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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Tarantino Talks DJANGO Influence; Terry Gilliam’s Advice; 3 Most Influential Films (9’42” total)

Three excerpts from SiriusXM’s “Town Hall,” moderated by Scott Foundas.

Scott Foundas: “Talk about your Django vis-à-vis that [other] Django.”

Quentin Tarantino: “In the case of Django, this movie became such a sensation; it took spaghetti westerns to a different place—a much more violent place, a much rougher, more brutal and even more surreal type of West. And just as an example of how violent the movie was at the time, it was banned in England up until the ‘90s. You could not show Django in England up until the ‘90s. In fact, one of the only ways to ever see Django in England is in the movie The Harder They Come. Jimmy Cliff goes to a theater and watches Django and you see him in the theater watching Django and you see the villain Django on the screen, and they play a whole mirror aspect of Jimmy Cliff as Django… he’s the outlaw on the run. Andthat was the only time you could ever see Django on the screens of England—[in] the little clip of it that was in The Harder They Come. [The character] Django was so popular that about 40 films exist that are basically non-related, rip-off sequels to [the original] Django. And rarely do they actually try to make it the same character. Only a couple of them have ever tried to do that. It’s just a character name Django. Sometimes the movies don’t even have a character named Django in it. They just put ‘Django’ in the title because they… [thought] that’s what spaghetti western people would want to see. Not to mention any time… [a] …Franco Nero movie—who was the star of [director Sergio Corbucci’s] Django—in particular played in Germany, it was always called ‘Django’ something. Didn’t matter what it was. If he’s doing a modern day cop film in the ‘70s, it was Django the Cop. If he’s doing a movie where he plays a shark hunter [it would be called] Django and the Shark… Django in Vietnam. There were all these complete rip-offs, unrelated sequels to Django and I am proud to say, that my film, Django Unchained, can join the long line of unrelated Django rip-offs.”

Quentin Tarantino: “Before I did my first movie I went to the Sundance Institute. You’re there for a few weeks and new directors or actors or writers that are professionals come in and they kind of mentor you. One of the people they assigned me was Terry Gilliam, who was at the height of his visionary reputation. And he really liked the script for Reservoir Dogs. He thought it was really cool. So he was really invigorated with the idea of helping me on the project. I had never made a movie before. I have all these cool visuals in my mind and I think I can make a great movie but it is all theory until you do it. And I asked him: “…you have a vision and that specific vision is in each of your movies—how do you capture that?’ And [he] literally gave me some of the best advice I’d ever gotten, he said: ‘Quentin, you don’t really have to conjure up your vision. What you have to do is know what your vision is. And then you have to hire really talented people and it’s their job to create your vision. If you hire the right costume designer, you hire the right production designer, you hire the right cinematographer, [get the right] the props, you hire the right people who get what you’re trying to do and…explain it them. If you can articulate your vision and they’re talented, they will give you your vision.’”

Three Influences? Quentin Tarantino: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is probably obvious why it’s been such an influence to me.

Mario Bava became one of the first directors that I got to know by name because I saw Black Sabbath on late night television and would look forward to seeing it pop up again. He’s a great Italian horror filmmaker. And then I started noticing other movies in the TV Guide that had his name and they all had this big, cool operatic quality about them. And I have to say, it was both Sergio Leone and Mario Bava that got me thinking in terms of ‘shots’ as opposed to just, ‘This guy did a movie I like. I’ll see another movie that that guy does ‘cause I like that movie,’ as opposed to just recognizing the name and hoping that another good movie would come out, I actually started recognizing a cinematic style and a signature and a quality in the movies that was just beyond a good movie versus another good movie or, a not-so-good one. Even when I would see a Mario Bava movie I didn’t like I still recognized the style and the same operatic quality. But Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was probably my favorite movie when I was really, really, really young. And, the thing about why I think it was so influential is I remember at that time period my two favorites types of movies in the world were monster movies, and in particular the universal monster movies from the ‘30s, and physical comedies like Abbott and Costello, I loved them. Every kid I knew at that time loved Abbott and Costello… Jerry Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Laurel & Hardy—I thought all those guys were great. And those were my favorite types of movies. I loved W.C. Fields too. I was crazy for W.C. Fields. So when I watched Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein it bended my mind about the fact that my two favorite genres—even though I didn’t know what the word ‘genre’ meant—could be put into one movie. I didn’t know that you could do that. I always thought there’s this type of movie and that kind of movie. Like chocolate and peanut butter. But the fact that I was a little boy at 7 or 8—or maybe even younger—making genre distinctions not knowing that because I literally thought, ‘Wow this is the greatest movie ever—my two favorite types of movies in one. When it’s scary it’s really scary and when it’s funny it’s really funny. And I guess I’ve been trying to do that, a lot, the whole rest of my career.”

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“Film criticism as a business operates like the film industry itself: The people in charge like to hire people who remind them of themselves, and those people at the top are by and large straight white dudes (baseball caps are an option). That’s not to say they can’t have wildly diverging opinions on a variety of topics, but privilege comes with blinders that are often hard to acknowledge and even tougher to remove. The past few months have seen some of the most prominent film publications taking on new writers who are for the most part white men: Rolling Stone, Film Comment, Indiewire, and of course, Owen Gleiberman at Variety. Many of them have championed underdog filmmakers, but you can’t get over the sense of gatekeeping going on. Film criticism often feels like the treehouse girls are banned from entering, and it’s not hard to assume the conversations we’re missing out on aren’t exactly centered on women in the business… Our world and our art suffers when we limit the number of perspectives allowed to not only tell the story but to discuss it. Women are no better or worse in their opinions than men, but the key differences we bring allow further dimensions in the narrative. Whether they’re conscious of it or not, the ingrained biases of white maleness will continue unchallenged without contrasting voices under the banner, and the commodification of women’s faces and bodies will exacerbate to increasingly damaging levels.”
~ Ceilidhann

DENNIS COOPER

The next thing that really changed my world and thoroughly influenced my writing were the films of Robert Bresson. When I discovered them in the late seventies, I felt I had found the final ingredient I needed to write the fiction I wanted to write.

INTERVIEWER

What was the final ingredient?

DENNIS COOPER

Recognizing that the films were entirely about emotion and, to me, ­ profoundly moving while, at the same time, stylistically inexpressive and monotonic. On the surface, they were nothing but style, and the style was extremely rigorous to boot, but they seemed almost transparent and purely content driven. Bresson’s use of untrained nonactors influenced my concentration on characters who are amateurs or noncharacters or characters who are ill equipped to handle the job of manning a story line or holding the reader’s attention in a conventional way. Altogether, I think Bresson’s films had the greatest influence on my work of any art I’ve ever encountered. In fact, the first fiction of mine that was ever published was a chapbook called “Antoine Monnier,” which was a god-awful, incompetent attempt to rewrite Bresson’s film Le diable ­probablement as a pornographic novella. So I came to writing novels through a channel that included experimental fiction, poetry, and nonliterary influences pretty much exclusively. I never read normal novels with any real interest or close attention.
~ Dennis Cooper Discovers Bresson

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