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‘Tarantino Total’: a tour of the figure of the artist through his 10 films

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They say that in the cinema no one risks as much as he does, that he commits himself to unsuspected levels and that he really enjoys everything he does, an enthusiasm that spreads to others. Also that “his mind is a source of creativity”, that his scripts seem like novels and that he is a romantic, despite the fact that his films are exaggeratedly violent and harsh.

For one thing or another, Quentin Tarantino leaves no one indifferent. The film director, always controversial and surprising, likes it a lot or doesn’t like it at all. His style is easily recognizable and he has managed to make a name for himself in Hollywood; something not easy, especially for someone who arrived without sponsors. His story is that of a passionate who insisted on realizing his own ideas.

There are those who even consider that it is “the voice of a generation.” But, opinions aside, what is certain is that she is one of the most important figures in contemporary cinema and that any lover and fan of the seventh art should know.

A journey from the beginnings of Tarantino and his films

Movistar+ offers, among its huge catalog of content -films, series, documentaries – an exhaustive and complete documentary on his figure, entitled Tarantino Total . An hour and a half of footage of interviews with more or less close acquaintances of the director, who know how he works and how his passion for cinema is what has led him to the place where he is now.

We remember that he has no formal film studies, but that he worked for several years in a video store. It may seem like an anecdotal fact, perhaps, but as Tarantino himself has confessed on more than one occasion, it was there that he strengthened his love for the seventh art and where he really learned: “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them: I did not go to the cinema”.

Along these same lines, when asked about his secret to success, his response has been that the key is attitude, motivation, even more than technical knowledge, which comes later: “As long as you like movies, you enough, you can make a good movie.”    

He has already done nine and, in case you didn’t know, he’s going to do 10, not one more and not one less. I announced a long time ago that he would retire from this facet, although not from the field of fiction.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The first was Reservoir Dogs . The origin of this film is as curious as it is illustrative of its beginnings: together with several colleagues from the video store where he worked, he wrote a movie script that was as minimalist as possible -to save costs, of course- and he placed the action on a single stage. The plot consisted of dialogues between several men after having carried out an armed robbery; He and his companions were going to interpret the roles. An innovative way of producing a story with few resources, without a doubt.    

But it was not necessary. The big surprise of this whole initiative was when a major Hollywood producer, Lawrence Bender, read the script and was fascinated. Convinced of his potential, he spoke with Tarantino to carry it out with better resources, such as the presence of the famous actor Harvey Keitel in the cast. Keitel liked her so much that other actors soon took an interest in her. Tarantino knew perfectly well everyone’s trajectory.

Among the most impressive curiosities of this film -and that reveals the documentary Tarantino Total- , we find that it was made with a budget of “only” 20,000 dollars and that the suit and shoes that the actors wore were theirs, personal, since from the very beginning production only provided them with the tie. 

For more astonishment, in a month it was recorded. And her exhibition at the Cannes Film Festival was a full-fledged discovery: the critics went wild. The directors wanted to speak with the new revelation director, with Tarantino. “Suddenly, he had become a star,” say some relatives in the documentary.

Here began his fame, the myth, his contacts with great personalities from the world of entertainment, such as producer Harvey Weinstein, with whom he maintained a close friendship for many years.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Two years later came Pulp Fiction, a tape that practically became a cult film from the start. Its explosive mix of violence and irony, with equally impressive dialogues, confirmed the good feelings that Reservoir Dogs achieved . I even surpass them.

With a much larger budget -since there were many interested in financing it-, it connects several stories from the world of crime. In the “Tarantino universe”, rawness, action and blood are hallmarks. Although if we want to understand his success, a good part is due to the masterful performances.

Some actors had appeared in the first one -Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth-, although most were opening for the first time, such as Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis. “It was released” because many of them have subsequently repeated and have become their “muses”, their fetish actors.

Of this tape, it is worth noting the appearance of a fictitious tobacco brand, Red Apple. It is the first product that appears, with an invented name and logo, in his fictions; Many others will follow. One more sign from the house.

Jackie Brown (1997)

“After a movie like Pulp Fiction , what do you do?” asks the documentary, giving voice to natural logic. It is not easy, of course, when the bar is so high and the critics are so attentive. However, Jackie Brown managed to withstand this pressure and reap good results.

Crime and cars are combined in this film noir, with African-American protagonists. “It is an ode”, say some experts; “beautiful and delicate”, according to Samuel L. Jackson, one of the main interpreters.

In addition, the film revives some actors who were not going through their best moments in the world of acting, such as Robert Foster. With another different record, he gave it a new opportunity. Isn’t that about reinventing yourself?  

Kill Bill: Volumen I y II (2003 y 2004)

If Jackie Brown lowered the level of violence, Kill Bill raised it again. This revenge story, seasoned with some oriental elements, once again captivated the audience.

Anything interesting about your shooting? Uma Thurman recalls in Tarantino Total that the director always opts for very realistic sequences, avoiding, as far as possible, the digital. He doesn’t say it for no reason: I experience it firsthand in a car scene that ended in an accident. They rushed so hard to make it look realistic that she came out a little hurt and scared. Luckily, nothing serious happened and the incident remained an anecdote.

Death Proof (2007)

That Tarantino is only going to make 10 films is not an arbitrary fact. Each tape is a tribute to a specific type of film. Death Proof , to the “muscle cars” and the exploitation and slasher genres, so typical of the previous decades.

Kurt Russell, the lead actor, told Tarantino Total that “one of the best things about working with Tarantino is that he doesn’t cut the actors”, leaving some freedom to improvise.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

In this feature film, about an assassination attempt on Hitler, the actors confess their impression on Tarantino, with his level of involvement on camera, his laugh -which was sometimes so loud that scenes were forced to be repeated and his way to play with them.

For example, the case of the actor Eli Roth, who plays the Bear Jew. Before his appearance, Brad Pitt was creating excitement with his appearance. Every day, just before it was time for him to break in, they cut off the action and pushed it back to the next day. They were like that for weeks. In the end, Roth came in pissed off, “like a caged animal, what he wanted deep down Tarantino.”

Or also the case of Diane Kruger and Tim Roth. The second played a Nazi officer. But they did not rehearse the scene together. In the middle of filming, Roth begins to laugh in an exaggerated way and Kruger’s astonished face is real; what is seen on the screen.

Django Unchained (2012)

From this tape, we can highlight the use of the word “nigger”, which in its day generated some controversy and the famous scene in which Leonardo di Caprio cuts his hand in the middle of the scene, with so much impetus that he put. “The blood reached the second floor”, but they kept shooting and then they broadcast it like this. More realistic impossible.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Almost three hours of a film about eight characters locked in the same place by a blizzard, make up this wild and raw wester that mixes mystery and revenge. Critics liken it to Reservoir Dogs , but with more time for dialogue and suspense.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)

The ninth of Tarantino’s films was with Sony. A change produced by the scandal that affected his friend and producer Harvey Weinstein, with whom he broke off his relationship.

Set in Los Angeles, the action mixes several fictional stories with some real events, the crimes of the Manson family.

The tenth and what will happen after

After her, only the last one remains. What will it be? No clues at the moment. We only know that the actors who have worked with him yearn to repeat and that, taking into account his career, it was another tribute to films that marked him when he was young.

When he finishes it, yes, he will dedicate himself to writing novels. A very different format, but one in which she already has some experience: we remember that her classmates say that his scripts look like novels. Surely, with them, she also manages to conquer the audience and critics.

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