table, she says to him, “You either do what the fuck we tell you to or I will bury this ax in your collaborating skull.” In the same conversation, she asks Marcel if he knows the man’s wife and children and Shosanna responds with, “Then after we kill this dog for the Germans... we’ll go and silence them.” Ironically Shosanna’s drive for revenge is fueled by the death of her family but she threatens to kill the French film developer’s family

Another one of Shosanna’s plan of action to take place was for her victims to know the identity of their perpetrator. She had to let her victims know that she, herself was the one that was going to kill them, and needed them to know who she was. When the scene appears

Frederick Zoller asking, “Who wants to send a message to Germany?”, the film is interrupted by Shosanna’s recorded clip with her response of, “I have a message for Germany – that you are all going to die. And I want you to look deep into the face of the Jew who is going to do it.” The image displayed on the burning screen of Shosanna laughing lets the Nazis know that she would be their demise. The desire for Shosanna to not only “get back” at the ones who did her wrong but it also was to let them know that they have caused their own demise.

Finally, Shosanna achieves her revenge by inflicting the Nazis to the same treatment the Jews once endured. Shosanna’s voice over the speakers echoes throughout the auditorium when she says, “My name is Shosanna Dreyfus and THIS is the face... of Jewish vengeance!” as the film turns to the scene of the Nazis being trapped in the cinema, burned alive as it erupts into flames and explodes. This is ironically similar to the way that Jews in concentration camps were trapped and burned to death in furnaces during the Holocaust.

Thus, Shosanna’s plan did not die, but it was rather executed by her partner, Marcel. Shot multiple times by Frederick Zoller, Shosanna’s body was abandoned to disintegrate in the cinema that gave her the possibility for revenge.

Shosanna’s loyalty and dedication are juxtaposed throughout the film, Inglorious Basterds. In the beginning, when she tells Marcel that she will do whatever it takes to make her efforts happen, it set us in the direction that is she is serious about her plan. She is dedicated to making sure the plan follows through even if it requires her to threaten another person’s family. Shosanna shows that she is loyal to her family and even willing to die for her family, but also willing to bring the Nazi regime to justice.       

07 July 2022
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