10 Jan 2013

Quentin and me

Tarantino has made at least two of my all-time favourite movies. I can quote speeches from Pulp Fiction on a good day and watch Kill Bill Vol 2 on a late night anytime. So I have to admit “I’m shutting your butt down!” was (read the transcript here) a slight disappointment from the creator of some of the most exciting dialogue of modern movies.

It doesn’t quite rate with “You gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are you gonna bite?”, “AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherf***** in the room, accept no substitutes” or “The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is – I collect your f****** head”. But it spoke to me. Together with the quite remarkable : “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.” Nobody has said that to me before.

I’m sure he was tired. He’d flown in the night before. “It’s only television” he said when the PR woman raised a worry about the background noise of air conditioning in the hotel room. I’m sure he’s sick of the criticism and the controversy around Django Unchained. Spike Lee hasn’t even seen it. I doubt the dolls were the director’s idea. And the violence debate sparked because it was released unluckily close to a massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut. He has mostly batted away the questions so far with statements of his position – that he makes violent movies and thinks there is no link between violent movies and violent behaviour.

The trouble for me is not the minor “tantrumtino” at a movie junket, it is the inconsistency. The director was happy to talk about slavery as an issue, the debate on slavery now going on in America, he says thanks to him. He will even accept that he enjoys what he calls “cathartic violence” in movies. But is there a relationship between enjoying movie violence and enjoying real violence? Cathartic or not? That’s where he stops – or “refuses”. Even though I was effectively leading him to the answer in a pretty sympathetic way. But that is his right. I suppose it was also refreshingly honest of him to say of the interview “I’m here to sell my movie. This is a commercial for the movie – make no mistake……I don’t want to talk about what you want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about the implications of violence.” He claimed he has talked about it endlessly for twenty years, and that anyone interested should “Google” him. I have. There isn’t a whole lot of detail. He states his position and restates it – but doesn’t explain or expand. Even in excellent interviews with Howard Stern and Playboy magazine. If you find more do send it to me.

For those concerned about my “butt” it is just fine. My cycling training for the big London to Paris ride with Jon is causing it more pain than Quentin. And he didn’t storm out at the end, in case you’re wondering. Though we didn’t exchange mobile numbers.

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