Tarantino to interviewer: "I'm not your slave and you're not my master"

During an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy of UK's Channel Four News about his new slavesploitation film, Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino said something really unfortunate. Face, meet palm. (HT: @ned_vizzini)


    1. Or, you know, an ass hat interviewer that promised to talk about the movie and instead demands a sound bite about how movie violence leads to school shootings.

      1. Tarantino’s been around the block a few times, and you know he’s been exposed to aggressive news guys before. There are wiser ways to reply to questions you don’t care for. 

        1. Tarantino has no wisdom. It is one of the things that makes him a great director. It unburdens him from having to force the plot to have meaning and it lets him focus on making an absolutely meaningless but kickass film.

        2.  He also says Dance Like a Monkey to a man with brown skin, no one is unhappy with that?

          To their credit, they left in the footage of him explaining Why he’s not answering the question (he’s already explained it over the last 20 years, time and again), and he credits the interviewer’s intelligence by assuming he’s done his research and knows Tarantino’s actual position. Both are also professional enough to move on once that part of the interview is obviously done with.

          1. “He also says Dance Like a Monkey to a man with brown skin, no one is unhappy with that?”

            Monkey can be a slur, but a dancing monkey is not an ethnic reference.

        3. the wierd thing is that Krishnan Guru-Murthy is the soft-ball of the BBC news team – they are probably trying to harden him up to compete with John Snow (‘Avatar of News’ not ‘Bastard from the North’ – though both are endearingly accurate)

    2. 5) plus really bad filtering of two terms that he’s done a lot to put into circulation recently, and that are likely on his mind. At least he didn’t have recourse to that other term he’s so fond of….

    3. as i am watching Exit Through the Gift Shop, and laughing harder than i have ever, at any documentary, i am reminded of Being There, and then this news item pops up– synchronicity.

      i don’t really have anything against copyists on principle.  in fact, Czech copyists between the wars are responsible for a minor antique hobby i enjoy… but i have NEVER understood the appeal of Tarantino.

      1. Is Tarantino’s homage to the films of his youth any different than those of Spielberg and Lucas?

        1. perhaps not– but i never said i was their biggest fan either; uncredited shot-for-shot remakes of obsure/niche genre/foreign films with their names on them?– that’s a tarantino thing… at least somebody like de palma has Phantom of the Paradise to compensate for all his hitch/antonioni “homages.”

          1. it’s actually my reference to another’s claim– that of FILM THREAT about Reservoir Dogs being heavily lifted from City on Fire.  the assertion was shared among at least three sources at the time that the lack of acknowledgement for such cribbing should not pass without comment. 

    4. I used to think Spike Lee was hyperbolic when he said regarding Quentin Tarantino’s use of the “n” word in Jackie Brown, “What does he want to be made–an honorary black man?” But you know what, he’s right.

      Quentin made two really good movies: Resevoir Dogs & Pulp Fiction. And that’s it. Now he’s just milking genre for all it’s worth & he’s just obsessed with being a black bad ass when he’s white as hell.  And please don’t bring up his Cherokee heritage. The guy is obsessed with being the white guy who knows black people because he “studied” them.  Can’t stand him anymore. Not going to see Django: Unchained since it just seems like a bad, bloated remake of his last film, Inglourious Basterds.

    1. Well I thought that Samuel Jackson’s “yes massa!” routine was one of the guiltiest pleasures I’ve ever had. In fact I found lots to like about the film.

      1. No one should miss seeing Jackson’s performance in a movie theater full of people. The audience hates the character and wants to see him punished, but they also love him and think he’s hilarious. And they don’t keep it to themselves.

    1. I’ve pretty much come to trust Eileen Jones on all such film/tv matters:

      Let me just say that I’m not enjoying hating Django Unchained while so many others have a good time loving it. Hating Django Unchained puts me in company I really don’t want to keep. Fretters who can’t bear the idea of revenge narratives or filmed violence. Morons who hate genre movies. Spike Lee.

      I’m not with them, I swear!

      The problem here isn’t that Quentin Tarantino made an ultra-violent film about a slave’s epic revenge — that’s what I wanted, that was the whole point. It’s that he turned it into a big lame fatheaded joke with a Jim Croce song in it. That’s unforgivable. Greatest opportunity a filmmaker has had in years, and he fucked it up.

      I’ll still check it out when it’s available by more convenient, modestly priced means.


      1. Eh, he made a Quentin Tarantino movie. It has the same tongue-in-cheek aura and irreverence for the subject matter (particularly the subject of violence) that all of his movies do.

        It isn’t without depth. There’s one scene in particular, early on, when Django makes his first kill which is wrenching. Similarly many of the later scenes featuring violence against or humiliation of slaves that have the emotional impact you would expect. But all in all it’s still a Tarantino movie, and if you like that sort of thing, you will like Django.

        1. That’s sort of like excusing Lucas “for being Lucas”. If you read the review you’ll see that the criticism goes far beyond it just being kinda cornball.

          1. Kind of funny that you ask me about knowing things “first hand” without obviously having bothered to read my full post…..

        2. You know, I was thinking about Django and the larger issue of Tarantino movies this morning, and I was thinking about how his debut Reservoir Dogs was all about how horrible gun violence is–I mean much of the movie is about a guy dying of a gunshot wound–and how after 20 years Tarantino has pretty much finally completed an about-face on the subject.  His violence is about as cartoonish as you can get at this point, and my ambivalent feelings about Django don’t really come from how gory it was, or how often the n-word was used, but rather because in the end, the movie was no more than the sum of its violent scenes:  therefore a cartoon itself.

          1. I think Pulp Fiction was less cartoony than Django, but more so than Reservoir Dogs. 

            In real life gun violence has consequences. 

             In Reservoir Dogs, guns cause the guy to die an agonizing death.  This part of it gets forgotten a little quick by QT, but Pulp Fiction still does remind us that at after gun violence at the least you’re gonna have to clean shit up.

            I wasn’t saying that the average Hollywood action flick isn’t guilty of the same thing, but in the cartoon world, you shoot bang he’s dead forget about it and go to the next guy, which is EXACTLY what Django was.  And Tarantino in Reservoir–and in a decreasing amount since–HAD looked like he was willing to look at gun violence in a way that went beyond that.

          2. I take your point but I’ll say this about it – the big gunfight in the plantation house was the most intense, adrenaline-rush-inducing, outrageous gunfight I’ve ever seen in a film – and I’ve seen all the John Woo/Chow-Yun Fat films that Tarantino drew from for that scene, films which previously nobody has come even close to topping, despite those films being from the 80’s and early 90’s.

            It was absolutely shocking, similar to the way that the beach landing in Saving Private Ryan was when it came out. And in both cases, there’s a broader takeaway than the spectacle and horror of the violence itself. 

            Tarantino’s intent is inherently less clear, but it (and the entire film) is clearly a strong statement about violence in general and violence as art – and the cartoony nature of it is part of that. It’s disturbing and thought provoking in a way that films that are just about gore can never be – there are plenty of horror films that are much gorier than this, and less cartoony, but which aren’t as effective. 

            It’s very similar in its effect (and its message, if you think there is one) to Reservoir Dogs, I think, but the sheer scale of violence in Django compared to that in Reservoir Dogs required the approach to be different (it’s less straightforward… whether it’s actually over-the-top, I’m not sure).

  1. what’s so “unfortunate” about his statement? That interviewer was baiting him and he got irritated. He has license to get irritated with a jackass interviewer.

        1. I, too, enjoy a good reductio ad absurdum.

          No, seriously, I snorted more air out of my nose than usual. Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. Here’s the only thing I can figure. He says “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You’re not going to make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.”  So if you’re under the impression that people get a total of one metaphor per paragraph, you might think Tarantino thinks slave=black=monkey. I guess. It’s a stretch. If you already think Tarantino is racist because of his rampant use the use of the N-word and have an axe to grind, maybe it’s easier to see.

      1. Exactly. It’s not like he said, “I’m not your n****r”. Like I just did. F–k. *ducks*

    2. I could see if someone felt that interview segment itself was “unfortunate”, or even the irritation, “unfortunate”, but….if the quote in the headline is what’s being labeled as “unfortunate”…meh. I’m not biting. 

  2. I haven’t seen the movie but plan to. I usually enjoy his work. Interviews with him? Much less so. I’m never really interested in what people in the entertainment industry have to say outside of their actual work. Having creativity as a talent gives you no special moral authority nor any insight into anything outside of your craft.

    I simply don’t care (in general) what directors, producers, actors, musicians etc have to say, nor what they think about things, any more than I care about what others say and think..

    1. Ah, thank you.  I find Tarantino, in interviews and such, to be whiny, abrasive and extremely unlikable.  For better or worse, this makes me much less inclined to go see his movies. And makes it harder for me to  form my own unbiased opinion of them.

      1. I know what you mean. Though, I did watch an interview with him on a Reservoir Dogs DVD, where he speaks intelligently about French films and criticism, even quoting certain reviews verbatim that have inspired his aesthetic. Of course, I believe he was footing the bill for the production of the little featurette, so naturally he seemed a bit more likeable.

      2. “I find Tarantino, in interviews and such, to be whiny, abrasive and extremely unlikable.”

        Yep, he’s a geek, just like most of us.  He comes across exactly the same as many of my friends would seem in an interview or any other such unscripted discussion.  Hell, I would probably seem pretty whiny and abrasive in an interview like this one.

          1. Given there are only so many hours in the day to develop any given mental capacity, it seems reasonable that someone may well have neglected to develop the resources to avoid seeming an arse in conversation in favour of pursuing a singular obsession, say, cinema.

            Reckon I’d rather see a movie made by a savant than a jack of all trades.

          2. Reckon I’d rather see a movie I enjoy, (ie. I don’t like Tarantino movies, they turn me off), whether made by either a savant an arse or a jack of all whatever.

      3.  I understand this attitude but at the same time I can’t help but think that if you only enjoy art by people who you like personally then you’ll probably have to foreswear most literature, music, poetry, film, and graphic art that has ever been made.

        Artists do not have a reputation for being friendly, gregarious, humble people.

        1.  Agreed.  I’m not saying it’s helpful to shun art by artists I don’t like.  And I try not to do it.  And I try not to read/watch too many interviews with artists. 

    1. I caught that show and was disappointed with Gross. I wanted her to push him more when he turned all sullen. 

      Man kind’s violent nature is a fascinating topic, and relevant in an interview with Tarantino, especially right now.

      Tarantino is highly intelligent and creative. I would love if he would have spent some time researching and speaking on violence in the history of storytelling. He could start with The Epic of Gilgamesh. It really is a rich topic, and a missed opportunity for Tarantino to say something interesting.

        1. I swear I’ve seen him say interesting things.

          I guess I feel the commentary around violence and peace to be so superficial in all quarters. I’m just wishing SOMEBODY in the public eye would take some time and put the whole concept of violence into some sort of historical perspective while making sensitive and wise commentary on ways we might sew the seeds of change to be carried out through future generations. 

          Is that too much to ask?

          1. I, too, am wishing Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian would finally hit the theater screen.  Then we could all just let out a big sigh of relief that finally the issue has been settled.  People are animals, and kill each other like animals all the time.

          2. Nice. That might be zooming a bit too far out. But I like where you’re going.

            Surely there’s a middle ground between mammals are vicious murders and eeck! movies are violent.

          3. And also, I’m not sure McCarthy gets into sewing the seeds of hope for change in future generations. That seems important. And really is a rich topic. How to do peace and all that.

      1. “a missed opportunity for Tarantino to say something interesting ”

        I thought that was his whole shtick?

          1. re. google:
            i could probably have afforded a higher-end car with all the money spent on vet bills i’ve incurred, but a Bugatti can’t lick my face.

            people come on here to converse–  what i’m saying is:  Google can’t lick your face.  :P

  3. I’m just curious is it unfortunate because his movie involves slavery so heavily, because he’s a privileged white man, or because he’s just not allowed to say it? I guess I don’t see anything offensive or even to lament by bringing up master/slave since it’s a pretty standard relationship description…

  4. I don’t think this statement can be used to imply that Tarantino is racist, which I would highly doubt. He is just pissed off. And he has a good reason to be so. The interviewer is trying to say that the violence in Tarantino’s movies could cause real world violence (which is absurd).

    In my opinion, what Tarantino exploits aren’t specific classes or groups of people (it is not blacksploitation or “slavesploitation”). Instead he exploits movies themselves. There is no movie that he has ever created that could be said to provide wisdom, or enlighten the audience. Even the plots are ancillary. Nonetheless, he has created some of the greatest movies of the last 20 years. Tarantino makes movies from movies

    1. There is no movie that he has ever created that could be said to provide wisdom, or enlighten the audience.

      Reservoir Dogs does.  If you’re not thinking about the relationship between good, evil, and violence at the end of that movie then you probably didn’t watch it right.  ;)

  5. I am so sick of people trying to link movie violence to actual violence. The guy got what he deserved and I find it kind of irritating that just because a sensationalist media has blown certain elements of this film way out of proportion, that Tarantino can no longer use that language. This is a good film with realistic depictions of language and brutality spiced with some creative ideas of exploitation. People who squawk about this film probably don’t have a real education about slavery and reconstruction brutality that existed. I don’t see how it is disrespectful to slavery.

    1.  Why are you sick of it? Is it because you have a body of evidence suggesting that violent movies have no impact on a populations tendency to violence? I’m not saying it does, but it doesn’t seem clear cut to me either.

      1. you see, every time there’s a school shooting gun lobbied republicans launch a study in to this subject hoping to find a correlation between violent crimes and video game violence, or movie violence, or rap music, or rock and roll, and have never found a single shred of evidence to support this.

        So I suppose you can either assume there is no connection and the best way to prevent gun violence is to control gun ownership much like the rest of the civilized world does… or you can just demand more studies.

        1. It’s not a stupid hypothesis. As much as I think gun ownership _should_ be restricted, I would be very wary of thinking that is the panacea that will solve everything. It seems to me that the US has some pretty deep social problems as well. It seems plausible to me that the normalisation of violence in the media influences social perceptions of violence. I don’t know if it does, but I’d like to know the answer.

          1. It seems to me that all upright bipeds have some pretty deep social problems. But are they irredeemably deep?

          2. America has the highest level of gun violence of any industrialized country, so either the gun laws and treatment of the mentally ill in other countries work to curb those violent crimes or America is the only country in the world that lets it’s citizens watch movies or play video games.

          3. “It’s not a stupid hypothesis.”

            Your constant sticking to it when it has not ever been proven to cause violent action after decades of study is quite stupid, actually.

      2.  Hi heng, I can tell you why I’m sick of it.
        Its because everytime there’s violence, the violent movie/videogame/rock and roll comes out. And it´s always as a means of derailing any serious conversation about violence. not as a conversation in itself. I’m sick of it because there is no real conversation of the link between media and violence and no other alternatives are ever explored are they? Its a scapegoat.

  6. I agree (edit: I agree with Joshua Bardwell, above). Surely he and his agent (handlers?) knew he would be asked these questions as the press tour for the film began. So they decided they would just refuse to answer. Punt. Apparently, Tarantino can’t interrupt his busy schedule of watching and reading about esoteric films to turn his prodigious talents to a topic of real social relevance?

    In other words, I think Terri Gross and perhaps the interviewer above (and me, for that matter) would like to hear Tarantino’s thoughts on violence as part of human kind and violence in storytelling. I think it’s a rich topic, and a storyteller like Tarantino problaly could come up with something interesting to say about it.

    I’m not sure any questions on the topic are necessarily accusations that his films cause violence.

    1. Like trying to use film violence as a scapegoat for violence created by inequality inherent in western societies?

      To me, he seems like an opportunistic journalist looking for a soundbite from the director of a very controversial movie. He makes no case that he is going after the high-minded topic you mentioned.

      1. Perhaps. I wasn’t thinking that, exactly. But sure, why not?

        I suppose I was thinking of breaking out statistics on how in the history of modern man (100,000 years?) we have killed 100,000,000 of our fell human beings.

        Perhaps he might mention that animals don’t seem to have violent stories but they kill each other all the time.

        Or he might have something to say about the violence the U.S. committs every day in wars and in environment degradation in the pursuit of the dollar.

        Or the violence inherent in our ridiculous war on drugs.

        Or, what would storytelling look like if violence were not allowed?

        Or, is storytelling a safe place to create and empathetically release our pent up violent natures?

        Or perhaps he could talk about the work of the 400 university programs that are actively studying peace.

        World governments use violence all over the place to solve problems. How does that relate to storytelling.


        1. One thing is sure, and that is that the world has steadily become a less violent place over the history of mankind.  Despite how things might seem sometimes.

          Agree with your earlier comment. Somebody who relies on violence so heavily shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, especially in an interview with somebody famous for not giving guests softballs.

          I’d like to see how Quentin would hold up to Marc Maron.

        2. Perhaps he might mention that animals don’t seem to have violent stories but they kill each other all the time.

          Humans are a kind of animal.  It’s not really fair to say, “well humans are off the hook for killing humans because alligators kill fish and lizards.”  Very few species kill their own, and no species besides human beings spends so much time coming up with excuses and rationalizations for why they should kill others of their species.  When male lions eat young lions it’s because of instinct, not malice or greed or jealousy or disagreements over lion theology.

          I don’t disagree with the idea that Tarantino might have an obligation to discuss the ethics of violence given his films, but the “animals kill each other all the time” argument is bullshit.

          1. Yes, thank you. I think you’re right. I was trying to brainstorm a list of things a more broad conversation about peace and violence might look like. Sort of a slap dash effort on my part. 

            I find myself wondering what people were like before the agrarian revolution and such. Before language, even. I believe there was a period of time of perhaps 100,000 years between when homo sapien reached basically our evolutionary peak as we are right now and when we started having language. (200,000 BCE, homo sapien is how we are now, 100,000 BCE we develop language.) I have no references to share, and I’m waaay out of my depth. But I wonder, if that’s true, did we kill each other a lot before we had language?

            I was thinking of reading Paul Shepard’s Coming Home to the Pleistocene to learn more on that front. Anybody have other readable suggestions on the development (evolution?) of violence in early man?

          2. Based on the little bit of knowledge I have about hunter gatherer and other “primitive” communities, there seems to be a huge variation in attitudes towards violence.  Some hunter gatherer tribes are incredibly violent, frequently raiding their neighbors and killing strangers on sight.  Others are remarkably peaceful and egalitarian — I had read about a Polynesian (I think) tribe who were shown photos of people making facial expressions that go along with various emotions.  They exhibited extreme stress reactions just to photographs of visibly frightened or angry people.  They apparently just had no experience with strong negative emotions because the tribe formed such a close-knit support structure.

            The upshot is that I don’t think we can really say.  I don’t think there is such a thing as “human nature” based on the profound variation in “ways to be.”  My guess would be that just as modern hunter gatherer tribes show such huge variation so would early hunter gatherer communities. 

            Edit: Here’s a link to an essay I found pretty enlightening on the subject of peaceful, egalitarian “primitive” communities (site is currently down, though). There’s also been plenty of anthropological work on violent “primitive” communities. Anthro fieldwork is probably your best bet at coming to grips with your very interesting questions.

          3. Thanks for the link. I am disheartened on the fact of variation among “primitive” communities regarding violence. It would be much easier for my commentating if there was consensus.

            I wonder where in our evolution we started killing each other?

          4. Oh, another couple thoughts on this:
            1. Children, especially males, start demonstrating fascinations with violence at a very young age.
            2. Chimpanzees sometimes kill other chimpanzees over territory, one of the very few species who do.  But look up bonobos for another complication to this “violence is part of our genetic heritage” argument.
            3. Human beings are hard-wired to be vengeful.  In the ultimatum game, one person is given an amount of money (say, $10) and told to divide that money however they wish between themselves and one other person.  The catch is that if the other person doesn’t like the deal they can veto it and no one gets any money.  Economic theory says the guy with the veto should take any amount of money he can get and only veto if he gets nothing at all, but real human beings often veto for anything less than a 50/50 split.  So we seem to have a natural tendency to punish others for perceived moral transgressions even at a cost to ourselves. The system makes good evolutionary sense but you can see how it might cause problems in a modern society.

          5. Ah, the bonobos and their liberal attitudes towards sex.

            Now this is the fertile ground QT could have been getting into with these interviewers!

          6. And the vengeful thing. All good food for thought. I think we are really making some progress, here. Good day, sir. Or madame.

        3. Perhaps these are things that you personally believe or think about with respect to this subject (I don´t know but you are certainly capable of dreaming these answers up).
          But just because someone COULD say something, doesn’t mean that’s what they WANT to say about the subject.
          Sure, he could have just given a BS answer, but that pretty much prevents a real discussion since now he has to be held accountable for saying this.

          So i do appreciate a non answer rather than a bs answer t please the interviewer.

      2. Your edit speaks truth. But I think Tarantino is smart enough, talented enough, and quick enough to make it into a high-minded topic. He knows these questions are coming. He’s been doing tons of press. He’s a talented writer and performer.

        I maintain he’s choosing the lazy way out.

        1.  He is, but why make a conversation about that topic with a British tabloid journalist during a movie promo? Either way, the journalist got what he wanted, now that his interview has been posted on BB.

          1. Asking a loaded question like that during a promotional interview is a hallmark of tabloid journalism. I know the exception does not make the rule, but if channel four really wanted to have a conversation about the topic in your prior post, they could of done it in a respectful way. Instead, they did it in a way which will not spur an honest conversation.

    2.  Generally such hot issues are put on a “no ask” list when the interview is agreed to. I don’t know whether this was a junket interview or an interview specifically for this show, but the interview was appeared to only be about Django Unchained and the handlers would have made it clear that only DU questions were to be asked.

      Tarantino’s views on the supposed links between violence and movies have been stated time and again – rehashing the same topic over and over again just so an interviewer with an overly high opinion of himself can get a soundbite is pointless. What new ground was this interviewer trying to dig up? Or was he just on a fishing expedition? Honestly, some reporters just don’t know when to give up and they can ask some bloody stupid questions at times – it is a wonder more interviewees don’t blow up.

    3.  Youre right, questions on the topic are not necesarily accusations, HOWEVER, its pretty clear he was asking him to defend his use of violence in film.

  7. Whether or not he is responsible for violence, he is definitely responsible for spreading douchebaggery.  I have worked with way too many new directors who have been convinced by Tarantino that being a jerk is the best way to manage people, usually to disastrous results.  Having said that, his reaction in this video is defensive not offensive to me.

  8. Tarantino is a “clever” filmmaker who has used  the medium to explore his overt penchant for homoerotic sadism beginning with Reservoir Dogs. 

    His film’s dialogue is usually his own manic rants which sound exactly the way he speaks. Anyone suffering from bi-polar mania who hasn’t taken their meds sounds just like Tarantino with his forced, pressured, non-stop, frenzied  delivery. As someone suffering from narcissistic tendencies, he is very hostile to any criticism of  his material. It will come as no surprise when he eventually offs himself. 

          1. You’re feeble arms do not have the right properties to even attempt such a feat. Unless you are the imaginary friend I mentioned in that other thread. I will take that risk.

      1. Stallone does not contrive to being a critic of social or historical institutions. The content of his films have little to do with anything.

        1. I think drawing parallels to other directors is very relevant, but that is not why I made that post. I made something silly, because it sits next to your wild assumptions of Tarantino and mental illness well.

        2. Stallone does not contrive to being a critic of social or historical institutions.

          Do you know that for sure? He may view himself as an auteur.

        3. I disagree, I don’t think you can watch First Blood and say it has no social commentary. It may be shallow but it is there. Stallone’s personal efforts reflect this more.

          And where has Tarantino claimed to be a critic of anything other than movies?

    1. As someone suffering from narcissistic tendencies, he is very hostile to any criticism of  his material. It will come as no surprise when he eventually offs himself.

      If you think he’s so narcissistic, then why do you also think he’d “off himself”?  I think you’re confused.

    2. Well, if you were talented we could probably infer a bunch of your personal failings from aspects of your creative works and self-righteously bash you over it on the internet.  But you’re not so we can’t.  Hardly seems fair.

    3. I dated (and nearly married) a manic bi-polar women for 5 years.  I can safely say that none of her pissed off rants were half as pleasant to the ears as one of Tarantino’s vulgar monologues.

      I guess what I am saying is that the magical powers that you ascribe to the manic bi-polar are not nearly as prevalent as you think they are.  Any person that can spew that kind of shit in a coherent and hilarious stream isn’t sick, they are fucking brilliant.  

      Stick to  your house in the ‘burbs and send you bi-polar manics my way.  Those are some folks I want to hear talk shit into my ear.

  9. It’s not that he got angry. No, it is after all a vapid question that’s clearly pandering to the recent news cycle, and not in a particularly informative or insightful way.

    The reason his response makes you shake your head, is that at no point did anyone call him a slave. That comes weirdly out of his own goofy head.

    Granted, the movie deals with violence as part of, and as Tarantino himself points out, in cathartic reaction to slavery, but slavery isn’t part of the question nor part of why the interviewer thinks Tarantino should answer.

    Tarantino could have said, “look, Jerkass, that’s a dumb question,” and it might have been crass, but it wouldn’t have been weird. Instead he pretended  the interviewer had implied he was a slave. It’s a weird jag off topic.

    It’s as weird as if the interviewer had asked about the portrayal of sex in cinema and he’d said, “I don’t have to tell you about that, now stop trying to rape me.” It’s weird; it’s off topic; and it invokes a taboo topic that’s best dealt with seriously, not thrown out like a get-out-of-this-difficult-conversation-free card.

    1. Re: rape, that strikes me as the exact right thing to say, in the scenario you present.

      I have no problem with what he said.  Clearly, the interviewer wasn’t asking a question that truly interested the interviewer.  QT is right in pointing out he’s answered that — for decades — and if the interviewed had done any research he’d’ve discovered the answer.

      Journalists are supposed to do some work, you know.  If one’s labor is being exploited for the sole profit of another, it’s slavery.  QT isn’t gaining anything by doing this interview.

      And I have to admit, until I read these comments, the connection between slave and monkey did not occur to me.  I was a little flabbergasted by it.

      The connection between being forced to comply with another’s agenda = slavery?  Makes sense.  The connection between being forced to go through the motions of dancing to a tune you’ve heard before = organ grinder?  Makes sense.  The weird interpretive thing people are doing by connecting monkey and Black is just freaking weird.  It seems to me particularly Brit/American.  There were (are) slaves who aren’t Black, you realize?

      1. Interesting point about the interviewer doing some research before hand. I agree with you.

        If he would have done that, he might have had more success in drawing QT out on the topic, asking him to refine some of his previous positions, pointing out flaws, etc.

      2. Well, I only came to the monkey/slave thing trying to work out what was objectionable about what he said. It never occurred to me a comment referencing slavery would be unexpected when discussing this movie.

    2.  The demanding a response was what triggered the master/slave comment. Tarantino has no obligation to dance for the amusement of this interviewer. “You are not the boss of me”, “you are not my master”, “you do not control me” are all relevant responses to someone who is trying to badger you into talking about a topic that has been done to death. He had already said he wasn’t going to respond, the interviewer continues with the line of questioning as if Tarantino “owed” him a response.

      Ultimately, whatever Tarantino said there would be nutjobs who would take offense – some people get offended too easily it seems.

    3. Now, I haven’t seen Django Unleashed yet, but I’m guessing the master/slave language isn’t exactly out of left field in the context of an interview about a movie which contains so many masters and slaves. I’m guessing the institution of slavery is pretty well all over that thing. Now had he said that in an interview for Inglorious Basterds or likewise made some sort of random Holocaust quote for this one I might be more taken aback. 

    4. You are a far more awesome person than the rest of us I guess.  The vast majority of us lame humans, when primed with a particular topic, have a nasty habit of actually referring to said topic.  If it blows your mind that Tarantino, having just done a movie about movie about slaves and being interviewed about a movie about slaves busts out a slave analogy when pissed and put on the spot, then you are a far more bad ass and in control human than the rest of us.  Most humans, when primed in such an extreme way as having thought about nothing but fucking slaves for a few months as writing and directing a movie about slaves, are likely to do a same fucking thing.  You are just fucking special and don’t have that defect.  Good for you!  You are special!  You should give interviews.

      I suppose it will also blow your mind in half to know that when I am around my rural relatives with a strong accent my normally non-existent northeastern US accent suddenly comes out in full force, especially when agitated.  Holy fucking shit.  Lets go pahk ouah cahs in Havahad yahd an then geh wicked fuhkin pissed while we contemplate yah amazin’ powahs of restinin’ primen, ayup.

      Jack ass.

  10. I’m just gonna skip to the bottom here assuming that like Twitter, people aren’t going to be able to contain themselves from expressing themselves in terms of spoilers.

  11. Tarantino has little need to pander to anybody because he does what he does so well. Lots of artists are the same way. But Tarantino is also not beyond making the rounds promoting his movies, and the results are inevitable. And hysterical.

  12. He had a conversational interview with Craig Ferguson a couple weeks back, and was less hard hitting questions than “Seen any good movies lately?”.  Which was entertaining and really, I probably expect more entertainment from the guy than a helpful analysis of American violence.  I think it can be done in movies, Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” being a good example, but Tarantino is more a guy giving us a grown up version of people playing an intentionally childish game of cops and robbers/ kung fu hero than insight.  He’s in the diversion department, not the introspection part of the store.

  13. I think he said how he feels about violence pretty effectively through his film.  It’s the only movie that has ever made me cringe at the terrible violence of the slave era.  The History Channel does a worse disservice by showing a sterilized and boring version of history.  So does Spielberg – I know I’m not the only one who fell asleep during Amistad.  I think the movie was pretty effective on a few fronts and the smug line of questioning from that journo pretty offensive.  

    1. I think the idea is that he should have eschewed the “master/slave” metaphor in this particular interview.  Presumably the “dancing monkey” metaphor would have been fine.

  14. If you want to play the blame game, I would say the media should be highest on the blame list. That’s why media outlets are always so quick to point the finger everywhere else, because they know it. The most common denominator with mass shooters is the desire to make the news and become “famous”. Of course, I personally blame the actions on those who committed them and don’t believe in displacing blame.

    1. Kill Bill may have been silly, if that’s what you want to call the over-the-top-ness of it. But from that point of view, no more so than Pulp Fiction. Tarantino excels at having adult characters do intensely violent things with childish glee in a comic book atmosphere.

  15. I’m always a bit relieved to see negative Tarantino press…he reminds me of south park a lot. He uses unlovable characters like nazi’s and slave-owners to justify the use of Miike style violence. This is a newer formula that seems like a bite off of Eli Roth when he made the horror movie about americans traveling. It’s like an apology for exploiting our lowest common denominator urges in the same way south park claims to “make fun of everyone equally”. They know it’s kinda jerky, but there’s a way to apologize and convince themselves to sleep at night.

  16. But, isn’t the interviewer the one making the connection between movie violence and real violence? Meaning he is the one who has the explaining to do. I think its a good idea to avoid this line of questioning all together, and while his comments are VERY over the top, I don’t think its out of line to shut down that line of questioning.

    As background I’m reminded of Penn and tellers Bullsh*t show on bad words where he says very mean things to a little puppy in a cute voice and then says very nice things to the same puppy in a mean tone to illustrate how the very idea of bad words is misleading, In this case, the interviewer “innocently” asks Tarantino some “innocent” questions and Tarantino goes nuts while the interviewer keeps his composure.

    Its a very interesting thing that happens in media where the mediator is set up as more important than the content. In this case “the media” is showing its power to paint Tarantino as a loon by highlighting that behavior and by doing so it becomes a doubly contrived situation, where if Tarantino had dignified the question, he would have given them a good sound bite for their own purposes, but if he doesn’t take the bait his non answer is used as the suggestion to an answer as well!

    Really, is the point here that Tarantino is crazy? or can we see through the manipulations and realize that we already know that hes crazy and that this not news but instead an attempt to shame him for not bowing down to “the media” as taste maker.

  17. I find it more interesting that the head of the NRA can blame violent movies like Django for school shootings while the wimp ignores the giant elephant in the living room shitting on the coffee table… the military-industrial complex.
    I guess it’s easier and safer for cowards like Wayne LaPierre to pick on hollywood.

    1. Yes, thats it isnt it? Its a cop out. I’ll just leave this here: http://kotaku.com/5974648/the-daily-show-calls-out-scapegoat-artists-in-the-video-games-and-gun-control-debate 

      1. I actually laughed out loud when I saw Wayne la Pierre’s response.  I mean, cripes, no, you can’t blame Bushmaster’s “Consider Your Man Card Reissued” campaign for the gun used by Adam Lanza, but hey, we’re pretty sure watching violence in video games and movies makes you kill!


        I think it IS a cop-out.  Several different sides are trying to find the one, true, quick fix to the issue.  I don’t think there is one.  We have a culture that, as Quentin Tarantino himself has pointed out, is obsessed with violence, but then profits from it.  There’s also the huge elephant in the room, mental health issues, which nobody seems to want to talk about…I guess because it’s more important to restrict 1st and 2nd Amendment rights.

  18. I think that Quentin wins this one. I also like that he was completely honest about why he was there, to promote the movie and not to engage in a philosophical debate with a cheese grater. And in answer to Xeni’s question, the answer is a sort of 3 but that’s just the way he is fame or not.

    1. Wining an argument by making yourself look like a jackass during the promotion of your film is a new one to me.

  19. I’m a little disappointed by all Tarentino’s fans sort of group-thinking in this thread to collectively slander the interviewer.  Often in little backhanded remarks like “he’s stupid”, and nothing else.

    Quentin Tarentino is pretty much the patron saint of violent movies.  In light of recent events there has been plenty of questions regarding the role of violence in culture.  If I’m going to be running an interviewer with him, and I already know his position, then it seems to be a pretty bloody obvious question to simply ask “Why?”.  

    Of course Tarentino wasn’t interested in this, he was interested in marketing the movie, as he said so.  Well sorry buddy, but that’s the deal.  You answer the questions, and in return your movie gets plug time.  It’s not a slave-model, it’s a perfectly fair exchange that you agreed to beforehand.

    Now to be perfectly clear, I like his movies, and I like his movies alot.  But I also like BBC reporters that don’t just softball their questions, even when it’s Quentin Tarentino.  

    I mean seriously, what would make the reporter not “an idiot”?  a bunch of lowball milktoast questions that essentially turned his program into nothing more than free advert time for Tarentino?  Gimmeabreak.

  20. That’s funny as I just saw him in “From dusk till dawn” and was wondering, is this really a character part or the real Tarentino ? What’s also funny is how I really admire some of his work and absolutely despise the rest.

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