Quentin Tarantino is by no means a prolific writer and director. Since the early ’90s he’s only made a handful of films — he’d say 8, though if we’re getting technical it’s more like 12. He’s been saying for a while now that feels like a good number to retire at, so it’s possible we may only get two more Tarantino films. At the Jerusalem Film Festival this past weekend Tarantino conceded that he probably shouldn’t commit to a definitive total of 10 films, saying:
“I am planning to stop at 10 [films], but at 75 I might decide I have another story to do.”
Nothing shocking there, any artist would be a fool to corner themselves into trying to be definitive about their career. While two, or more, Tarantino films sounds great, it was Tarantino’s insight into his favorite of his many original characters that was most interesting. How does the man who wrote Calvin Candie (Django Unchained), Beatrix “The Bride” Kiddo (Kill Bill), and Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction) decide which of his many characters is the best? Apparently quite easily.
With hardly a thought Tarantino shared with the audience the character he is most proud of:
“[Hans] Landa [from ‘Inglourious Basterds’] is the best character I’ve ever written and maybe the best I ever will write. I didn’t realize [when I was first writing him] that he was a linguistic genius. He’s probably one of the only Nazis in history who could speak perfect Yiddish.”
Inglourious Basterds is certainly among Tarantino’s best films — though honestly, at only eight films don’t they all deserve such acknowledgment? The film is chock full of intricate characters, from the ultra-American Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) to the vengeance-seeking Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), but Landa does stand out. He’s by far Tarantino’s most sadistic villain and not just because he’s a Nazi.
As a Standartenführer (Colonel) in the SS and nicknamed “The Jew Hunter,” he takes more pride in the genocide of the Jews than his fellow officers. The man drinks milk while calmly hunting innocent people down. He’s cheerfully patient, even when choking a woman with his bare hands. And like Tarantino said, he’s master of several languages and intuitively curious, giving him an extra brainiac-level of evilness.
Considering the often complex nature of his characters — hero or villain — it isn’t especially surprising he’d choose a total, ahem, bastard to be his favorite. Did Tarantino speak too quickly? Is Hans Landa truly his best character or would you argue for one of his many others?
Tell me your favorite Tarantino character in the comments below!
MP Staff Writer, lover of all things fantastical and spooky. “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” – Ferris Bueller