11 Jan 2013

Cinema violence: What does Tarantino really think?

Quentin Tarantino told Channel 4 News that movie violence is a fantasy, with no link to real-life violence. But the director has admitted in the past that people are affected by on-screen aggression.

Cinematic violence: What does Taratino really think?

From the slicing of an ear, to a samurai sword attack and the beating of a skull with a baseball bat, the award-winning director has never shied away from blood and guts.

And yet when he spoke to Channel 4 News presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Quentin Tarantino outright refused to discuss the impact violent scenes may have on his viewers.

Tarantino reacted angrily to the line of questioning: “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… I’m here to sell my movie. This is a commercial for the movie – make no mistake.”

He instead invited any interested parties to Google him if they wanted to establish his views on the relation between onscreen brutality and violence in real life.

And it is a subject Tarantino has been confronted with on numerous occasions over the last 20 years – and particularly following tragedies like the Sandy Hook school massacre in the US before Christmas.

Two types of violence

In previous interviews, and talking to Channel 4 News, the director has said there are two types of violence: reality, and the type he believes people enjoy watching.

I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. Quentin Tarantino

In an interview with NPR radio station in December, he said: “And [there’s] movie violence, and that’s fun and that’s cool, and that’s really enjoyable and kind of what you’re waiting for. Everyone knows what’s going on. We’re making a movie. They get it.”

And when NBC presenter Jay Leno asked him about movie violence and gun violence, Tarantino argued it was “disrespectful” to the victims to equate the two. Tarantino has consistently refused to accept any of the blame for gun crime. Late last year, on American news channel CNN, he went as far as likening himself to Shakespeare, saying that in his day when there was violence the cry went up “blame the playwrights”.

Violent film-makers

As far back as 1992 Tarantino said: “As an artist, violence is part of my talent. If I start thinking about society, or what one person is doing to someone else, then I have on handcuffs.”

And in a more recent interview he told Empire magazine: “Violent films don’t turn children into violent people. They may turn them into violent film-makers, but that’s another matter altogether.”

But in a Telegraph interview two years ago he admitted that his depiction of violence did affect his audience.

He said: “If a guy gets shot in the stomach and he’s bleeding like a stuck pig then that’s what I want to see – not a man with a stomach ache and a little red dot on his belly.

“I’m a big fan of action and violence in cinema,”

“That’s why Thomas Edison created the motion picture camera – because violence is so good. It affects audiences in a big way. You know you’re watching a movie.”