Monday, June 14

Pulling Rabbits: On Tarantino

Everybody who will read this knows who Quentin Tarantino is. Some love him, some hate him, but you all know his name. That is a pretty exceptional position for a filmmaker, and a completely unique one for an independent one. It's something that people tend to forget, but Tarantino never made a movie with a big studio or production company. But he is still one of the most recognized  directors of all time. I would like to muse a bit upon the man who made being a film geek cool and sexy.

Or, you know, a little less pathetic at least.

Tarantino almost literally exploded on the scene in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs. With the ultra-violent gangster flick he did something that hadn't been done in a long time: making a brilliant film out of sheer love for film itself. Threading in the footsteps of the filmnerds that made the French Nouvelle Vague (New Wave), he took his love for movies that were usually frowned upon by "serious" critics and poured it into something that made even the moist stoic cinephiles pur with joy. And when he released Pulp Fiction two years later, the euphoric audience handed him the greatest honor a film can receive: a Palme D'Or from the Cannes Film festival. Since then, the quality of his work has varied, but it mostly has been good to excellent.

That is not to say his work has been uncontroversial. Far from it, actually. His "violence is a ton of fun" approach has not exactly fared well with some of the more conservative voices in the industry, and I'll have to admit that the eye-scene from Kill Bill 2 made me squirm as well. But the most opposition comes from people who blame him for not being original.

I can't really say this is untrue. The man talks about films even faster then me, and escpecially so in relation to his own films. But is this a problem?

I don't think so. Every filmmaker, every artist even, has his sources of inspiration. Tarantino is just very open about it. But perhaps we should see his movies less as just winks left and right to other people's works, and more as a collage artist: someone who puts pieces of other people's works together, and creates completely new meaning in the process.

But the primary reason Tarantino has a special place in my heart is his taste. And his willingness to share it. To me, and everyone in the audience, he seems to say: "Hey, you know what I like? Really awesome movies. I like pretty women, kickass rock 'n' roll and big swords. Do you like that too? Great! Let's pack our stuff and go on the trip of a lifetime!"

And so I did. Two hours later, when all the bad guys had been killed and the credits rolled, I got out of the pink Caddilac and Tarantino drove away towards the sunset. I stood there, waving, with a smile on my face. "Godspeed you, you beautiful basterd", I whispered. And then I fixed myself a scotch and a Big Kahuna Burger.


The music has been tipped by Stijn, my former roommate and self-proclaimed "Music Aesthetic". He hates Tarantino.

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