Quentin Tarantino and violence go together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, he’s never made a movie that isn’t soaked in blood and mayhem. From the badass assassins in Pulp Fiction to the sword-slinging Bride in Kill Bill, pretty much nobody out-kills Quentin Tarantino.
So it’s no surprise, then, that he doesn’t think there’s any correlation between on-screen bloodshed and the off-screen massacres that have been plaguing our nation for more than a decade with increasing frequency. In the wake of the Newtown shootings, Django Unchained has taken more flack than it usually might for its extreme violence (and some for its revisionist depiction of slavery). In a recent interview with NPR, Quentin had finally had enough.
The NPR interviewer asked Quentin if he thought violence was “less fun” after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Quentin answered, “Not for me.” When pressed on, he sounded off:
“When you say after the tragedy, what do you mean by that exactly?... Do you mean like on that day would I watch The Wild Bunch? Maybe not on that day…. Would I watch a kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre? Would I watch a kung fu movie? Maybe, 'cause they have nothing to do with each other.”
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When asked if he was “annoyed” by this line of questioning, Quentin said that he was. “I'm really annoyed. I think it's disrespectful. I think it's disrespectful to their memory, actually… The memory of the people who died to talk about movies. I think it's totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health.”
Clearly, this isn’t an entirely new issue for Quentin, whose movies have been controversial in a variety of ways, as when he depicted the fictional revenge of Jews on Hitler in Inglourious Basterds. “I've been asked this question for 20 years… About the effects of violence in movies relating to violence in real life. And my answer is the same 20 years ago. It hasn't changed one iota.”
But that doesn’t mean he thinks movies should get a free pass to show anything ― there are limits to his tolerance of bloodshed.
“The only thing that I've ever watched in a movie that I wished I've never seen is the real-life animal death, a real-life insect death in a movie. That's absolutely positively where I draw the line… Movies are about make believe. It's about imagination. Part of the thing is we're trying to create a realistic experience, but we are faking it. And the faking it is the art."
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He continued: “I don't pay money, or I don't want to sit down and watch real death, when I watch a movie. I don't even want to see an animal terrified. I've seen movies where they've terrified an animal to get a response from him, and I don't want to see that.”
You hear that, PETA? Quentin Tarantino, your new spokesman. A perfect match.
The full audio from NPR can be heard here.
Do you agree with Quentin’s take on movie violence?
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