CHAPTER ONE: ONCE UPON A TIME…IN NAZI-OCCUPIED FRANCE
The discussion of direct violence, structural violence and cultural violence in this chapter is relatively straightforward, focusing on the direct violence of the killings, the structural violence of the Nazi occupation and the restrictions placed on the farmer and the cultural violence in Landa’s descriptions of Jews as “vermin” (linking them to the Bubonic Plague) and a “rat”, while describing the Germans as “hawks”, along with the symbols that support his role as a killer, like the skull and crossbones insignia on his hat.
This chapter also shows us the extent to which the farmer, who in the end gives up the family he is hiding, is an actor with free will. This can be seen in two instances, one where the farmer decides to sit after Landa’s statement, “Please join me at your table.”, and the other when he asks Landa whether it would disturb him if he smoked his pipe.
The question that arises now is whether the level of cultural and structural violence in the chapter rule out the possibility of cooperation and assistance from the part of the farmer.
If we carefully analyse the power of the Germans in France, it is evidently clear that the farmer only has the possibility of cooperation, as Landa makes sure of this by his subtle but indirect threats.
Moving on, another question that arises is how the farmer perceived Landa’s threats, which initially started out as quite restrained (commenting on the dairy farm, the farmer’s milk, and his family) but progressed to far more direct.
We further realise that Landa’s threats are perceived to be dangerous by the farmer, thereby making him give up the Jew family that he was protecting under the floorboards of his house.
Coming back to the concept of Galtung’s Violence Triangle, the question arises of how we should categorize the various threats in this particular chapter.
Are they direct violence (since the threatened violence clearly is), structural violence (since they restrict the possible actions on the part of the farmer), or cultural violence (since they are explicitly communicated by Landa)?
In my opinion, there is no correct answer to this question, as it is evidently clear to us that all the three types of violence – direct, cultural and structural are intertwined within each other, thereby further exemplifying Galtung’s theory of the relationship between the types of violence.
The scene is clearly written and directed to push our sympathies to the farmer. Looking at the embedded cultural violence against the Jews by the anti-Semitic views of Hitler and the Nazis, we see the way Landa conceptualizes his work of hunting and killing Jews as “work,” in the business sense, with ledgers, as well as the way he describes this as a “job” he was “ordered to carry out.” He carries this further, discussing the “enterprise” that is now under “new management.”
The embedded cultural violence presented in this scene can be looked at in another way. The chapter begins by showing us a large, well-built man, sweating profusely, with an axe in his hand i.e. the farmer, Monsieur LaPadite. Landa is introduced to us as a small but a sharp and precise man. Since the two men are alone in the house, threatening such a large and aggressive man could have gone wrong for Landa, but instead LaPadite, despite being threatened in an indirect manner goes on to give up the family he’s protecting rather than kill Landa and be done with it. This clearly indicates the position and fear that Landa holds and commands as “THE JEW HUNTER”, and the power that the Nazis held in France during this period.
CHAPTER TWO: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
When we begin watching the second chapter, we observe that some concepts seem to have been carried forward from Chapter One to Chapter Two of the movie. The observation in question here is the way that Lt. Aldo Raine dehumanizes the Nazis in comparison to the way that Landa dehumanizes the Jews.
Just because the Jews are a minority that are being hunted by the Nazis, does it give Raine the right to dehumanize them? Irrespective of the actions of Hitler and the members of the Nazi party, Raine’s dialogue, “Nazi ain’t got no humanity,” seems out of place and biased, thereby giving rise to it being considered as a clear form of structural and cultural violence.
Raine, despite being a military man shows little honour to the military fraternity when he exclaims how the “disembowelled, dismembered and disfigured bodies” of the Nazis, that he and his little team will leave behind, will prove to the Germans how cruel they are and more importantly who they are.
Moving forward with the chapter, what disgusts me personally is the point where after killing a number of Nazis and capturing the survivors, the members of the elite team scalp the heads of the dead soldiers. The direct violence showcased in this particular scene is disgraceful, not only from the point of view of a human being, but more importantly from the point of view of a soldier.