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View Full Version : Is Django Unchained racist?



IdleRich
22-01-2013, 12:28 PM
More importantly(?) - is it good?

baboon2004
22-01-2013, 01:14 PM
Haven't seen it yet. Did you not see it last week - what did you think?

yyaldrin
22-01-2013, 01:25 PM
I think all Tarantino movies are crap.

e/y
22-01-2013, 01:26 PM
Waltz is pretty decent, and Foxx is good, too. When I watched it I thought that several things were "problematic" - the language used, SLJ's character (esp as a contrast to Fox's...hard to describe without spoilers). Well made but with some serious issues.

This piece, though, gives an interesting view of it: http://www.opendemocracy.net/matthew-cole/django-in-chains-american-racism-and-bootstrapping-myth

baboon2004
22-01-2013, 01:46 PM
Good article. But Tarantino (having not seen this film yet, as above) has never suggested he has anything particularly non-normative or insightful to say about anything (and I speak as a fan of his films insofar as they're good entertainment) - which of course is one reason he's wildly popular. Tarantino recognise structural oppression? It wasn't very likely, to say the least. Nuance isn't his thing.

Spike Lee should have seen DU before commenting (as should I perhaps!), but as a filmmaker (and as an intelligent human being, for that matter - judging from interviews) he's in a different universe. Quentin just ain't that smart.

IdleRich
22-01-2013, 02:14 PM
"Haven't seen it yet. Did you not see it last week - what did you think?"
Well, I definitely enjoyed it. Sometimes (as my friend said on facebook) feeling uncomfortable as I did so.
I do think that Tarantino is a great film-maker, it seemed so refreshing after your normal hollywood fare, none of that "there must be an action point on forty-five minutes" kinda bollocks and that is really noticeable. There are bits when something happens (or doesn't) and this is completely unexpected because it doesn't conform to the normal rules of the films you see most of the time. You realise how formulaic most films are when you see something like this that isn't afraid to suck the pace out and have nothing but talking for ages and which still manages to keep you interested.
All that said, I'm not convinced that this kind of exciting, caffeinated cartoon is really the medium through which to deal with slavery. It makes a kind of counterpart for me to Inglourious Basterds in which a super hero is wishfully projected on to a period of history in which we all know who the bad guys are and love to see them getting wasted by some wise-cracking goodies. But what does it mean beyond that? Quentin doesn't like Nazis/Slavery? Maybe it doesn't have to mean anything.
I bumped into a friend in the foyer afterwards and he said "I hope Spike Lee never sees that because he really will be enraged".
For what it's worth I watched it with three other people and two of them absolutely hated it. One said that one of the problems was that there was all this violence and nastiness you were being made to suffer and there wasn't enough depth in anything you gained in payment to make it worth your while. For me, I found the violence too silly to pay much heed to that argument but I mention it here anyway.

IdleRich
22-01-2013, 02:19 PM
From the article above - there is some truth in this I fear


"ultimately serving as revenge porn for liberals plagued by white guilt"

baboon2004
22-01-2013, 02:26 PM
I do think that Tarantino is a great film-maker

i agree with this on a technical level, absolutely - he's extremely gifted, and in terms of structure brought something new. Where he brings next to nothing is in terms of content or ideas beyond the form of film. Which is totally fine in and of itself, the world needs inventive entertainment.

With the disclaimer that I haven't seen it, maybe he just shouldn't touch serious subjects that require a nuanced perspective he has shown no evidence of having? His comment(s) to Krishnan Guru-Murphy alone in the interview were embarrassing enough.

IdleRich
22-01-2013, 02:33 PM
In terms of the imagery, the explosions, the dialogue, the music etc etc this film kept me absolutely entertained for hours. It's just that, if I were him and had his gifts, I'm not sure that that's the topic I'd have picked. Does it do any good? Not really, then why do it? But I loved the film... it's a headscratcher.

HMGovt
23-01-2013, 11:39 PM
If it does anything it portrays how disgustingly, industrially racist the antebellum South must have been. Up there with the Third Reich. If it's racist, so is Schindler's List.

Christopher Waltz and Samuel L Jackson, both excellent, but I don't find Jamie Foxx very engaging at all.

craner
24-01-2013, 03:38 PM
Inglorious Bastards was not really about Nazis, though, or even war or violence, it was a film about film. The thing I really like about QT is his taste in movies, which is unorthodox, exciting, refreshing. I remember him plugging Michael Winner (RIP) and John Milius films (I appreciated his robust defense of Big Wednesday) and there's a series of Spaghetti Westerns he has selected for release by Koch Media (http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Koch_Media_DVD_catalog/Western_Unchained_Collection)on the back of this film which is worth its existence alone.

But, then again, the way he assembles and stuffs all this paraphernalia into his movies is one of the least impressive aspects of his film-making. I have a strong internal resistance to the way he uses music (for example: Bacalov and Meiko Kaji in Kill Bill) which is purely irrational but probably comes from the fact that I live with the sources every day as they are my favorite films and scores, too.

His films are enjoyable, like eating fast food. QT is a bit like Ronald McDonald now I come to think of it. The films I've seen are quite rubbery. They remind me a bit of the animated sections of that Michael Jackson masterpiece Moonwalker.

Apparently, he had the idea for this film in the middle of writing a book about Sergio Corbucci. I think I would rather have read that book. I hope he finishes it now. I think QT would make an excellent, iconoclastic film critic.

craner
24-01-2013, 03:43 PM
The question is, do I go and see this or do I go and see Lincoln tomorrow night?

droid
24-01-2013, 03:48 PM
Id probably go for this over Lincoln in terms of entertainment. Lincoln is (as you'd imagine) worthy and well made - but dull.

craner
24-01-2013, 03:52 PM
Ok, thanks, you made my mind up for me. The first and only time, Droid!

baboon2004
24-01-2013, 03:54 PM
If it does anything it portrays how disgustingly, industrially racist the antebellum South must have been. Up there with the Third Reich. If it's racist, so is Schindler's List.



Playing devil's advocate (cos haven't seen DU and can't recall Schindler's List much): one of the main critiques of SL was similar to the one levelled against DU in the Open Democracy article, that it concentrates upon an atypical, exceptional situation within the context of a holocaust. Which isn't saying either film is racist; rather critiquing them as being misleading (i.e. fitting events into a cliched hero-type narrative) in the way in which they portray complex events that are hugely underrepresented in mainstream (read: big-name director) cinema history.

@Craner - are Corbucci's films any good? They sound interesting from the little I've read about them in connection with Django Unchained.

Tarantino films are definitely like fast food, good comparison.

craner
24-01-2013, 04:03 PM
Corbucci is weird, he made some of the greatest Westerns of all time and then veered off into Terence Hill and Bud Spencer comedy vehicles for the rest of the 70s and 80s. Inexplicable, although Italians loved them (and people in South Africa, apparently).

His most famous Westerns are Django, The Great Silence, The Mercenary and Compañeros. These are all superb. The Great Silence in particular; I have forced many long-suffering friends to watch it, and they have all (so far) been blown away. It is an (almost) perfect film (when watched in Italian).

IdleRich
24-01-2013, 04:17 PM
"Inglorious Bastards was not really about Nazis, though, or even war or violence, it was a film about film."
That's true up to a point but he still chose the second world war period to tell his story of a film about film.


"Which isn't saying either film is racist; rather critiquing them as being misleading in the way in which they portray events that are hugely underrepresented in mainstream (read: big-name director) cinema history."
I thought Eastern Promises was bad for this - undercover cop busts Russian woman-trafficking mafia gang. Problem solved! Thanks David.


"@Craner - are Corbucci's films any good?"
Django is my favourite western. Probably.
The Great Silence is fantastic as well - Trintignant as Silence and Kinski as the baddie. Watch it as a double-feature with Django, the ending is almost the same set-up but totally different.
Although I've just remembered that there may be an alternative ending for GS which might not be.

craner
24-01-2013, 04:22 PM
That's true up to a point but he still chose the second world war period to tell his story of a film about film

But isn't that because he wanted to make The Gestapo's Last Orgy?

craner
24-01-2013, 04:24 PM
Corbucci was much better at dealing with women than Leone or any of the others (or Tarantino, come to that), and that is one of the ways he stands apart.

baboon2004
24-01-2013, 04:26 PM
I thought Eastern Promises was bad for this - undercover cop busts Russian woman-trafficking mafia gang. Problem solved! Thanks David.


I hadn't considered this before, but yes. It was a bit of a shit film all round tbh.

baboon2004
24-01-2013, 04:27 PM
Corbucci was much better at dealing with women than Leone or any of the others.

this sounds very sinister ;) . Edit: though come to think of it, isn't that one of the jokes in pulp fiction?

Thanks for the Corbucci recs, will check them out.

craner
24-01-2013, 04:29 PM
Ha, yes. Portraying, then. That sounds prettier. There're a lot of proper righteous gals in his flicks.

IdleRich
24-01-2013, 05:18 PM
"But isn't that because he wanted to make The Gestapo's Last Orgy?"
I think he wanted to make a film about a load of films and that was one of them. I suppose you could argue that with Django if you are determined to put together a Spaghetti Western and a Blaxploitation film you're almost forced into making a film about slavery.

e/y
24-01-2013, 08:46 PM
Haneke recently criticised Schindler's List: http://youtu.be/Y_osgrcpes4

I suppose that his criticism that it is manipulative can be directed at Funny Games, too, but then FG isn't dealing with history the way that SL is.

Bangpuss
26-01-2013, 02:43 PM
It looks to me like an Inglorious Basterds prequel. I'll say this about Tarantino, in relation to his films being less formulaic than your average Hollywood guff. He's full of contradictions.

They're not as unimaginative with their dialogue, characterisation, music, cinematography, structure, you name it, as most films with Samuel L Jackson or Leonardo Di Caprio tend to be. They're more dynamic, more entertaining. He seems to respect his audience enough to go above and beyond this tripe for them. But it's also the kind of indulgent self-worship which plays on a prejudice of his audience as blood-hungry attention-span-deficient bozos by saying, look how talented I am in that I can make you hold on longer than other directors before giving you your pay off. Watch me do this. In some ways, the virtuosity is refreshing, not to mention entertaining. A film-maker marching into multiplexes and titillating the action crowd not just with stylish violence but dialogue and characterisation and references from arthouse and obscure b-movies is cool. I wish it happened more. (Although when Guy Richie had the same idea, look how that turned out. And all the raft of movies post-Pulp Fiction that made you wish they'd just made a nuts-and-bolts thriller without all the jump-cuts, sub-Tarantino dialogue and non-linear narratives. It makes your realise how good Tarantino is when you see his imitators fall so far short.)

BUT Tarantino has his own formula for building a movie. This can also be tiresome, just like Adam Curtis can become tiresome, because the more of them you see, the more you feel the content is all just fuel for the director's showboat. They're a series of set-ups for him to show off, so it really doesn't matter if it's the holocaust or the slave trade being depicted. And I use 'depicted' in the loosest possible sense. Because they're all just costumes, sets and characters, which both revel in and (at their best) critique the nonsense of Hollywood portraying history.

On a more simple note, I find it hard to believe that Tarantino in any way intended for a movie to be racist. Not the guy who grew up in a black area of LA, and has worked with so many black actors, musicians, etc. He's probably too focused on making it flow well as a music video than to actually care about the content's themes. The fact that people are even discussing Django Unchained as having any kind of historical significance probably makes him laugh. He'd probably say to stop taking it too seriously, but take QUENTIN very seriously.

craner
26-01-2013, 03:12 PM
I think I agree with all of that. Good post.

CrowleyHead
26-01-2013, 06:10 PM
It looks to me like an Inglorious Basterds prequel. I'll say this about Tarantino, in relation to his films being less formulaic than your average Hollywood guff. He's full of contradictions.

They're not as unimaginative with their dialogue, characterisation, music, cinematography, structure, you name it, as most films with Samuel L Jackson or Leonardo Di Caprio tend to be. They're more dynamic, more entertaining. He seems to respect his audience enough to go above and beyond this tripe for them. But it's also the kind of indulgent self-worship which plays on a prejudice of his audience as blood-hungry attention-span-deficient bozos by saying, look how talented I am in that I can make you hold on longer than other directors before giving you your pay off. Watch me do this. In some ways, the virtuosity is refreshing, not to mention entertaining. A film-maker marching into multiplexes and titillating the action crowd not just with stylish violence but dialogue and characterisation and references from arthouse and obscure b-movies is cool. I wish it happened more. (Although when Guy Richie had the same idea, look how that turned out. And all the raft of movies post-Pulp Fiction that made you wish they'd just made a nuts-and-bolts thriller without all the jump-cuts, sub-Tarantino dialogue and non-linear narratives. It makes your realise how good Tarantino is when you see his imitators fall so far short.)

BUT Tarantino has his own formula for building a movie. This can also be tiresome, just like Adam Curtis can become tiresome, because the more of them you see, the more you feel the content is all just fuel for the director's showboat. They're a series of set-ups for him to show off, so it really doesn't matter if it's the holocaust or the slave trade being depicted. And I use 'depicted' in the loosest possible sense. Because they're all just costumes, sets and characters, which both revel in and (at their best) critique the nonsense of Hollywood portraying history.

On a more simple note, I find it hard to believe that Tarantino in any way intended for a movie to be racist. Not the guy who grew up in a black area of LA, and has worked with so many black actors, musicians, etc. He's probably too focused on making it flow well as a music video than to actually care about the content's themes. The fact that people are even discussing Django Unchained as having any kind of historical significance probably makes him laugh. He'd probably say to stop taking it too seriously, but take QUENTIN very seriously.

Agree strongly w/ this.

It's also a little disheartening that Tarantino's moral agendas don't register with his larger audience. I saw Django in a theater, and I watched so many of the similar people who, when I saw Basterds (which, I dislike a lot) rise up for rapturous applause and whoops, fall flat and seem ridiculously uncomfortable. All due respect to you guys, but the reality of a movie where white Americans get slaughtered by a black male is so loaded that no matter what Tarantino might actually think he does, he unintentionally creates a vivid statement. Then again, I'm also tired how he traded in his clunky naive 'feminism' after "Death Proof" got publicly panned, for a movie like Basterds which is grossly misogynist.

Bangpuss
27-01-2013, 12:27 PM
Agree strongly w/ this.

It's also a little disheartening that Tarantino's moral agendas don't register with his larger audience.

Does Tarantino have any moral agendas? I've not really looked into it, so I may be wrong. He may well have made some statement about his films having a moral message, but I've not seen it. From what I've read, he's been pretty much consistent in saying that onscreen violence is totally different from actual violence, and the two shouldn't be linked. (The same applies to the violence of slavery, naturally.) Disagree with him if you like, but he's set out his stall. I don't think he's claiming this is anything other than a fantasy, or that it has any real historical significance. In doing so, I'd say it's a more honest film than most of Hollywood's 'historical' films.

(This may change, of course, when I actually see it!)

e/y
27-01-2013, 10:05 PM
I think this is a really interesting take on IB:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PI21uc2qyqY

IdleRich
28-01-2013, 09:12 AM
"It looks to me like an Inglorious Basterds prequel. I'll say this about Tarantino, in relation to his films being less formulaic than your average Hollywood guff. He's full of contradictions.
They're not as unimaginative with their dialogue, characterisation, music, cinematography, structure, you name it, as most films with Samuel L Jackson or Leonardo Di Caprio tend to be. They're more dynamic, more entertaining. He seems to respect his audience enough to go above and beyond this tripe for them."
Yeah, that's what I was getting at.


"But it's also the kind of indulgent self-worship which plays on a prejudice of his audience as blood-hungry attention-span-deficient bozos by saying, look how talented I am in that I can make you hold on longer than other directors before giving you your pay off. Watch me do this. In some ways, the virtuosity is refreshing, not to mention entertaining. A film-maker marching into multiplexes and titillating the action crowd not just with stylish violence but dialogue and characterisation and references from arthouse and obscure b-movies is cool. I wish it happened more. (Although when Guy Richie had the same idea, look how that turned out. And all the raft of movies post-Pulp Fiction that made you wish they'd just made a nuts-and-bolts thriller without all the jump-cuts, sub-Tarantino dialogue and non-linear narratives. It makes your realise how good Tarantino is when you see his imitators fall so far short.)"
That happens in any field though doesn't it? Someone comes along with something new and good and a million inferior imitators come along with their take on it. You can't really blame the originator for that though even if their overall effect is to ruin music/film/books for years.


"BUT Tarantino has his own formula for building a movie. This can also be tiresome, just like Adam Curtis can become tiresome, because the more of them you see, the more you feel the content is all just fuel for the director's showboat."
True enough but I think his films are slightly more varied than you give him credit for - Kill Bill parts 1 and 2 for instance feel completely different from each other. Also, I think you notice his style more cos all the other directors are so similar - in action films it's almost as if you have Tarantino and Other, if there were more categories I don't think his stuff would seem as familiar as it does.


"They're a series of set-ups for him to show off, so it really doesn't matter if it's the holocaust or the slave trade being depicted. And I use 'depicted' in the loosest possible sense. Because they're all just costumes, sets and characters, which both revel in and (at their best) critique the nonsense of Hollywood portraying history."
Well maybe it doesn't matter in terms of how good the film is but it might matter to someone in other ways.


"On a more simple note, I find it hard to believe that Tarantino in any way intended for a movie to be racist. Not the guy who grew up in a black area of LA, and has worked with so many black actors, musicians, etc."
Surely no-one thinks it's intentionally racist, that's not the question.


"He's probably too focused on making it flow well as a music video than to actually care about the content's themes."
Probably true - but maybe he shouldn't be.


"The fact that people are even discussing Django Unchained as having any kind of historical significance probably makes him laugh. He'd probably say to stop taking it too seriously, but take QUENTIN very seriously."
True. He's said a couple of unwise things but possibly he's made a cartoon that happens to be about slavery and it never crossed his mind that it could annoy someone. But if that's right then he's a little foolish no?

e/y
28-01-2013, 10:24 AM
If he didn't give it any serious thought then that is more than a little foolish considering the subject he's working with.

Bangpuss
28-01-2013, 09:12 PM
OK, researched this a little more and, crucially, seen it. Just walked out of it in fact. Not walked out as in left early, but exited at credits.

And here's my thoughts: it is, as I expected, a brilliantly put-together film in the same vein, and the same style, as Inglorious Basterds. The music is awesome. Bringing hip-hop in seemed natural and right, and made my heart pump. All the lead actors are incredible (even Leonardo Di Caprio, for whom 'decent' is usually a compliment.)

Is it racist? No. It's a blaxploitation flick dressed up as a western. I can see why some people say portraying the blacks-rise-up as a fantasy is a racial narrative, since it implies that black people didn't rise up. But there's way more dispelling the myth of black subservience than there is enforcing it.

I hear that Tarantino did make some pretty dumb remarks about giving people the opportunity to talk about slavery, as though it hasn't been debated already. Shut up, Quentin. You're not racist, but your ego means you should let the movie itself do the talking on such matters. Because the movie itself is a brutal, yet thrilling and satisfying trip into the hideousness of institutional racism, and subservience.

It also wouldn't be possible to discuss Django Unchained without making reference to Tarantino's own monumental screen presence. I mean, that was just straight-up bizarre. Why on earth did he feel the need to cast himself? As a fat Australian? Dude needs an editor. And a gag. But what the hell, he did good.

rubberdingyrapids
01-02-2013, 11:56 AM
still not seen this but tarantino has been hilarious talking about how django will get people talking about slavery. all im seeing is people talking about how tarantino thinks people will get people talking about slavery. but slavery hasnt been mined anywhere near as much as the holocaust, so any film that does feature it is going to be more scrutinised (i wish spike lee's comment about it was actually a bit more sane sounding and reasoned its points better, rather than sounding like exactly the type of random spike lee comment you would expect him to make). i guess the fact that tarantino has a raging fetishy erection for the 70s black male action heroes he saw as a kid also makes it seem a tad creepier. but im thinking that most people dont really know all that much about slavery. (i also find it funny how when this film is discussed on radio or tv or most places it seems, the complacent 'oh im just so above it all' contingent never invite anyone connected to slavery (i.e. someone black) or a historian on the subject at least, to talk about it.) then again i have been surprised at how depoliticised most of the reviews of zero dark thirty have been so maybe thats just what we should expect from modern film critics.

i am sort of looking forward to seeing it though. as far as modern blaxploitation - which is what this seems to be, just in the body of a western, black dynamite was mostly crappy - pretty sure this will be tons better.

baboon2004
01-02-2013, 12:19 PM
(i also find it funny how when this film is discussed on radio or tv or most places it seems, the complacent 'oh im just so above it all' contingent never invite anyone connected to slavery (i.e. someone black) or a historian on the subject at least, to talk about it.) .

Well, however well intentioned, films about slavery, just like films about the Holocaust, will encourage that kind of smug 'racism/complicit passivity in the face of evil are no longer an issue' reaction.

rubberdingyrapids
01-02-2013, 12:44 PM
that made me think of this piece i read this week and the banality of evil about hitlers home movies (although the reaction it provoked when first shown was a bit different to django, perhaps as there, the evil was distant and other whereas with slavery the evil is closer to home and much harder to pin on any one person) -
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/27/hitler-home-movies-eva-braun

Local Authority
01-02-2013, 01:01 PM
I've completely overlooked this film as a film about racism and slavery. All it is, is a homage to the films that have influenced him. He may try to depict his films having some sort of intellectual premise but we all know they don't and we may know that he doesn't intend them too. They have an idea which he uses as context to create the film but I don't think they should be taken as more than that.

The film itself, is inherently racist, as much as anything made by an institutionally white male trying to depict the hardship of the people who his ancestors may have suppressed will be.

rubberdingyrapids
01-02-2013, 01:18 PM
tarantino is a pretty immature man... hes a cineliterate man-child, with the sensibilities of a teenage boy. im sure hes not the only one in that regard, but he really is all about the sensation (not even just style) over the substance. but he is also a genius, albeit one that can often feel a bit ersatz. so yeah i think he knows he has nothing to really 'say' about slavery, even if he loves to pretend he does, but im wondering what his next film will be about. its as though hes picking 'important' eras in history now to get away with violence so he can pass it off as being righteous. id love to see him do a native american revenge western, totally turning the conventions of the genre on its head.

Mr. Tea
01-02-2013, 09:11 PM
The film itself, is inherently racist, as much as anything made by an institutionally white male trying to depict the hardship of the people who his ancestors may have suppressed will be.

Is being "institutionally white" any different from common-or-garden being white? Moreover, is it therefore impossible for any white director to make a film about black slavery and it not be racist? Would it still be racist if a black director had made the same film, shot for shot and line for line?

Maybe I've got this wrong but I didn't think an individual could be "institutionally" anything...

IdleRich
01-02-2013, 10:04 PM
"The film itself, is inherently racist, as much as anything made by an institutionally white male trying to depict the hardship of the people who his ancestors may have suppressed will be."
And how much is that?
Seems like an institutionally dumb comment to me.
Ancestors may have suppressed? If we're gonna judge anything on what conceivably might have been done by their ancestors to someone else's then... I can't even be bothered to pick that apart to be honest, just go away and think a bit and see if you can make that point properly so I can judge if it's as stupid as it appears to be.

rubberdingyrapids
03-02-2013, 10:17 PM
i liked it. found it interesting as its got the usual QT flourishes, but its also in some ways his least QT film to date, the dialogue in particular. its almost like his version of doing a 'studio' and an old school genre picture at once. it is almost two films, one which is QT doing comedy, like a slavery western panto. very strange. made me think of mel brooks. some of the acting from chris waltz seemed esp hammy in the beginning. QT was really going for the vibe of those old europan westerns. and its also like a buddy movie - i felt that the whole righteous revenge thing was undermined by having schultz there. as though they thought a white character was needed as an 'in' for the wider audience who might find it too much to have a film set during slavery and a black lead out to basically kill all the white characters (also to assuage white guilt on part of the audience by providing evidence of someone who went against the prevailing beliefs of the time). but they were a team i would say, it wasnt like schultz was doing everything. also found the actual revenge part satisfying but slightly underwhelming - in a way there wasnt really enough of it. sure theyre bounty hunters so fox gets to kill white people but there wasnt nearly enough of the whipping scene, scenes where he gets to really destroy the agents of slavery he really wants to punish. the film almost deprives you of this. because if this really was an all out slave revenge, it would have played out quite diff to a more conventional revenge movie (dont get me wrong, the shoot out was still pretty great).

in terms of a definitive depiction of slavery, it doesnt really stand up. it isnt v interested in probing slavery beyond the obvious horrrendousness - which it does pretty well, but its more interested in it as a vehicle for violence and cartoony villains, which robs it somewhat of the blood curdling power it might have had and what i was half expecting from what the cast and QT had been talking about (all the realism etc). so theres no real insights about it. and though some of the violence is truly nasty - like the wrestling scene - had he shown some of what really went on, it would have been genuinely unbearable. its not as controversial as people seem to think. but anyway, the last act is pretty badass. which is what a QT film is meant to be about (i confess, i even liked deathproof).

foxx and his wife's accents didnt seem properly southern though and a lot of the music choices made this prob the worst QT soundtrack so far - there was no need for tupac or rick ross! his films have always existed in some weird time-space (jackie brown had foxy brown on the soundtrack) but here it was made worse as its set in a prior century and there obv wasnt any hip hop around back then lol. shame he didnt bother using any time-specific music.

IdleRich
04-02-2013, 08:25 AM
Yeah but there wasn't an Morricone either. Funny how we're so used to that being on Western soundtracks we kinda think it was what cowboys were listening too!

rubberdingyrapids
04-02-2013, 10:33 AM
true. but i think theres diff rules for scores and actual songs used in film soundtracks. the john legend one was a good one though. even dobie gray or some black country and western would have made more sense. one thing i thought weird about the film is that it didnt seem as authoritative as the usual QT film. maybe he was REALLY going for that unpolished european western feel, but what i read about him still editing it just weeks before the release makes sense. even the scores used, i know he likes rawness, and they were sourced from his old LPs, but they actually sounded like it! i would have thought it would be beefed up. if he really does do a 5 hour edit for the dvd and blu ray like sam jackson has mentioned, id love to see it.

Patrick Swayze
04-02-2013, 04:07 PM
He probably hasn't seen it but I wonder what Tarantino would make of Four Lions.

rubberdingyrapids
04-02-2013, 08:29 PM
i keep thinking about this movie for some reason (i might have to see it again). i really enjoyed it but now think perhaps spike lee was right, it is just an awkward fit (though more than the western aspect, its the comedy 'toon element that does that). but then its also a great subversion of the usual race representation in hollywood so its a weird film in that every accusation you try and level at it never quite fits.

crowley is otm about how unusual it is for a black lead (or co lead) in a mainstream movie to kill tons of white guys but how this could have been better is if the killings were more vindictive and slavery specific. the psychological motivation wasnt made clear enough, like it is in a film like once upon a time in the west for example. the shots of blood on cotton fileds were nice touches but im surprised the killings werent more imaginative. barring certain scenes, QT actually made a pretty restrained movie.

im really interested to see steve mcqueens slavery movie now.

crackerjack
04-02-2013, 09:18 PM
how this could have been better is if the killings were more vindictive and slavery specific. the psychological motivation wasnt made clear enough.

Starting to think we saw a different movie here. Short of having Django say "this is for my brothers and sisters" every time he offed another trader/slaver I don't see how it could've been more slavery specific. Almost everyone in the film who's involved in the slave trade gets killed. What more do you want?

rubberdingyrapids
04-02-2013, 10:05 PM
things involving the tools that were used for whipping, chaining, collaring, lynching, branding, need i go on? all im saying is that QT does violence in a way that makes it look boring in other films but the potential to make it even more twisted was massive here. if you think back to things like the ear scene in reservoir dogs, there was little like that here. unless you count a man getting his penis shot off.

e/y
09-02-2013, 02:22 PM
http://justinstruggles.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/django-deconstructed/


In terms of how racism is dealt with in Django Unchained, I have more of a problem with what Tarantino chooses not to portray than what he does. There are two types of white people in Django, the evil idiotic fools such as who defend and profit from enslavement and the lone noble cultured liberal who would rather die than acquiesce to a racist intellectual pygmy. Check the binary opposition: we have the good and the evil, the educated, self-made European liberal versus the inbreeding psychopathic Southern idiots. The white audience need to identify with our heroes but the enslavement of Africans is explained as a system that only the corrupt and stupid could condone. This simplification performs a very powerful function for white liberal audiences, not only can they see themselves and therefore the present/relative future in Dr King (Schultz) but enslavement and it’s racist logic is explained as something only the “bad guys” do. With Steven we have the Uncle Tom to end all Uncle Toms and is revealed to be the real mastermind of the horrors of Candie-land. He much more than Candie, is the real villain.

In Tarantino’s political polemic, white supremacy isn’t a concept that perpetuates itself by and through the good people that make up America’s laws or enforce them. Certainly not by (shock horror!) liberal minded Americans who love black people. This of course is a myth, racism in America is systemic and structural. “Bad people” doesn’t explain why there are more African-Americans imprisoned now than those who were enslaved in 1850. By obscuring of structural reasoning, the problem is reduced and personalised to Steven, the KKK, Candie and “Big Daddy” of the past and absolves the present from its gory past. The white and perhaps black liberal viewer can easily laugh at these archaic creatures and may struggle erroneously to make any link between that world run by racist psychopaths and their world run by a smooth talking, basketball playing, poetry reading and child killing black President.


As I said before, the film is enjoyable due to its craft and humour. But well before this film was made, bell hooks stunningly critiqued the Hollywood spectacle and made a very important point. Watch this video presented by her. In the first two minutes it shows an excerpt of Spike Lee’s film, Girl 6, in the clip Quentin Tarantino plays a version of himself and says:


“[it is going to be] the greatest romantic, African-American film ever made. Directed by me, of course.”

Life imitates Art. No wonder Spike couldn’t watch it, he made a film in 1996 to comment on how Hollywood sees blackness, i.e. an exotic setting or genre, that needs not bear any relation to or autonomy of the community from which it is sourced. This is what kyriarchal culture is about, not a sadistic impulse to denigrate women, Africans or their ancestors, but to prevent the oppressed from telling their own story whilst paternally offering them an alternative. Tarantino, as a creature of his time, is continuing in this long-held tradition. Salon asks “Could a black director have made Django?” Who cares? A structural critique would ask: Why isn’t there even a single African-American director with similar resources to explore the enslaved experience? bell hooks sublimely explains why Spike Lee isn’t. Even if London-born director, Steve McQueen is able to in his upcoming film, Twelve Years a Slave, Emancipation is still a long way off and it won’t come from Hollywood.

rubberdingyrapids
01-05-2013, 11:17 AM
recently saw inglorious basterds for the first time - obv its just like django, though django is a bit more considered. but watching it i just thought the violence was just totally unnecessary most of the time, and really just too exaggerated when it did arrive, and tarantino is such a good director but hes also just a little boy unable to not dumb down (so much nudge nudge signposting in this film just in case people didnt realise who was who or what was what), and really scared that he might not please his audience, cos there are good scenes in IB, where there is something actually emotional happening between characters, but he squanders it either with stupid OTT violence, a stupid joke, brad pitt acting like hes wonderered in from another film, or just his inability to find some comfortable ground between wanting to make a slightly more serious film and his grindhouse weaknesses. i didnt know if this was a film about nazi killers or was it about a girl whose family were all killed by nazis. it was quite awkward shifting between the two. he should get someone else to write for him now. or use other peoples stories at least and adapt them. he also needs someone to edit him a bit better.