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Quentin Unchained: Should Tarantino answer questions about movie violence?
01.10.2013
03:16 pm

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Quentin Tarantino
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Fan art by Daz Tiibles, via downwithfilm
 
Quentin Tarantino is not your slave and you are not his master.

That’s what he told newscaster Krishnan Guru Murthy on the UK’s Channel 4 News today, in a tense and very awkward interview.

In response to questions about violence in movies, and in particular whether people who enjoy violence in movies also enjoy violence in real life, the director stated that he is not Murthy’s monkey and that he can’t be made to dance to that particular tune.

To be fair, he kinda has a point, as this line of questioning always comes up in his interviews. Then again, as horrific acts of violence erupt more often in public, and as Tarantino keeps releasing mass-marketed films containing horrific violence, aren’t these questions more relevant than ever?

I was actually expecting this interview to be worse, a potential storm-out situation (maybe it’s Murthy’s ever-so-level-headed British demeanour that keeps it together, or maybe I had too many expectations after Piers Morgan and Alex Jones), but as Quentin gleefully points out, the broadcasters are looking for any kind of controversy that will bring them more views, and in reality this television spot is just an elongated commercial for Django Unchained.

True enough, but I’m not sure if this particular commercial makes me wanna go and see it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a strong stomach for gore and “edgy” subject matter. It’s more about the director himself, and the cult that surrounds him, a cult which facilitates his often over-indulgent film-making. If the truth is that he actually CAN’T answer these questions, if he doesn’t even have a stock answer prepared, then why in hell should I sit through almost three hours of him working that shit out on a big screen?

Reservoir Dogs was one of the key movies that sparked my undying obsession with films and film-making, and I would still class it as one of my favorite films, so I have been there with the Tarantino idolation. As the years have gone by, as I have seen a shit-ton more films, and as I have gotten a lot older and a little wiser, I have been less and less impressed. British critic Mark Kermode absolutely nails the problems with Tarantino and his work in this review of Death Proof (ironically, the last Tarantino movie I enjoyed).

Essentially I feel that Tarantino is film-maker who has nothing to say. Nothing to say except for having seen more movies than you. And that’s not the best reason to be acclaimed as an auteur, and certainly not the best reason to begin tackling such weighty events as World War 2 and the slave trade.

But, hey, that’s just my opinion. And I probably will end up going to see Django Unchained, if only to make my mind up.

Enough about me though, what do you think?

Is Quentin Tarantino a genius film-maker? Was he right to “shut” Murthy’s “butt down” in this interview? Should he be expected to answer questions about violence in movies? Or is that not part of his responsibility as a director of violent movies?

Here’s the clip. After a tense start, the pan really boils over from the 4:30 mark:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile

 

 

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