|Fate||Killed by Fredrick Zoller|
|Portrayed by||Mélanie Laurent|
- “My name is Shosanna Dreyfus and THIS is the face... of Jewish vengeance!”
- ―Shosanna Dreyfus
Shosanna Dreyfus (alias Emmanuelle Mimieux) is one of the main protagonists of the film. She is the owner of Le Gamaar Cinema. After some turn of events made her cinema the venue of the premiering of Stolz der Nation, she hatched a plan, independent of The Basterds, to eliminate the Nazi top command. She died with Frederick Zoller in the cinema's projector room. Throughout the film, she mostly speaks French but she only spoke English once during her address towards the Germans on the movie screen, in which the Nazis are later killed by the Basterds.
Chapter One - Once upon a time... in Nazi-occupied France
Shosanna was the only surviving member of the Dreyfus family, a Jewish rural French family who were murdered in 1941 by SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa. They were hiding in the LaPadite family's basement. Unfortunately, Hans Landa's interrogations quickly made Perrier LaPadite betray their whereabouts. She fled the house as Landa pointed his Walther at her with the intent to shoot, only to change his mind, instead he shouted a cruel "Au revoir, Shosanna!".
Chapter Three - GERMAN NIGHT IN PARIS
She later assumed the alias of "Emmanuelle Mimieux" and went to inherit the Parisian Le Gamaar Cinema from a sympathetic theater owner, Madame Ada Mimieux, who teaches her how to run and operate the theater. During a night in June 1944, she encountered Frederick Zoller, while she was changing the templates. Not interested to speak with him at all, she tried to avoid any conversation, visibly agitated. The next day, she encounters him again in a bistro, where she is smoking and reading a book. She again rebuffs him, telling him she doesn't want to have anything to do with him, as he's a German soldier in her country. Zoller tries to counter that telling her that he's more than a uniform, but she says not to her, and that if he wants a French girlfriend, he should try Vichy. Before Zoller has a chance to reply, a German officer, who introduces himself as Captain Wolfgang, enters and shakes his hand, while being amazed that he met him. Shosanna is intrigued, and immediately another German officer, Walter Frazer and a French girl enter and ask him for an autograph. She learns that Zoller is a war hero, and that Joseph Goebbels is planning to make a propaganda film based on his deeds, called Stolz der Nation. After a short discussion, she becomes angry and leaves. Some time later, while she was working on the cinema templates, a car stops and a Gestapo Major gets down. He calls her down, telling her she must come with them. Believing that her cover is blown, she reluctantly comes with him. She is instead escorted at a restaurant, where many high-ranking Nazi officers were having lunch. She is greeted by Zoller and meets Goebbels himself, French actress and translator Francesca Mondino, as well as the Gestapo Major who brought her there, Dieter Hellstrom. Zoller's intention is to force her to like him, and persuade Goebbels to move the premiering of Stolz Der Nation to her cinema, despite it being half the size of the Ritz. When Goebbels tells her he first wants to see a film before he can decide, Landa arrives at the table. He kisses her hand, while she recalls some not very pleasant memories, visibly agitated. Landa sits at the table after the others leave and orders some strudel for both as well as a glass of milk for her. He begins to ask her about her cinema and before he leaves he tells her there's another thing he wanted to ask her. Thinking her cover is about to be blown for real, she pauses for a moment, with her cigarette in her hand, but then Landa changes his mind and kisses her hand before leaving. She immediately begins to breathe heavily, and almost cries when she realizes how close she was to being discovered. After the film screening, Goebbels asks her if she liked "Lucky Kids", she says that she liked Lillian Harvey, which causes Goebbels to rant her name, and to never mention her name in his presence. Back in the cinema, she comes up with a plan, with her reluctant lover and assistant Marcel, to burn the Nazi High Command in the premiere night, thanks to her 350 nitrate film collection. She also asks him if the filming equipment still works, as she plans to make a film just for the Nazis.
Chapter Five - REVENGE OF THE GIANT FACE
Shosanna is seen in her room, by her window, looking down at the street, obviously at the incoming Nazi crowd. As she prepares for the show, we see a flashback of her plan: she records herself, then she and Marcel kidnap a French movie developer and force him to develop their film into a reel film; Shosanna then has the film treated and edited into one of the movie's film reels, replacing one of Zoller's dialogue scenes with her message of vengeance.
As she is handling the projectors during the premiere, Zoller comes up. Afraid of her plans being foiled, she tries to stall him from entering, and once again rejects his advances, causing Zoller to force himself inside and angrily confront Shosanna about her coldness towards him despite everything that he has done. She tricks Zoller into locking the projector room door, then shoots him multiple times in the back with a pistol she hid in her purse, and then looks out of the projector window before turning to Zoller and hears him whimpering. She realizes he's not dead and approaches to check on him, seemingly showing remorse, only for Zoller to pull out his pistol and fatally shoot her multiple times.
Meanwhile, the film cuts to the recorded film, with Shosanna stating that the viewers will all die. Before Hitler can cut the projection, Shosanna tells Marcel to burn the cinema down. After the flames appear, the audience panics and tries to escape, but as Shosanna's image laughs, the Basterds rush in and begin shooting at the crowd, from Hitler's opera box. They manage to gun down many Nazi high officials before the cinema gets destroyed by the explosion, killing everyone inside.
Shosanna is a rather serious woman, and is also very brave and resourceful. She hates Nazis with a passion, largely due to the fact that one was responsible for the death of her family. This also shows that she's pretty loyal to her family and even willing to die for her family, but she's also willing to bring the Nazi regime to justice. Shosanna is similar to "Prince Hamlet", because of her will to bring the wicked people to justice, but also because she wanted to get her vengeance. Also, like Hamlet, she died while getting her vengeance, and also destroyed everything in her way. An example of this is her cold behavior towards Zoller, who was trying to prove his love towards her. An apparent moment of pity and dropping her guard is what led to her ultimate demise. Despite this, she still could be considered as a heroine because of her efforts to bring down the evil Nazi regime, thus saving many people in the process.
- In earlier drafts of the screenplay Shosanna was a much more active member of the French resistance, sniping soldiers from rooftops and even compiling a death list of high ranking Nazi officials to cross off. But when Quentin Tarantino did his "Kill Bill" series, he put those plot details into that story, and decided it was redundant, so instead he decided to make Shosanna a more realistic character and have her keep a low profile.
- The name Emmanuelle Mimieux is a reference both the erotic Emmanuelle film series and American B-movie actress, Yvette Mimieux.
- The "tomboy" look sported by Shosanna when seen removing the film letters and in particular her own "baker boy" cap are reminiscent of the kid character in 1921 Charlie Chaplin's film cited by Zoller during the first conversation with Shosanna in front of the cinema.
- The look of Shosanna in the final scene is inspired by that of Veronika Voss, character in the 1982 movie of the same name, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The protagonist of the said film, in turn, was inspired by the figure of Sybille Schmitz, German actress well known at the time of the Third Reich.
- In the original ending, Shosanna's movie for the Nazis was supposed to be in French. Mélanie Laurent was the one who suggested to Quentin Tarantino that it should be done in English to make the finale more powerful.
- In the script, Shosanna mentions that she was born in the region of Nancy.
- Shosanna is barefoot during the final scenes in the projection room.
- Zoller claims he killed 250 Allied soldiers in Sicily in three days. Shosanna killed 350 Germans in one night.
- In Shosanna's fake papers, it's shown that she chose her birthday as 18th of May 1926. Since the last chapters take place in June 1944, this would mean she was barely 18, while Shosanna's real age was 21-22 (LaPadite says she was 18-19 in 1941). While not necessarily a big problem, her choice to lower her real age was risky, especially as she just inherited a cinema and that could draw unnecessary attention.
Behind the scenes
Shosanna Dreyfus was played by Mélanie Laurent.
Quentin Tarantino met Mélanie Laurent in three rounds and played all the characters on the first. On the second one, he shared the lines with her, and the third one, it was dinner face-to-face. During the dinner, he told Laurent, "Do you know something-there's just something I don't like. It's that you're famous in your country, and I'm really wanting to discover somebody." Laurent replied "No, no, no. ... I'm not so famous." And after four days he called and finalized her for the role of Shosanna.
When she talked about her role, she said: "When I read the script of 'Inglourious Basterds', I was like, wow, it's been my dream to kill Hitler since I was like four so I was kind of like Shosanna already. I'm Jewish. I read the script together with my grandfather and he told me, 'You have to make that movie, please.' So it was not just for me, it was for my family".
To prepare for her role, Mélanie Laurent worked as a film projectionist for a few weeks at New Beverly Cinema, projecting mostly cartoons and trailers before shows. The real test set by Quentin Tarantino was for her to screen Reservoir Dogs.