Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quentin Tarantino

After watching a bunch of Quentin Tarantino movies, it was easy to see what a huge fan he was of the rich history of film. I also guessed that he has a lot of fans who missed all the cool references and hat tips he gave to directors of days gone by. 

In Kill Bill, both one and two - he honors so many of the great Japanese film makers of the 1950s and 1960s. Yes, of course there are short segments in most of his films which recall the work of Akira Kurosawa, and Kill Bill is no exception. Go and watch Yojimbo, Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood and you will see what I mean. But, did you notice in the final scene of Kill Bill 1, how the fight scene recalled Hiroshi Inagaki's final fight scene in Samurai III, Duel at Ganyru Island. And also, for good measure - a nod to Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan, Women of the Snow. Trust me, if you are familiar with some of these Japanese film classics, the Kill Bill series will be much more fun to watch. 

Or take another Tarantino film, Inglorious Bastards. Do you remember the part about how film used to be made of nitrate and was highly combustible? And then there was a shot of a little boy carrying some films, and a policeman not allowing him on the bus? Well - guess what. That scene came from a terrific and very suspenseful movie from the great Sir Alfred Hitchcock called Sabotage. And that scene with little Stevie carrying the film, which was rigged to be a bomb was so good. Awesome good. In the Tarantino movie, the shot lasted about 10 seconds, but if you had the benefit of having already seen Sabotage, that whole episode added immensely to the beauty of the Tarantino film. And if you have never seen a Leni Riefenstahl film, you would not appreciate the ambiguity of what a great director she was, and also - how creepy to be doing this high art for the Nazis of World War II Germany. 

The bottom line with any Quentin Tarantino movie - the more you know and appreciate film history, the more enjoyable it will be to experience a Tarantino film.