27 Mar 2013

The films of Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is one of our top ten favorite directors and that's why we've decided to pay homage to him on his birthday. We love his narrative, his brilliant dialogues, the beautiful noir aesthetic of his films, his poignant soundtracks, his funny cameos, and that genius vision of his, that turns his films into an alternative world where the most insane thing makes sense
He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of an actor and amateur musician of Italian descent, and a nurse of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He was raised by his mother, as his parents separated, and his stepfather was a musician. They moved to California where he took drama classes. He dropped out of school at age 16, to attend an acting class full-time at the James Best Theater Company in Toluca Lake. He grew bored with it and quit after two years. Later, as an employee of the Video Archives, a now-defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach, he and fellow movie enthusiasts, including Roger Avary, discussed cinema and customer video recommendations at length. Here is his filmography as director, that contains some of our favorite films:

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
In January 1992, Reservoir Dogs was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and was an immediate hit, with a tremendous positive response from critics. It's a clever dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films, with an incredible cast (Harvey KeitelTim RothMichael Madsen and Steve Buscemi in the leading roles... what else?), and a great soundtrack (like all his films) featuring the great 'Coconut' by Harry Nilsson, and this Stealers Wheel song, that plays in an iconic scene of the film:

Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction is my favorite film from Tarantino. He received an Academy Award in the category of Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, which he shared with Roger Avary, and the film won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Being a writer myself, one of the things I like the most it's that it covers three stories, all interconnected.  It became one of the most relevant films of the 90s, thanks to its rich pop-culture-laden dialogue, the wonderful soundtrack, and the great characters. Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace became an icon. With her black wig and the deep blue eyes, she was as charming as Anna Karina in Vivre Sa Vie, one of Tarantino's favorite films. He took inspiration from Godard too to make the remarkable dancing scene between Vincent Vega (the awesome John Travolta) and Mia at Jack Rabbit Slim's, that has become one of the most famous scenes in cinema. The cast also features a lot of my favorite actors and actresses, besides Travolta and Thurman: Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Rosanna Arquette, and Maria de Medeiros. The soundtrack is a masterpiece that I could have on repeat for days, and here are two of my favorite music moments of the film:

"All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl."  (Jean - Luc Godard)

Jackie Brown (1997)
Tarantino's third feature film was Jackie Brown, an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard, and a homage to blaxploitation films. Great cast again, and it has some cool moments, but this one is my less favorite film from his filmography.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 + 2 (2003/4)

Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), is a highly stylized "revenge flick", with a great leading character named Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride, codename Black Mamba), portrayed by Tarantino's  muse, the gorgeous and talented Uma Thurman. Actually, Tarantino and Thurman had developed  Kill Bill's plot during the making of Pulp Fiction. Together they created one of the most visually stunning films ever, which also contains a lot of great dramatic moments (be ready to cry a little during Vol. 2). I remember going to the cinema to watch the first part and leaving the cinema totally amazed by it. Then, the first week the second part premiered I went to see it 'cause I just couldn't wait to find out the end of this powerful story. Like in all the other Tarantino films the full cast is amazing, and accompanying Uma Thurman we have David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and Lucy Liu. And of course, the soundtrack is perfect, featuring the likes of Ennio Morricone, Luis Bacalov, Nancy Sinatra and Shivaree

Death Proof (2007)
Death Proof is another of my most beloved films from Tarantino. Is an action thriller that centers on a psychopathic stunt man who stalks young women. I'm not gonna reveal much about the plot, you have to watch it for yourself. It's pretty scary during some moments, but I love this film because it shows Tarantino's dark humor as its best and the dialogues between the girls are amazing (Tarantino knows women). The cast is lead by Kurt Russell, underrated but great actor, and an amazing group of girls: Rosario Dawson (one of my favorite actresses, she rocks in everything she does), Rose McGowan, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (she's so cute here, and I loved her in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Sydney Tamiia PoitierVanessa Ferlito (you gotta lover her dance scene), and Zoë Bell (she is a stuntwoman and she did the stunt work for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Yes, she rocks that much). 

The whole aesthetic of the film is perfect: I love the muscle cars, the bright yellows and pinks, the Brigitte Bardot poster, the red nails, the lipsticks, and everything that contributes to emphasize that women are the stars of this film:

The soundtrack, as always, is delightful. It features great 60s tunes and this awesome song, Chick Habit by April March, the cover of the lovely Laisse tomber les filles performed by France Gall and composed by Serge Gainsbourg, that you can listen to into this fabulous video dedicated to the women on Tarantino's films:

Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Inglourious Basterds is a war film that tells the fictional alternate history story of two plots to assassinate Nazi Germany's political leadership, one planned by a young French Jewish cinema proprietor, and the other by a team of Jewish-American soldiers. Some people said this was Tarantino's best, and I have to disagree a little with that 'cause I think it was entertaining, and the characters were  fantastic, but I've loved more other films from him. Anyway, it was really nice watching Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender and Daniel Brühl on a Tarantino film. And of course the lovely ladies: Mélanie Laurent (being a badass as Shosanna), the classy Diane Kruger (being the awesome woman she is as Bridget von Hammersmark), and Léa Seydoux, in just a few shots, but cute as always.

I loved the setting and fell in love with both Shosanna's and Bridget's clothes. Tarantino amazes me with his sense of fashion , again:
And of course, we have a great music scene. Mélanie Laurent looking gorgeous in red while David Bowie's "Cat People" plays. The scene is really beautiful, and Bowie makes anything magical. One of my favorite music moments from Tarantino's filmography:

Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained, is some sort of spaghetti western mixed with a slavery plot that only someone like Tarantino, with such a brilliant mind, could turn into a great film. Set in the antebellum era of the Deep South and Old West, the film follows a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who treks across the United States with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) on a mission to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Samuel L. Jackson also features in the film, as Stephen, and he is perfect in that role. I love the fact that Waltz's character is a German guy and that Kerry Washington's character is named Broomhilda after the German heroine of the Nibelungen saga, 'cause I love that language and you don't see much German references on American films. The images are really powerful, with the bloody Tarantino signature, and the soundtrack has classic pieces from 60s and 70s films, mixed with nowadays songs. One moment that stayed with me for days after watching the film was the one featuring the great song "Freedom" by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton:

"When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films'.

(Quentin Tarantino)

ps: Happy Birthday Mr. Tarantino!


Silvia Conde said...

Molt bona selecció de plànols i quotes :) M'encanten sobretot els últims de Inglorious, la fotografia és magnífica amb aquests colors i l'estètica.

Segueix amb el blog, no el deixis, és únic! :)

Mar said...

No n´he vist gaires (Pulp Fiction, les dues parts de Kill Bill i Django Unchained) però m'agrada molt. No hi entenc gaire de cinema però ell sempre fa coses diferents i retorçades. I la música és sempre increïble. Happy bday Quentin!

Petó guaa! x

Lady Vengeance said...

No puedo explicar con palabras cuánto amo esta entrada. Qué genial recopilación de imágenes, vídeos (voy a verme ahora el de las mujeres de Tarantino, que no lo había visto)y de todo.
Viva Quentin.

Saraiba said...

Que buen post!! Este director es grandioso yo creo que ha creado un estilo de películas con un sello muy particular. Un estilo de cine que arrastra a muchísimos seguidores a los cines. Un crack!

m said...

Muy buen post! Una introducción o un recordatorio de todo lo que es Tarantino. Estoy de acuerdo, con la música siempre se sale :P

Angela said...

Love Inglorius bastards and Django! I really need to see the other ones...Thank you for your sweet comment on our blog!
Wanna float with us? http://www.floatstardust.blogspot.com
The Floating Team!

Angela said...

Oh, and love the gif in the end....hahahahaha

AVY said...

Pulp Fiction is one of my all time favorite movies. Hey, let me know when that novel is done!

/ Avy

Laura said...

love the post! Very interesting

Marco Méndez said...

Viendo tan minucioso recuento me doy cuenta que no he visto Jackie Brown, Death Proof y Django Unchained.

Sin ánimo de contrariar a los devotos del realizador, siempre me pregunté porqué alguien como Spike Lee se la tiene jurada a Tarantino. La duda persistió hasta que vi las primeras películas Tarantino, en las que se pasa de tono con chistes muy racistas. Es como uno entiende que alguien tan susceptiblemente étnico como Spike Lee (quien no es un santo tan poco) se ofenda por los diálogos.

Como un amigo dijo Tarantino es una especie de niño grande, que con sus compinches de barrio se entusiasman viendo y haciendo películas sin importar lo que digan los otros. Valiéndose de influencias muy variadas (Serie B, blaxploitation, artes marciales, spaghetti western, nouvelle vague, etc).

Hay un documental llamado "American Grindhouse", que detalla muchos de los géneros cinematográficos que fascinan a Tarantino. Me pareció muy interesante ver todo ese cine underground que no suele desfilar por alfombra roja por resulta "un tanto" repulsivo. Es entonces cuando uno ve clara la animadversión que existe entre Quentin Tarantino y la crítica de cine conservadora.


ATF said...

però quin falwless post! molt bones les fotos, els cometaris, tot. com ja saps, les meves preferides de tarantino son les de Kill Bill, si he de ser concreta, la 2a, sé que Pulp Fiction i Reservoir Dogs son tan vegada més bones però a mí Kill Bill me toca sa fibra. l'ador. jo vaig veure la primera al cine i quan va sortir sa 2a, van fer una sessió especial, passant les dues pelis seguides i va ser genial, tota una Tarantino experience. Pulp Fiction la vaig veure al cine quan tenía 13 anys i vaig flipar, a ca meva vaig dir que havía anar a veure una altra cosa perquè no m'esperava que fos tan violenta :P ja després vaig veure Reservoir Dogs i també vaig flipar i Jackie Brown està bé, però no mata. Per jo, a pesar de lo que digui sa gent, Inglorious Basterds es la peli menys Tarantino-esque que ha fet, com que li falta esséncia d'algo, i me paréix la més comercial, lo cual no és bo. Death Proof l¡ador, super super super underrated, aunque quan la vaig anar a veure al cine i va haver una escena que va ferir la meva sensibilitat (com ho sents) i quasi m'en vaig anar de la sala, menys al que no. I Django es genial, me fa ràbia no haverla anat a veure al cine però esque ka estava online en VO i sino l'hagués hagut d'anar a veure en castellà...

bé, long comment però hi havia massa coses per comentar. Petonets!!

Alan said...

Great compilation, thanks!

V said...

Ver ahora las películas de Tarantino así, en imágenes, me hace darme cuenta de lo que cuida cada detalle. Qué grande es...
Gracias por la entrada.



kerrin said...

daughters of the soho riots just came up on my pandora, reminding me that i hadnt been here in a while. wonderful post as always! xx

Laura Sánchez said...

Cuando vi Pulp Fiction me enamoré enseguida de la película, aunque tampoco tengo mucho con lo que compararla porque no he visto demasiadas de Tarantino. Con esta excelente lista y sucesión de imágenes no tengo excusa :)

Un beso muy fuerte, bonita.