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DJANGO UNCHAINED - Anamorphic is Tarantino's preference - how DP Robert Richardson shot masterpiece 'spaghetti southern'


Andrew Reid

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Killer Joe is an excellent film.  It's far more reminiscent of his earlier works, like Cruising.  It's very subversive.  Amazingly so for a filmmaker of his vintage.  That he can still produce work that outrages so many people, I can only hope I'm half the filmmaker he is someday.

 

I saw this film at a fairly packed, late night screening at the Alamo Drafthouse.  It's very funny.  That was the aspect of the film that Mathew M. missed the first time he read the script and thought it was the most deplorable thing he'd ever read.  It took him a few days of stewing over the story before he took a look again.  There are practically no characters you can really like here, aside from Juno Temple's Dotty (she played Selina Kyle's roomie in The Dark Knight Rises), but she only gets a pass because...well...she's not all there.  Though she's obviously, from the trailer, a party to the crime being planned she's still an innocent who lacks judgment. 

 

What's truly subversive about this film isn't that it's a story of sociopathic, moronic red necks, it's that, in the final reel, the audience is made to pay and feel guilt for the hoots and laughs and cheers that they let out during the film that came before those final moments.  They're lured in and then, at the end of the fun house, they're shown a mirror.  Not everyone can take it and so, at "that moment" there will almost invariably be a few people who get up and leave the theater.  

 

Those people though, they're not of higher moral stuff.  They'll outrage and they'll cry for the film to be done away with or say it should have never been made.  But the truth is, if they made it that far they're no better than anyone who stayed.  No better than anyone who participated in its creation.  They're just self-righteous boobs.

 

 

oooh very nicely said VFX.  I knew you had it in you describing real world hypocrisy.  So next time don't get all conservative about a mere word such as ''Nigga'' when you know the context at hand, especially considering the fact that you live in Austin, Texas - the ''Dirty South'' where THE WORD is beyond flexible with today's generation both black and caucasian in everyday use.  

 

Emphasizing the word explicitly written as ''Nigger'' such as in Tarantino's films has its own justifications huh?  Both from a comedic and academic understanding?

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Image credits and further reading: Django Unchained / Robert Richardson at The American Cinematographer Magazine ~ Django Unchained echoes spaghetti westerns at Kodak camera and telev

Axel   Kids upbringing is a whole other debate.   Inglourious basterds was also shown ON TV where children can watch.   So lets separate this into how I feel.   Tarrantino films should not be

If Tarantino is subverting the traditional ideal of good / bad then he's doing so in a fictional portrayal of life, not reality. Films are a reflection of life and subverting the norm is part of art.

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I actually disagree and think it's great. Wouldn't say it's his best because in a way it could never beat Pulp Fiction at how fresh it felt when it came out, but in IB the opening scene alone is worth it, might be the best scene he's ever written/shot.

I'd hate to see it split into 2 movies, any evidence that's what QT wanted? Never heard anything about that.

 

It was a shame that they split Kill Bill into 2 movies in the first place, which was always meant to be just one.

 

It was in an interview with him, can't remember where. So the film would have been longer & given us more character development, which is where i feel the film is lacking - still a good film, just not his best.

 

@MarkM: Probably best if we agree to disagree. All points of view are valid, since we are autonomous beings with our own set of morals & taste preferences - that's what makes use so unique as a species. But just remember to keep telling yourself, "Its only a film, its only a film..."

 

@Everyone Else: The violence in film debate will rage on & on. There's no clear cut answer & only time will tell what the effects on society will be. Censorship, motivated by moral panic, just doesn't work - the Video Nasty farce in the UK is the prime example. Banning films just because you wouldn't watch them is not a good enough reason - shit i won't watch Titanic, but i wouldn't ban it! The ins & outs of the Video Nasty issue are quite complicated, but the real scandal was that the authorities did commission a professor at Oxford Poly to do research on the effects of dramatised violence on children & then when they didn't like what the results where they broke into his office & stole all the data (luckily he had some backups). They then took his findings & subverted them for their own cause - the worst case of this was claiming that 40% of all children under the age of 10 had seen a video nasty (the researchers had interviewed 10 kids & 4 claimed to have seen a VN - they also realised that those that had claimed this had lied).

Luckily for the UK, the Video Nasty bill was scrapped!

(Book - Video Nasties by Martin Barker)

 

We all have to understand that the film industry is a business & making money is its goal - its not something i like to admit, but facts are facts. All films exploit their audience to some degree, its just the way the industry works. This is not to say there aren't filmmakers that create great art, but the majority get caught up in the machine & make rubbish (that's from an artistic point of view).

There are films that should never see the light of day, but i choose not to watch them - after all it is my choice!

 

As far as children & TV is concerned, well there are films & programmes made for them that i find highly offensive! In fact, i'd go as far to say that the so-called safe stuff is far more damaging & worrying to the development of children, than say the possibility of them seeing a late night movie that was never meant for them.

I know that at the moment there is research being undertaken to try & understand the rise in abusive teenage relationships (rape & violence towards teenage girls is at dramatic levels). The results will be interesting, but where will the blame be placed? Role models, violence in the media, the over sexualisation of kids by the media, who knows?

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@MarkM: Probably best if we agree to disagree. All points of view are valid, since we are autonomous beings with our own set of morals & taste preferences - that's what makes use so unique as a species. But just remember to keep telling yourself, "Its only a film, its only a film..."

Thats quite offensive Bioskop Do you really believe that by undermining me in this way makes you look right? It just makes you look like a pontificating fool

 

You go on about self choice and how you are your own censor like that is a god given right You have no concept of being a part of a society and the responsibility that incurs. If people like you are left in charge of right and wrong Heaven help us all.

 

You alwys love to tar me with the self made slur that I am for censorship. For the billionth time I AM NOT. I am however for keeping our ideology that right is right and wrong is wrong. That doesnt mean a film has to have a hero that is right It could also mean hero that is wrong but then changes and gets punished for being wrong. Always coming back to the idea that good and right prevails and are the right values. The idea that the hero should obtain rewards riches by being a villain is clearly wrong. The man with no name was not a villain. Nor was Rambo. Even scarface was a character clearly marked out as being mentally handicapped.

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Right is right and wrong is wrong. Tautology. And no guide if there was to determine if violence could be not so wrong or possibly right under given circumstances and how you would narrow down these circumstances. For example if suppression and murder on the ground of racism may justify counter-violence. And if the ones committing this counter-violence are entitled to feel pride, elation, joy by doing so. Not shame for not being polite, misbehaving and being poor role models for the White Man's kids.

It's simply not the task of cinema to educate the society. A mirror never shows an idealized self.

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Axel I'm not saying you can't have violence horror etc. I'm saying the film maker must show the consequences in a moral way.

 

IE What is wrong with this.

 

Bad guy walks in shoots all the old age pensioners and kids. Then is challenged by the good guy who seemingly cannot be defeated so the good guy seems to lose everything and in his hour of need loses the thing he loves most his pet that he has a sexual relationship with. He then thinks about ending it all only to come up with a plan to kill the good guy and wipe out the country that he has had enough of. He kills everyone and then forces 50 women to marry him and be his sex slaves/rape. END.

 

The film is set to cool music slick clothes and shows his peers and those underneath him giving him respect.

 

Thats what you are arguing is acceptable and your right to make and its what Tarrantino does so well if not as overtly.

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Thats quite offensive Bioskop Do you really believe that by undermining me in this way makes you look right? It just makes you look like a pontificating fool

 

Sorry MarkM, my words were not meant to undermine you in anyway whatsoever & i am deeply sorry if there was a misunderstanding.

 

I was getting the impression that it was becoming unfair that so many people were attacking you & my comments about your opinions being as valid as everyone else's was absolutely sincere. I may not agree with you, but you have the right to your own opinion.

 

The only thing i can see that you could have taken offence to was, what now seems to be, my poor attempt at some light humour, which was intended to create some much needed [comic] relief - "just remember to keep telling yourself its only a film..." was a message used at the beginning of some 70s Horror Films, in an attempt to reassure/remind the audience that they were about to watch a piece of fiction.

 

This is the problem with the written word at the moment & i just keep forgetting that humour just doesn't always come across as such.

 

Anyway, do keep fighting your corner, its what makes debates like these v.interesting (& i'm being sincere, not poking fun at you).

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speaking of the benefits of real world violence we constantly know about...anybody else think that ''Life of Pi'' should've won best picture?  Ang Lee snapped again magically since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.  Lincoln was just as dope as Django.  Any of these over Argo..c'mon

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Thanks Bioskop! Yes it was the keep telling yourself its only a film its only a film that implied from where I'm sitting that I'm weak minded and therefore my posts are invalid and indicates to readers if you side with me then you to are weak minded to so says Bioskop backing the vocal minority

 

Clearly you were thinking of something else :)

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No problem Mark & if you're going to watch a film with 'Django' in the title, do yourself a favour & watch the original version - its a fine film & shits all over Tarantino's!

 

Tarantino is one of the most exploitative filmmakers around today & he does it for cinema ticket sales - its all about creating a buzz/hype to get bums on seats.

I recently re-watched Pulp Fiction & i ended up switching it off - it just wasn't the film i thought it was anymore. Maybe i'd seen it too many times or maybe it just wasn't that great in the first place.

 

If you want to watch a really good film then try something like Chungking Express - yes its in cantonese, but it was filmed in 2 weeks (while he was waiting to edit another film), has a great narrative & some beautiful images (no violence).

Its art/filmmaking like Tarantino could never do! 

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Axel I'm not saying you can't have violence horror etc. I'm saying the film maker must show the consequences in a moral way.

 

IE What is wrong with this.

 

Don't you think this would be just a little bit patronising? How about the audience makes up their own mind rather than their hands being held?

 

Are you saying that all films should do this?

 

Some films are educational and enlightening of course they are. Yes we are better of for those. Better off for the quality and the information. I've enjoyed a better education through television and film than I have through school. (Though that doesn't say much for the school system in the UK).

 

The best documentaries shine a light.

 

But fiction is fiction and when it comes to morality - sometimes the good guys lose.

 

Sometimes the violence is glorified.

 

Sometimes the director's position is on the side of the bad guys and in some pieces good characters are not always the right thing for the movie.

 

This film Killer Joe is an interesting example - where all the characters are absolutely reprehensible human beings - and from what Sean seems to be saying, without spoiling the plot too much, it turns around and puts a mirror up to the audience. You - yes you! You're sick for enjoying what these sickos did.

 

What a great Hitchcock-esq thing that is! It has more moral impact than any good vs evil story.

 

I have not seen it yet so cannot be sure if that is the case though.

 

I do agree with some of your points Mark but I think the main area I differ is still on the subject of Tarantino himself. His films are very clear when it comes to who is moral and who is amoral, especially Django. A tale of bounty hunters being rewarded for murder is OK in this film and you will see why when you watch it. Furthermore the violence is comic book style as was the case with Kill Bill, it isn't photo realistic like in Saw. It isn't gritty and it isn't believable. The gunshot wounds and blood in Django are firmly old school Spaghetti Western, almost amateur... comical... And the bad guys are so despicable they deserve what they get.

 

I recently witnessed a talk by a director at the Berlinale film festival here in Berlin... He was an American dude who'd gone to Indonesia and basically glorified a load of real life murderers for the communist regime. They'd murdered and maimed on a horrific scale in the name of the authorities and as far as I know they're all free men. He'd invited them to enact their murders in his film. Bizzarely the director talked about these people as friends, happy they'd made his film (kerching) possible. He refused under direct questioning from the audience to have a moral position on these people - these REAL LIFE murderers. The murders themselves - they love the film!

 

Yes Tarantino shoots violence in a glorious way and characterises some extremely cool and sexy villains. But it is all part of the theatrics. The difference between Tarantino and the director I mentioned above? His film is no fiction. It is when it is real life you have to worry. In the end fiction, culture and real actions in real life are separate no matter how many corrupting memes or violent films are floating around in peoples minds. It is PEOPLE who kill people, not films or video games. How would the real victims of these men have felt about them being given a glossy platform in this film? If the director came here and got real members of the IRA to enact their killings on BBC 1, whilst giving no moral position or even buddying up to them, I'd love to see what the public reaction would be.

 

But because this is Indonesia, a poor country with a troubled past to be abused and exploited, he feels he can get away with it - and probably can.

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People should be less worry about Tarantino films and start worrying about the increasing propaganda in Hollywood movies. This Oscars were a show about that. Michelle Obama giving the speech on the best film, everybody looking up to the giant screen while she talked about how great films they were.

 

I don't care for violence on the movies, I care about political propaganda and mindwashing.

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Andrew

 

Yes sometimes the good guys lose They sacrifice themselves like in armageddon Butch Cssidy lose but although they are seen as villains by the society we are shown their gentle caring side.

 

of course you can have any kind of mixture Just dont potray good guys as bad guys and bad guys as good. Dont mix up what is right and wrong have a strong clear narrative that sticks to supporting our society/culture rather than pulling it down.

 

That is not censorship it is common sense. Eastenders also does this Phil Mitchell steals cheats is arrogant and yet doesn't get his come uppance. He gets away with it so reinforcing the idea thats its okay to do those things/ behave that way. Eastenders constantly justifies bad behaviour and in my opinion does reinforce the way things are going in this country.

 

I think writers need to learn a few lessons about the arena they practice in that must include morals and to write within that frmaework. Without a moral framework there is not much hope for any of us I'm afraid. 

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I can imagine that is done to avoid direct sunlight, or prevent reflections of the full crew to be visible in the shot?

Thanks, it makes sense. I forgot about reflections, as the sun was on the opposite direction I never thought the shaddow would hit the scene. But you are right. Thank you.

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I'm gonna watch this film soon.

 

I think Tarantino is an intelligent film-maker with great cultural awareness, and his kitsch use of violence is usually funny, rather disturbing.

 

Films are such an easy target though. The Bible and the Qur'an are full of violence too. I couldn't sleep after reading the descriptions of mutilation in Hannibal, but the film? I nearly fell asleep during it. 

 

A person who is going to go and unload a magazine into the face of a stranger will find their inspiration anywhere around them. They use art to reinforce their delusions.Murder did not begin with the advent of the moving picture.

 

The examples of "people copying films" provided are all people already performing such actions. Gangs copying film gangs, people who like fighting doing it in a Kung Fu stylay.

 

Any rational mind would see that saying films cause this behavior is the wrong way round. People who have a predisposition to such behavior are attracted to certain aspects of related art.

 

I feel that celebrity culture and moronic reality TV are more damaging than violent yet intelligent films, and foster a destructive materialistic culture that is, in its extended form, literally destroying the world and some of the core values of humanity.

 

I find that games are quite dangerous, but only because they provide stimulation and virtual reward with no real-life interaction, and that can be dangerous to the development of a disciplined and strong character, especially in interpersonal situations.

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JG Harding

 

The bible is a great example Graphically violent and works within a moral framework. As for Tarrantino violence it is as realistic as he can make it.

 

Your fascination and enjoyment of twisting good and evil is similar to the Myra Hindley Ian Brady story.

 

Hindley was just a normal working class girl. She would never have been anything other than probably a married mother BUT she wanted excitement, something different. Brady was handsome, different, strange. This intrigued Hindley who saw something different Something new. He set about gaining her loyalty and sharing his perversions. Slowly she felt this was normal this was okay and ultimately she went along with his murders. She couldnt understand WHY she was labelled a murderer too. She had not commited the murders all she had done was witnessed them. She was innocent.

 

You can enjoy films that subvert right from wrong good and bad Twisted into each other. As our society crumbles under an avalanche of a new twisted morality You too are a witness crying I was not a part of this I just watched and allowed it to happen so it wasn't my fault.

 

ITS ALL our fault we all have to nurture our civilisation our society Not by imposing censorship but clearly defining right from wrong and then play out all the horrors you want to your hearts content within the frame work of knowing right from wrong.

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I find that games are quite dangerous, but only because they provide stimulation and virtual reward with no real-life interaction, and that can be dangerous to the development of a disciplined and strong character, especially in interpersonal situations.

 

not only that but they stimulate simulated environments for the youth for easy military recruitment, war gaming and such. and that's easily a sub-minimal justification for the benefits of national security.  and If I'm not mistaken the gaming industry is far bigger than the film industry.  then you've got the ''states'' (in some states) trying to justisfy the right for gun control ownership to hunt game (with Michael Moore slapping faces) and then we wonder why teens or an individual can spray out heads at a Batman opening or at a local school.

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Capitilsim is devoid of emotion and the reason it has to be tempered with government. Unfortunatley Governments of today are made up of individuals who are morally bankrupt. People are conned into believing them because they look good on TV. TV loves to pull in viewers and so courts bad behaviour. They love to show bad politicians as good and then twist it back and forth and create a never ending soap story. Politicians are soap stars and exploit TV to brainwash the public to gain for themselves.

 

Come on how could anyone sit there and listen to millipede spout lie after lie and not see through it. How can anyone see the EU is NOT a trade organisation it is a Dictatorship complete with its own Judiciary Police Flag National anthem while pretending it isnt when it clearly is.

 

They wouldnt have gotten away with it a few years back but thanks to the new twisted morality that right is wrong and wrong is right No one can tell anymore.

 

Ultimately the whole thing comes back to exploitation through propaganda Brain washing. Twisting morals Labour called it spin Blair was a master at it.

 

We as film makers can make a difference in exposing the truth and bloody well should.

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If society is indeed crumbling, then I still think Tarantino is pretty far down the list of those responsible.

 

I can only speak for where I've lived, so how about we start in the UK and the abolition of grammar schools. That closed off a vital way up the ladder for the truly talented. Then Tony Blair had the great idea of sending EVERYONE to university. The grand idea of this was to improve social mobility. It is actually destroying the country. So many people are going to university whether it is right for them or not. It is devaluing the degree and the WHOLE system and quad-troubling the cost of it for the student. Most students who go to University now in the UK are guaranteed a good social life for 2 years then a massive debt problem and absolutely no job at all. They will mostly be stuck working in retail or admin roles, for the rest of their lives. Well done Mr Education, Education, Education.

 

He has created a huge section of student population who do no quality work and put socialising at the top of the list of importance to such an extreme degree that they may as well still be at high school. We should send some people into the workplace at 18 and put them on a wage. Only then will they have a responsibility to themselves to actually work for a living. At university most don't FEEL the responsibility to work and succeed. It is all too easy, dismissed and taken for granted. It is just 'what you do'. It's normal. It used to be the EXCEPTION.

 

Also neither universities or schools inspire their students enough. Most leave not knowing what they want to do for a living. Some are completely dispassionate about everything. Some lack a constructive interest, so sit around doing nothing instead - well maybe some shopping and drinking every day.

 

The schools meanwhile - long time since I've been - but they seem to get more dumbed down by the year and there's a real discipline problem. Some kids after school on public transport are basically feral and answer to nobody. Many of the teachers are good and trying their best but a lot are more immature than the pupils. There's a causality to it and a lack of rigour, a dumbing down. I played cricket in my Geography lessons. The Spanish teacher spent a good three quarters of the lesson telling us silly jokes. This dumbing down is a result of intelligence being less valued by British society than it used to be. People now seen as being snooty and superior when in actual fact it's a vital quality of any civilisation if it wants to progress and be competitive and great. The dumbing down is also happening at our institutions, like the BBC, which frankly just aren't great any more.

 

And consumerism. This is a big one. It has replaced sport and socialising as our biggest past-time. It fills an empty void in peoples lives because so many people are left unfulfilled by a lack of opportunities and genuinely enjoyable social situations. Instead of doing things that are satisfying, social and constructive - helping someone out with a project, having a conversation, building something, making art, using your skills, joining a band, using your education - flocks of people have taken to spending their leisure time accumulating useless shit that they are brainwashed into thinking they want and need. It's so anti-social and selfish.

 

Consumerism effects everyone in fact not just the materialistic and bored. Through a hyper capitalist system our cities and towns have had all the real life and most non-commercial activities lobotomised and replaced with retail chains and bars. Then people wonder why they lack self control, are in debt, and constantly wanting a new iPhone. Our communities are becoming hideous. It's a mark of how powerful consumerism is and how all consuming regardless of your education or intelligence it effects us all. Absolutely nothing is being done to stop it and everything to encourage it.

 

In Berlin they are literally performing a cultural massacre in the name of consumerism. The open spaces where people meet, where artists drink in the sunshine, paint a wall, set up a studio, make films, form bands, etc. etc. are being concreted over by satanist commercial enterprises that won't be happy until our cities are replaced entirely with one concrete & glass dystopia after another in the name of personal gain, profit and greed.

 

Then there's parenting and peer pressure - Family and friends have a far bigger influence than a film director, or even the whole of popular culture put together. Frankly some people should need a license to have children. It isn't a human right, it's a privilege. There's a generation of bad parents passing their flaws and criminal behaviour down generations before it gets righted, at great cost to the rest of society.

 

So in the end what do you have?

 

People as a commodity, people with the wrong values. They don't value each other, and you get anti-social behaviour on a grand scale. Nothing to do with the movies, although I am sure they add a stylistic flare to the skull cracking and name calling.

 

The same violence which would take place regardless of whether Tarantino made Reservoir Dogs or Mary Poppins.

 

On some of the other issues you might have a point Mark!

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