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Context and a Movie: "Django Unchained"

Friday, January 04, 2013

Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz attend a screening of 'Django Unchained.' (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" has sparked conversation and controversy over its use of violence, portayal of slavery, and more. Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and author of The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters, discusses the film with Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest, now airing on WNYC. Plus: how "Lincoln" and "Django" treat slavery differently.

Guests:

Tricia Rose and Dana Stevens

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Comments [72]

@Roy. Ok I admit a graphically violent revenge fantasy violence is not a fantasy for me. I recognize that some people like this stuff but graphic violence and death is sickening, even when its entertainment (maybe that's worse). So therefore, I object deeply to Quentin Tarantino wrapping his splatter up with a cause. I just think it is a new marketing ploy for him, like, what other historical wrongs can be righted by turning them into blood soaked gore-fests? To me this is exploitation of a cause for something that I think is really dark and sickening in the first place.

Jan. 08 2013 06:05 PM
Roy from Queens, NY

@bkparent from Brooklyn: Are you serious? The movie's a revenge fantasy, despite being historically consciousness. In terms of progress, we have a long way to go if we don't acknowledge that we have a troubled past as a society. To pretend otherwise is childlish.

Jan. 06 2013 06:33 PM
bkparent from Brooklyn

I agree with those who comment on the culture of death and the sickness of graphic violence as entertainment. I experience only revulsion, and seeing the "good guy" getting revenge on a bad guy (or someone who looks like him) is just as revolting. How is this progress?

Jan. 05 2013 09:38 AM
KatKrazy from Norwalk, CT

I saw 'Lincoln' in a theater with a predominately white audience (including myself). But, as for the scene with Thaddeus Stevens and his love... I saw it the way Ladyj114 and Jenny from NYC did...I found it tender and revealing. What I took from it was that Stevens didn't celebrate with his colleagues, but waited until he was with the most important person in his life. No one on my audience (Norwalk, CT) laughed at that..there was just a chuckle when he removed his wig.

Jan. 04 2013 08:21 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

As the first caller stated and a point that is completely true for ALL Americans; because of our history and its continuance into the present day, we all share the inheritance of racism. Period.

Jan. 04 2013 03:41 PM

Any film aboutLincoln, salvery in the american south or the Civil War is to me BORING!Like wise, commemorating the emancipation proclamation or the defeat of the south is to me like celebrating the anniversary of when someone stopped abusing their wife.It's not even like the end of slavery in america was the first time in the world that slavery was recognized as wrong or that it was abolished.It's enough to recognize that the legacy of slavery led to jim crow and has stayed with us through this day[white privilege] -I don't need to see a film about how bad it was or an extrem revenge fantasy about it or about how it ended.Tarantino sounds like he has something in common with a Lanza and other extremely violent guys. His belief that there is violence that is bad and then there is extreme violence that is " COOL" is something a lanza and aurora and colorado shooter all could relate to.He has the saving grace of having an artistic outlet for what he calls "cool" extreme violence.I trust Spike Lee and his sensibilities. He's not going to see this film-neither am I.

Jan. 04 2013 03:19 PM
Roy from Queens, New York

@joe from bayside Sam's role was dead-on, and Tarantino created a great mirror opposite of Jules from "Pulp Fiction". I haven't seen "Bamboozled", but I plan to.

Jan. 04 2013 01:33 PM
Roy

"To Roy from Queens: it was gratifying to read your agreement. I think we can't always expect to "learn" something larger from a film. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. I didn't expect any big idea from Django going in. Maybe that's important - expectations. BTW, what did you think of a white writer and director creating the Samuel Jackson character?"

Jan. 04 2013 01:12 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - Perhaps but many of the founders of Israel came from states that had strong traditions of civil society and at best, the rule of law - critical for a successful democracy. Yes, a cohesive Jewish identity has helped, Although - I can't remember there ever being a Sephardi Prime Minister but that's another story.

Jan. 04 2013 01:00 PM
Joe from Bayside

Roy - I know what you mean and it's legit. As an Italian American I like to joke about "guidoes" "gumbas" the mafia,etc. It's ok if I do it.But I don't like the depiction on "Jersey Shore" - not because it's inaccurate but because people might come away thinking ALL Italians are like that. The same is true for the idea about The Shore itself. We have a summer home down the shore and we still hear stuff about "Joisy". ( My wife says that's fine - keeps the jerks away). Mind you, I don't get real upset about any of this - it's more that I simply notice when things are said.
On the same subject: Did you see spike Lee's "Bamboozled"? what did you think? I thought it was one of his best, but I'm curious if I as a white man I saw it the same way as a black person might have.

Jan. 04 2013 12:53 PM
oscar from ny

@Roy,
Me either,...but i feel the Jew directors exercise more freedom with this, like the show "family guy"..sort of like in school Latin kids use the n word easier than whites,..i feel that because they're Jewish they can get away with extremities in anything or in the theater and the ppl will love them for it...
I watched the movie Lincoln and i thought it wad a tad boring but i might have learned a thing or 2..

Jan. 04 2013 12:39 PM
Joe from Bayside

To Roy from Queens: it was gratifying to read your agreement. I think we can't always expect to "learn" something larger from a film. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. I didn't expect any big idea from Django going in. Maybe that's important - expectations. BTW, what did you think of a white writer and director creating the Samuel Jackson character?

Jan. 04 2013 12:38 PM
Roy from Queens, NY

@Joe from Bayside

I agree with you. However, with "Django", Tarantino's handling a subject that's still a controversial subject to be discuss in American society. The reason why African-Americans (well, half of them, really) are upset with Tarantino because he's white (half-Native American, really) and has
a cinematic fanboy view when behind the camera. How come Jewish-Americans didn't get upset with him for "Basterds"? Maybe they have some influence in society when not of lot of African-Americans don't.

Like I noted before in an earlier post, I'm an African-American male, but also a fanboy. So, I have no problem with Tarantino handling the subject of slavery. It should have been handled a long time ago by a straight-forward African-American filmmaker, but I think it's going to take a future filmmaker from a future generation to handle it.

Jan. 04 2013 12:25 PM
James O'Barr from Cold Spring, NY

This was an absolutely invaluable discussion, on a subject that continues to be taboo in American culture. I am white, and for the past several years I have been a volunteer in New York's prisons, currently as director of a theatre program founded by prisoners. Every week I experience the results of what Michelle Alexander has aptly called "The New Jim Crow," which in my opinion is the continuation of our sick, broken, and unhealed racial politics by other means. I haven't seen either film yet, but will do soon, enriched by this conversation. I don't doubt that both films are flawed, imperfect works, but I believe they represent an effort to see our tragic racial history more clearly, as we muddle our way towards truth and reconciliation. If you saw the musical, "Memphis", you may remember the song, 'Change Don't Come Easy'. But if we want to 'live long and prosper' as a culture and as a people, the racism that's in our bones will have to go.

Jan. 04 2013 12:20 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

No, Israel did it because Jews never lost their national identity or connection to that faraway land. It is built into the tribal religion. And Judaism is a TRIBAL not universal religion.
So when Jews from 144 different nations came together in the Land of Israel, despite unbelievable adversity at every level, a relatively successful state was forged under constant fire. Jewish tribal identity built into the fabric of the religion is the reason why Israel successfully exists.

Jan. 04 2013 12:18 PM

@Fred from Bushwick:

In regards to Lincoln, the relationship between Thaddeus Stevens (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and Lydia Hamilton Smith (played by S. Epatha Merkerson) is interesting. She is his "housekeeper" but that was the only "role" Smith could have in the 19th century. If she was white, she'd be his wife. And almost all wives, both white and black, were essentially housekeepers in the 19th century. So my perception of that scene was a bit different.

But I see how it was "funny" to those whites that attended the showing at BAM. Its not just the fact that the audience couldn't understand anything but the white master/black slave relationship. Its also the fact that BAM is in the heart of Brownstone Brooklyn and many of these residents hire Black female housekeepers and nannies. The thought of an upperclass White man being romantically involved with the "help" is something that is inconceivable. But many Blacks, including yourself, myself and the women in the theater with you, understand how real such a situation is.

Moreover, its always interesting to see what Blacks and Whites find humorous in film. I won't forget seeing "Bowling for Columbine" in Manhattan. There were three Blacks in the theater, myself included. When the cartoon "A Brief History of the US" appeared during the movie, the Blacks thought it was hysterical. But there was not one hint of laughter out of any of the Whites in the theater. The depiction of American violence by Whites in a satirical cartoon was uncomfortable to that audience, but it reflected the experience of racism and oppression that Black people over the history of this country.

Yet, I was the only Black person in the theater when I went to see "Tyson" - a first person documentary narrated by Mike Tyson in 2008. The part that everyone found funny, except for myself, was when Tyson speaks about how he couldn't go visit South Africa because of past parole conditions. I still don't understand what was so funny about that, but I understood the limitations of parole and how it negatively affects the parolee, the parolee's family and even society it self.

Jan. 04 2013 12:06 PM
Joe from Bayside

I think too many are reading far too much into this and other Tarantino films. They're like comic books - visually great to look at, interesting characters, gratuitous violence, yes, but so unreal that it's not so disturbing ( the dogs/ D'Artagnan scene aside ). Tarantino is a lover of films, especially films of his youth: spaghetti westerns, kung-fu and heist films. I think he's trying to have fun; i.e., he makes films in genres he likes with references to former films - including elements of famous scenes ( the 3 way standoff in "Good, Bad, Ugly" or the fiery head from "wizard of Oz") and with better written stories. Forget about complete accuracy. He took liberties with killing off Hitler in "Inglorious Bastards" but so what. It was an enjoyable film. I thing he is only trying to make well crafted 2 hours of cinematic enjoyment. The critics comments about the proto-Klan conversation about their hoods made me chuckle. Tarantino usually includes some dialogue about mundane things ( le grande royale in Pulp or whether or not to tip a waitress in Resevoir Dogs ) and I'm one fan who comes to look for those scenes. It's just for fun.
I saw "Lincoln" as well and enjoyed it also but for different reasons.. As Brian said it had excellent acting and a good story but maybe it was too much of a hagiography. And Speilberg is almost always too sentimental, Schindler's List being an exception. Yet, he'll get less criticism, because his work seems to be more "serious".

Jan. 04 2013 12:01 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, we will all benefit from factual, entertaining, well-made films about Nat Turner, John Brown, Haiti, Sojourner Truth, and many, many other under-explored episodes in black history -- told from a (self-determined) black perspective.
Course, the major challenge here is in financing/resources, given that blacks are still dealing with the financial impact of centuries of socioeconomic terror.
'Tis a catch-22.

Jan. 04 2013 12:01 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - I appreciate your thesis but I would respectfully disagree. Israel, the US and other "successful" states have have done it.

Haiti became too "free" too soon - unlike Israel, the US, and other colonies that won their independence, Haiti had no major power to protect it. Hence, it was doomed to fail - from outside meddling.

Jan. 04 2013 12:00 PM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Why keep re telling this story? Is this the only way to make a Black movie? Why not a new western or Sci Fi movie about the jewish holocaust? For obvious reasons right? Directors should feel the same pause about the Black holocaust.

Jan. 04 2013 11:52 AM
Roy from Queens, NY

Marc: You're so right. Though some people thought it was light in tone, I liked "Red Tails".

Jan. 04 2013 11:50 AM
The Truth from Becky

My last comment was edited...and that is why it looks weird, that's ok because I am aware of who is doing the editing, also descendants?

Jan. 04 2013 11:49 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG - I'm not surprised, if I were Jewish - I would be rolling my eyes, most of that movie.

Jan. 04 2013 11:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

No, the real reason, IMO, why Haiti and many other black states have failed is because different people from different tribes and black nations were mixed together and lost their individual national and tribal identities. When you mix Irish and English, and Germans and French together, you don't have a distinct identity even if they do all have white skin. YOu only get a generic "white" identity. Same when you mix black African tribal members who came with different ethnic cultures, languages, religions, and mix them all together all you get at best is some "black" identity. But identity based purely on skin color is only skin deep.

Jan. 04 2013 11:42 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I only saw Lincoln. I don't think he came off as "angelic," but intellectual and thoughtful, which is what I like to see in a President.

I also did not see Thaddeus Stevens' relationship as movie trickery of any kind. Thomas Jefferson had five children with Sally Hemmings and I got the impression here that Mr. Stevens' personal relationship with an African-American woman was meant to let us know that the mixed race relationship was something that took place throughout history. No doubt it affected his politics, but doesn't getting to know any individual affect our lives in more ways than one?

Joe from New York: Thanks for the grammar check. People speak so badly these days.

Jan. 04 2013 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

Wait for it....waiting for someone white to say.."Africans traded their own into slavery" yes, we know and we don't expect t either. I really dislike the hip hop connection to this film...again Tarantino's connects.

Jan. 04 2013 11:39 AM
Ron from Amherst, MA

When I saw the scene between Stevens and his housekeeper in bed, I did not find it cheap. Why is sex always considered cheap by critics? I do wish more of their relationship had been shown, but much of the film was meant, I think, to encourage us to wonder at how much longer it has taken to achieve real equality. I also wondered if Kushner was trying to draw a parallel with the current civil rights struggle in the gay community, in which taboo sexual relationships are also delegitimized by current law.

Jan. 04 2013 11:39 AM
Marc

Didn't George Lucas recently say about getting "Red Tails" made, he had to fund it himself to get the movie made and to tell the story of these brave men in our history.. because there was absolutely no interest in Hollywood.

Jan. 04 2013 11:39 AM
Luna

I agree that many times as an African American I see and hear a lot of whites basically saying that blacks should just "get over" slavery. I live in the South though so there could be a difference in mentality for southern whites. I don't understand why blacks need to get over something that actually happened. It's not like someone cut in a Black Friday line. That's something you let go history is something you study and attempt to do have happen again.

Jan. 04 2013 11:37 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG...HA - you answered your own question. John from office will disagree but Haiti was a failed state the day it became "free" - because the powers that be had to make sure it failed, to send a message.

Jan. 04 2013 11:36 AM

john from office and jgarbuz from Queens ~

Your nuanced contributions to the conversation are absolutely illuminating.

Jan. 04 2013 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Sheldon

I definitely did NOT enjoy "Inglorious Basterds" nor even "Defiance" which claimed to be a bit more accurate by having a Scottish actor, Daniel Craig(007), play the role of Bielsky. Having grown up knowing real Jewish partisan fighters after the war, I know that all movies are just silly entertainment. Art never imitates life. It is just a parody of it.

Jan. 04 2013 11:33 AM
Topiary from Brooklyn, NY

One of the things that I really appreciated about Django was the German abolitionist... as a Jewish person, I really didn't want to see "Inglorious Basterds" but then when I did see it, I loved it and I think that "Django" is a kind of follow up to that movie, (which is a kind of historical retribution for WW2 movie stereotypes (including Spielberg's in "Schindler's List") about Jews being victims) -- and here he in a way is ALSO undoing a kind of stereotype of German racism - to use the German abolitionist figure.

Interesting that both films have their kind of Spielberg analog -- I really appreciated some of "Lincoln" but couln't stand the 'grateful negro' stereotypes.

Jan. 04 2013 11:32 AM
Jenny from NYC

fyi, Stevens had a 26-year relationship with his housekeeper. The only reason they didn't marry was because it was illegal at the time. I do wish we had seen more of that in the movie, but I don't think it was a huge surprise. I may have learned it at some point in school, but I certainly suspected it and was not surprised at all to see the relationship.

I also think people were laughing at the bald head of Tommy Lee Jones, not at them in bed together.

Jan. 04 2013 11:32 AM
Joe from New York

Please: "Reveal" is not a noun. The word you're looking for is "revelation."

Jan. 04 2013 11:32 AM
Paul from Brooklyn

The final caller and Brian mentioning "Birth of a Nation" is interesting, as the music cue as the Klansmen ride to kill Django is an obvious nod to that movie, giving a context in relation to cinema history and race. Just taking this example it is impossible to write off Tarantino as rehashing of genre tropes. His work, especially his last two films, have been multi-layered discussions about race, history, and culture in relation to a modern media landscape.

Jan. 04 2013 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Ivan

I agree. The slave revolt that freed AFrican slaves of Haiti and created the first independent black state in the Americas is a great story that has never been really told on film, to the best of my knowledge.

Alas, the reasons why that country unfortunately became a perennialy failed state is another question for a follow up movie. It's another question that has to explored via cinema.

Jan. 04 2013 11:28 AM
Lutonya from Westchester

I think Django has made some uncomfortable because it does depict what many slave might have wanted to do but didn't. Yes it was violent and i covered my eyes in many parts, but slavery was violent...daily...for so many Black people for hundreds of years. It was cathartic for this proud descendant of slaves. I really don't understand what people were expecting.

Jan. 04 2013 11:27 AM
Fred from Bushwick

One of the things I found odd/upsetting when I saw "Lincoln" at BAM as a Black person in the midst of a predominantly White audience, was at then end of the film when Tommy Lee Jones' character is seen in his pajamas and retiring to bed and the camera pans to show his Black housekeeper is seated in the bed with him in her nightgown reading the 13th Amendment, was the laughter that broke out. There were two older Black women in front of me, and they turned to me as if to say "where's the joke?" It was as if the audience had no clue to inter-racial relationships in the 19th century that weren't master and slave.

Jan. 04 2013 11:27 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Has anybody made a movie on John Brown?

Jan. 04 2013 11:27 AM
kate from Montclair

Read the "Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass" yesterday Quentin can not compare to the "Christian" use of violence that Douglass experiences and saw in his own life.

Jan. 04 2013 11:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

Have not seen it will not see it, do not see Tarantino films as a personal choice, after Pulp Fiction I knew, I would never see anything he made...

Why does the Academy and other such institutions reward this kind of material? (The questions is Rhetorical)

Jan. 04 2013 11:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

And we are told that violent video games are supposedly bad for youth while even gorier Tarantino films are touted as "art."

Jan. 04 2013 11:24 AM
fuva from harlemworld

John from the office equates violence against the enslaved and violence against the enslavers...

Jan. 04 2013 11:24 AM
ivan from QUEENS

MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT THE SLAVE REVOLUTION IN HAITI. THAT'S THE REAL THING.
AND WE ARE STILL PAYING FOR IT. BUT WE FEEL POWERFUL.

Jan. 04 2013 11:24 AM
Roy from Queens

Lisa: Dr. Schultz was in it for the money, but when he saw the runaway slave being torn apart by dogs, he chose to be more noble.

Oscar: Do you know the difference between real violence and cinematic violence? Quentin does. I'm not sure if you don't.

Jan. 04 2013 11:24 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

JG, one man's junk is another man's ...

As much I enjoyed inglourious bastards with Christoph Waltz's brilliant acting, I couldn't get over the annoying, feel good revisionism of Hiltler's alternate ending, in Nazi occupied Europe.

Based on the trailer, I'm not sure that I can stomach the same again with Django, regarding slavery.

Jan. 04 2013 11:23 AM

I feel like it's a more than a little nauseating that a white dude exploits a racially-charged subject like slavery to express his "quirky" (read: blood worship) "vision".

Part of the problem is, the fine line of dark humor Tarantino successfully walked with Inglorious Bastards whilst dealing with Nazi genocide was FAR less successful in Django. I also feel the "vengeance revelry" was far more satisfying with Inglorious Bastards. These are script/directing failures. They do not address the overarching notion of a pompous white "auteur" using such a racially-charged subject matter to further his gun violence/gore fest/dark humor esthetic. Let's be clear, Tarantino is FAR more concerned about his vision/film career than he is the subject of slavery or race relations. Let's not confuse the pretense of moral outrage with the blatant expression of ambition. I think the conversation of slavery need to be had, I'm just not sure that Tarantino is the guy to be leading the conversation.

The third observation I have is the subject of gun violence in the wake of Newtown (and ALL of the MANY other gun tragedies that occur everyday). I know this has been successful for me in past Tarantino films but, this time around I had to really reconsider. I'm finding gun violence far less appealing regardless of the moral intention.

Jan. 04 2013 11:23 AM
john from office

Brian covered his ears when the offensive N word was uttered.

Jan. 04 2013 11:22 AM
JT from LI

There's a lot of discussion here about Tarantino's intent, research, etc. This segment would be better if he were here to discuss his work with the other guests.

Jan. 04 2013 11:21 AM
John A.

Onair: "I'm not sure Tarantino has thought it through." Amen.

Jan. 04 2013 11:17 AM
USCDADNYC from Queens NY

I loved Jamie Foxx in "The Soloist" I love QT's films (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, etc). After the Sandy Hook School Shooting, I saw (on TV) a PSA w/ Jamie Foxx touting for more Gun Regulation. A little Disingenuous if ask me.

Jan. 04 2013 11:17 AM
Arlo from Manhattan

There is no evidence slave "gladiatorial games" with fights to the death, according to the recent Slate investigation on the topic (12/24/2012). Tarantino creates this to pump up his sadistic retribution fantasy.

Jan. 04 2013 11:16 AM
Monroe Smith from Greenwich Village

Does anybody remember the 1970's movie "Billy Jack" and his violent defense of Native Americans?

Jan. 04 2013 11:16 AM
john from office

Always interesting to hear white liberals like Brian speak about anything involving african americans. Gee great to see whites getting killed, bad to see violence against slaves.

Jan. 04 2013 11:16 AM
Lisa

I thought the change in personality of the Dutch bounty hunter from the beginning to the end of the movie was important. Could you please comment on his almost downfall?

Jan. 04 2013 11:16 AM
Yosif from manhattan

What about the morality of him "killing" the runaway mandingo fighter?

Jan. 04 2013 11:15 AM
Ashley from Brooklyn

Went to Django with a friend who happens to be black. His reaction was poignant and comical. He said "that is how to deal with white guilt. Quentin, I accept your apology."

Jan. 04 2013 11:15 AM

If Tricia Rose is right, why can't Tarantino make a film about a real person — Nat Turner?

Jan. 04 2013 11:14 AM

what is the effect on young minds watching violent porn

Jan. 04 2013 11:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Tarantino should make a sequel to Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" where Jesus after Resurrection comes back with a machine gun and slaughers the Jewish Priests and Roman centurions! That would be blast, watching Jesus blow away the heads of those Jews and Romans! Now that would be real Tarantino-Gibson flic I'd pay money to see.

Jan. 04 2013 11:14 AM

Here is Ishmael Reed writing in the Wall Street Journal. He has not one word to recommend Tarantino.

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/12/28/black-audiences-white-stars-and-django-unchained/

Jan. 04 2013 11:13 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Didn't see Django yet, but saw Lincoln. The latter incorrectly portrayed black folk as passive. And it seems Quentin...does not.

And yes, any commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation MUST (hint. hint, WNYC...) address the ongoing effects of enslavement and terror, and how to counteract them.

Jan. 04 2013 11:12 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Tarantino makes bloody junk and calls it art. The only reason why this guy gets any credibility is that his bloody junk makes money. And in America, for better or for worse, money is all that counts, the bloodier the better.

Jan. 04 2013 11:04 AM
Oscar from ny

I listened to Mr Tarantinos interview with Terry G, and he got irritated when Terry taunted him at the fact that he uses gore; at a time when America is feeling so fragile about this..

Jan. 04 2013 10:32 AM

culture of death

Jan. 04 2013 10:15 AM
Roy from Queens, NY

Also, I did see "Django Unchained" and I hope to see it again late this month.

Jan. 04 2013 10:02 AM
Roy from Queens, NY

Ed, how old are you? Four?

I was lucky to read the film's script BEFORE it was filed. I came away with the question: why wasn't this film made earlier?

In a perfect world, Mr. Tarantino, with his exploitative, cinematic fanboy reputation, would be the last person assigned to handle a hot-button topic that angers African-Americans. It's not a perfect world, however, and I, an African-American background actor, struggling screenwriter and fanboy, applaud Mr. Tarantino for "striking the iron while it's hot" while shaking my head in shame at those who are shamelessly jealous, like that unofficial male cheerleader for the NY Knicks, who weren't quick on the draw.

Also, there's the upcoming "Twelve Years A Slave" handles slavery in a serious fashion. It's true the subject isn't meant to be in a "Sergio Leone film", but it's an ugly part of American history that has to be talked about, and we are.

As for "Lincoln", I haven't seen it, but I know abolitionist Frederick Douglass isn't mentioned in it.
I wonder why...

Jan. 04 2013 09:47 AM
Benjamin V. Marshall from Plainfield, NJ


Last night, my adult niece and I watched an old Shirley Temple movie "The Littlest Rebel." My niece had already seen "Django Unchained" and liked it unfazed by the use of the 'N' word. I’ve not yet seen it but plan to. I had to explain to her some of the offensive terms that were casually used in the Shirley Temple movie, who the performers were, why the black women were costumed the way they were, etc. Whereas the Temple movie, used the stellar black performers of Bill Robinson and Stepin Fetchit (who was uncredited) to perpetuate racial and social stereotypes, the Tarrentino movie seems to create a movie of revenge in the mode of the spaghetti western. Both employ cultural fantasies and both denigrate historical and societal truths for a public that is increasingly impatient to deal with any actual history.

Jan. 04 2013 09:43 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Oh, I'm soooooo mad I didn't go see this yesterday, as planned....

Jan. 04 2013 09:37 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The word I was looking for was depraved.

Jan. 04 2013 08:05 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One finds oneself in a conundrum. Movies such as these, Tarantino, have wonderful acting, which one wants to watch. But they are pornographically violent and nihilistic in content, horrible, so one can't watch them. (Is this one any different? I doubt it.)

Jan. 04 2013 05:32 AM

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