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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
TARANTINO ON COUNTING DOWN TO 'SCARFACE'
"WHEN DE PALMA WOULD COME OUT WITH A NEW MOVIE, I WOULD COUNT DOWN THE DAYS"


Thank you to Antonios for sending us the link to the video above, in which Quentin Tarantino speaks at a press conference last week at the Cannes Film Festival. At about the 9:27 mark, while answering a question about dealing with pressure amidst expectations of each new film he makes, Tarantino mentions how, when he was younger, he would wait with heightened anticipation for each new Brian De Palma film. Vulture has a pretty good transcription of what Tarantino said, but the video above shows that certain points were left out (such as when Tarantino talks about how he would have "Scarface dreams," he adds that that was easy to do, having seen the original Howard Hawks movie). Anyway, here's the excerpt from Vulture:

When asked if he finds it harder and harder to top himself as he gets more famous and established, Tarantino said it's not something he thinks about. "Frankly, it’s not a pressure I ever feel because, to me, that should always be there. I want people to expect a lot from me. I want people waiting with great expectation for my next movie." It makes him feel connected with directors he grew up idolizing. "I mean, when Brian De Palma would come out with a new movie, the whole first two weeks before the movie opened, I would count down the days. That week before Scarface opened, that was Scarface Week. You know, 'Six more days to Scarface!' 'Five more days to Scarface!' I’d have Scarface dreams ... And then the new De Palma movie would open. I’d go see the first show, the first day, and no one could come with me. I had to see it by myself. Then I’d ruminate about the film all day long and then I’d go to see the midnight show that night, and then I could actually have some friends with me. That kind of excitement for a filmmaker is one of the things that keeps filmmaking alive, and vital, just like in Bob Dylan’s time waiting for Bob Dylan’s next album. Or in Norman Mailer’s time waiting for his new novel. I don’t consider that pressure. I consider that a luxury, that I actually have people who like my stuff and are waiting for the new one. I wouldn’t want it any other way. The opposite of what you’re talking about is I’m making a movie and no one gives a damn and it opens up and no one cares. That would be horrible."


Posted by Geoff at 3:35 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:36 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
DE PALMA & TARANTINO IN CONVERSATION, 1994
ONE-HOUR BBC VIDEO ON TARANTINO, "HOLLYWOOD'S BOY WONDER"


The 1994 BBC video above includes an excerpt from a conversation between Quentin Tarantino and Brian De Palma. A transcript of the full conversation appears in the John Boorman-edited Projections 5, as well as in Brian De Palma: Interviews, edited by Laurence F. Knapp. Prior to the excerpt, Tarantino shows a scene from De Palma's Casualties Of War (which he says is probably his favorite war movie), describing how he watched the film while he was writing Reservoir Dogs as sort of a guide for the emotions of his film. Tarantino also flips through his De Palma scrapbook for the camera. (And you'll note that the video begins with music from Blow Out, followed by soundtrack clips from the other two movies Tarantino named at the time (along with Blow Out) as his three favorite movies, Taxi Driver and Rio Bravo.)

Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 7:35 PM CDT
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Monday, February 7, 2011
'EVERYTHING IS A REMIX'
VIDEO PROJECT LEADS TO FOCUS ON KILL BILL, & DE PALMA'S SPLIT SCREENS

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

The above video (I can't seem to get the embed code to work, so you'll have to click on the link above to watch), Everything Is A Remix by Kirby Ferguson, is part two of a planned four-part series that explores culture as a perpetual remix of previous (and current) culture. Part one focuses on the consistently recycled bassline from Chic's Good Times before delving into Led Zeppelin and the birth of "heavy metal." In the recently completed part two, above, Ferguson discusses how movies cannot help but be a product of films that came before, and he spends a good deal of time on a well-researched and edited montage of George Lucas' Star Wars, noting several of Lucas' influences with side-by-side comparisons. At the end of the video, Ferguson touches on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, which he deems Tarantino's "remix master thesis."

"The killer nurse scene in particular is almost entirely a recombination of elements from existing films," states Ferguson, who narrates the videos. "The basic action is the same as this scene from Black Sunday, where a woman disguised as a nurse attempts to murder a patient with a syringe of red fluid. Darryl Hannah’s eye patch is a nod to the lead character in They Call Her One Eye, and the tune she’s whistling is taken from the 1968 thriller, Twisted Nerve. Capping it off, the split screen effect is modeled on techniques used by Brian De Palma in an assortment of films, including Carrie."

I wrote a comment on Ferguson's blog to say that this sequence in Kill Bill Vol. 1 always seems to give me a tinge of De Palma's Dressed To Kill in the mix, as well, especially regarding the scene in the latter where Bobbi kills the nurse and steals her clothes. Something about the fetishistic aspect of Tarantino's shots touches on this. In any case, Robert Grigsby Wilson was recruited by Ferguson to complete the study on Kill Bill, and you can watch that one below.* (And speaking of Carrie, I think one can make a case for that De Palma film being included in the mash-up of the scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2 where the Bride (Uma Thurman) punches her fist from the grave.)

*(Again, I can't get the embed code to work, so click the link below to watch the Kill Bill remix.)

 

Everything Is A Remix: KILL BILL from robgwilson.com on Vimeo.


Posted by Geoff at 9:51 PM CST
Updated: Monday, February 7, 2011 10:11 PM CST
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Monday, February 8, 2010
TARANTINO ON DIRECTOR RIVALRIES
RECOUNTS DE PALMA'S "THERE'S ALWAYS SCORSESE" STORY

The video above comes courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells, who attended a "Directors On Directing" panel yesterday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The panel, moderated by Variety's Peter Bart, featured Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels, Pete Docter, and Todd Phillips. The clip above shows Tarantino going into the anecdote he has told before about the De Palma/Scorsese rivalry, but he really plays it up this time in a highly entertaining way. Speaking of Scorsese, an interview article by Terrence Rafferty published yesterday in the New York Times discusses how, for the new Shutter Island, Scorsese and his music supervisor Robbie Robertson decided to use modern classical music to paint bursts of sound walls, the way Scorsese usually uses rock music. Should be an interesting effect-- looking forward to seeing it.

Posted by Geoff at 10:26 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:35 PM CST
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009




Posted by Geoff at 1:02 AM CDT
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
TARANTINO AT HIS INGLOURIOUS BEST
OR, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY BACK FROM NAZI-OCCUPIED FRANCE


As far as I'm concerned, Inglourious Basterds is one of the main reasons Quentin Tarantino was called upon to make movies. 

(By the way, if you care about SPOILERS, read no further.)

From the time I saw Inglourious Basterds for the first time this past Saturday, one image that keeps sticking in my mind is one of the last images in the film-- the "Little Man" dutifully scalping a just-killed Nazi, looking up at Lt. Aldo Raine to answer the latter's semi-rhetorical question about the unacceptable possibility that Hans Lando might eventually remove his Nazi uniform. The "Little Man" (as the Nazis have nicknamed him) exudes a Hawksian professionalism in his scalping of the Nazi, and barely blinks when distracted momentarily by Raine's question, as if he is doing nothing less mundane than, say, preparing a salad, or tying a shoe. He's done this somewhere around a hundred times or more during this war, and has obviously become quite good at it.

Perfecting a practice or proccess is a major theme that runs through Inglourious Basterds, and it extends to Tarantino himself. When Raine puts the finishing touches on Lando and claims that this scar, which he has been perfecting by practicing on various subjects throughout his mission, may just be his masterpiece, the next thing we see is the credit that says the film was written and directed by Tarantino. This is the film where Tarantino knows he has reached a pinnacle of what he can do with his work—he knows what he did with Death Proof, he knows what the view of his oeuvre is by various factions of critics, and he knows exactly what he is doing with Inglourious Basterds. In this film, the next best thing to being told by the Führer that you may indeed have just done your best work yet (a proclamation which brings Tarantino's version of Joseph Goebbels to hilariously maudlin tears) is knowing that, indeed, the Führer of your own mind knows you may have just completed your own best work.

But there are masterpieces, and then there are masterpieces-- Shoshanna's suicide-mission of a film is a masterpiece on a whole different level, creating a work of revenge by filming her announcement of death to the Nazis who have gathered in her theater, and splicing that announcement into the middle of the exhilarating climax of Goebbels' masterpiece, "Nation's Pride" (this film-within-the-film, a parody of Nazi propaganda, was in real life directed by Eli Roth). The Nazis stand up and shout at the screen when Shoshanna's face and voice interrupt the drama of their war hero. Just as Shoshanna gets her own (posthumous, as it turns out) revenge on cinema by having created her own jarring cinema, Tarantino gets his cinematic revenge on Paul Schrader by giving a proper home to David Bowie's theme from Schrader's Cat People. The song itself (subtitled Putting Out Fire), which in the new film becomes a theme for Shoshanna, is a bit jarring to the viewer, especially as it brings to mind a completely different film and genre. Tarantino had been disappointed by the way Schrader had thrown the song over the closing credits to Cat People. Tarantino told Miami Herlad film critic Rene Rodriguez, "I remember working at the Video Archives at the time and thinking 'If I had a song like that for my movie, I'd build a 20-minute scene around it!' So I guess I did."

Those are just some initial thoughts I have on the film from seeing it once-- perhaps I will write more on it later. Suffice it to say, the film is worth seeing again.

DE PALMA REFERENCES
Scenes in the climax, where everybody is locked inside the theater as it is burning, do indeed have the look (and sometimes the feel) of the prom-on-fire climax of Brian De Palma's Carrie, especially the colors. A commentor on this blog, "LUU" from France, also noted the Carrie similarities, and then added:

In the projection room, at the end, there is an hommage to Blow Out, the image of Travolta sitting in front of a pile of films. When Shoshanna opened a door the camera goes through the wall just like in Blow Out. There is also this mythical image of "Scarface shooting people" at the very end. (And probably Femme Fatale).

I am not sure what he meant by the Femme Fatale reference, but there you have it.


Posted by Geoff at 12:41 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, August 28, 2009 3:17 AM CDT
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Friday, August 21, 2009
TARANTINO ON THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Posted by Geoff at 3:37 AM CDT
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Thursday, August 20, 2009
TARANTINO'S TOP 20 FILMS OF PAST 17 YEARS
COMPARES "FRIENDLY RIVALRY" WITH ANDERSON TO DE PALMA/SCORSESE
At left, Quentin Tarantino lists his 20 favorite films to come out since he made his first feature, Reservoir Dogs, 17 years ago. In talking about the list to Straight.com's Ian Caddell, Tarantino compares the "friendly rivalry" between himself and Paul Thomas Anderson to that between Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese:

“I actually made it a point to write down my favourite films of the last 17 years, which is when I started directing, and I am happy to say it was hard to break it down to 20,” Tarantino recalls during an interview in a Los Angeles hotel room. “I was delighted to find I wanted to have at least 30. I had to make some tough decisions. I think that shows there are a lot of great filmmakers out there doing terrific work. The one who immediately comes to mind is Paul Thomas Anderson. I feel that I am [Marlon] Brando to his Montgomery Clift. Brando was better because he knew Montgomery Clift was out there, and Clift was better because he knew fucking Brando was always there.

“I remember when I met Brian De Palma, who was always a hero of mine, and he was saying that he had a friendly rivalry with Martin Scorsese. He was shooting Scarface, and on one of his days off he went to see Raging Bull. He said that just seeing that classic opening shot with the rain and the slow motion of Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta dancing, he thought, ‘There is always Scorsese. No matter how well you do and how good you think you are, there is always Scorsese staring back at you.’”

Tarantino was a fan of unique filmmaking styles before he ever directed a movie himself, and that holds true today. He says that while he may be Brando to Anderson’s Clift, there are several other contemporaries who have made an impression on him. “I really like some of the directors who have come along in the last two decades—people like Paul and Rick Linklater and Robert Rodriguez, and not just because they are friends. I am not friends with David Fincher but I love his work. I think right now the most exciting cinema in the world is coming out of Korea. I think Memories of Murder and The Host by Bong Joon-ho will definitely be on that best-20 films list.”

BASTERDS SHOOTOUT RECALLS SCARFACE
Speaking of Scarface, The Oxford Times' Damon Smith states that Inglourious Basterds includes "a cinema shootout that conjures memories of Brian De Palma’s Scarface."


Posted by Geoff at 4:55 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:50 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
TARANTINO TALKS CAT PEOPLE
SCENE IN INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS REMINDS RODRIGUEZ OF DE PALMA
Miami Herald movie critic Rene Rodriguez interviewed Quentin Tarantino this past weekend for a piece that will run this Sunday. Rodriguez offers a preview in his blog, in which he asks Tarantino about his use of David Bowie's theme from Paul Schrader's Cat People remake, mentioning to the director that the scene in which the song is used reminded him of Brian De Palma:

Q: You once said that when you use a pop song in a movie, you want to use it in a way that will always remind people of your film whenever they hear it, so no other filmmaker can ever use it. In this movie, though, you use David Bowie's Cat People (Putting Out Fire), which was written for the 1982 Cat People remake.

A: I've always loved that song and I was always disappointed by how Paul Schrader used it in the movie. He didn't really use it; he threw it in over the closing credits. I remember working at the Video Archives at the time and thinking "If I had a song like that for my movie, I'd build a 20-minute scene around it!" So I guess I did.

Q: There's a really cool sense of dislocation when that song comes on, which still sounds so modern, yet we're in World War II France. It's one of my favorite sequences in the film. It reminded me of Brian De Palma, back when he was still good.

A: When I got the idea to use it, one of the things I liked is that the song was once removed and you already knew it from something else, as opposed to something that was written for the movie. You're listening to the lyrics of the song and you're watching Shoshanna [a character in the film played by Melanie Laurent] doing all this stuff, and you sit there thinking "Wow, this song was written for Cat People, but it's totally appropriate for Shoshanna's story!" It plays like an interior monologue for her.

A comment on the blog post from mrbluelouboyle reminds readers that Tarantino had courted the idea of casting Cat People's Natasha Kinski in Inglourious Basterds, which makes the choice of song seem less random than Rodriguez had originally considered.

WELLS: TARANTINO "HAS GONE BATSHIT CRAZY"
Meanwhile, Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells does not hold back in describing his contempt for Inglourious Basterds, stating, "I realize it's a Quentin movie that's basically about Quentin's bullshit, but -- I'm trying not to sound like a rabbi here -- Inglourious Basterds reeks of arrogance and sadism and indifference to the value of human life." Wells believes Tarantino has buried himself too deep inside own creative genius hype. Wells writes:

Inglourious Basterds is proof that QT has gone batshit crazy in the sense that he cares about nothing except his own backyard toys. He's gone creatively nuts in the same way that James Joyce, in the view of some critics, crawled too far into his own anus and headspace when he wrote Finnegan's Wake. All I know is that this is a truly empty and diseased film about absolutely nothing except the tip of that digit.


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 1:49 AM CDT
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Sunday, April 5, 2009
RESERVOIR FROGS

"WHEN TRUFFAUT MET TARANTINO"
The Financial Times' Nigel Andrews looks at the fifty-year anniversary of the French New Wave through a Quentin Tarantino lens, where Godard is "Mr. Red," Truffaut is "Mr. Pink," and Chabrol is "Mr. Black," etc. Andrews writes:

And no group portrait of the “Reservoir Frogs” is complete without the man known affectionately, as “Frog One”, after the mastermind in French Connection II. André Bazin, critic and essayist, mapped out a new direction for French cinema. He was valuable even in catalysing the energies of those who disagreed with him. His vision of a seamless realism based on the plan-séquence (uninterrupted take) so irritated Godard that it helped create the acts of defiance, like A Bout de Souffle, by which the pupil shook off the teacher.

Or, to maintain the metaphor, by which the new criminal shook off the old lag and mentor. For the New Wave was a crime: that was its beauty. It was an outrage against law, order and aesthetic decency. If you have doubts that that was its spirit and agenda, look at the films. See what a preponderance are stories involving crime. In their early years Godard, Truffaut and Chabrol could hardly pick up a camera without depicting robbery or violence. The overthrow of society and culture was both their missionary activity and their favourite story.


Posted by Geoff at 6:24 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, April 5, 2009 6:25 PM CDT
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