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Quentin Tarantino

From Academic Kids

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Quentin Tarantino, playing Mr. Brown in the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs.

Quentin Tarantino (born March 27, 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American screenwriter, film director and actor who rapidly rose to fame in the early 1990s as a fresh and gritty storyteller who brought new life to the most familiar American archetypes.

Contents

Career history

Tarantino's big break came with the sale of his script True Romance, written with Roger Avary, which was made into a film starring Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater. He also wrote the original screenplay for Natural Born Killers, as part of the longer screenplay that True Romance came from, although it was changed significantly by subsequent writers.

The sale of True Romance (eventually released in 1993) garnered him attention. He met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party and Bender encouraged Quentin to go write a film. The end product was Reservoir Dogs (1992), a stylish, witty, and blood-soaked heist movie that set the tone for his later films. The script was read by director Monte Helman who helped secure funding from Live Entertainment and also Tarantino's directorship of the film.

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Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney are the Gecko brothers in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).

His followup was Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes film festival. It was a complexly plotted film with a similarly brutal wit. It featured many critically acclaimed performances, and was noted for reviving the career of John Travolta.

Tarantino's next film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of a novel by his mentor Elmore Leonard. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who had featured in many of the genre's films in the 1970s.

In 1998, he turned his attention to the Broadway stage, where he starred in Wait Until Dark.

He had then planned to make the war film Inglorious Bastards. However, he postponed that to write and direct Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the Chinese Wuxia, Japanese, and spaghetti Western cinematic traditions. It was based on a character (The Bride) and plot that he and Kill Bill's lead actor, Uma Thurman had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction.

In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. Kill Bill was not in competition, but it did screen on the final night in its original 3+ hour version.

Tarantino is given credit as "Special Guest Director" for his work directing a scene of the 2005 neo-noir film Sin City.

On February 24, 2005 it was announced he would direct the season finale of CSI. The two-hour episode, "Grave Danger," was aired on May 19 to stellar ratings and reviews.

Tarantino starred in the first season of the TV show Alias as McKenas Cole, a former SD-6 agent who attempts to take over the offices of SD-6 in order to steal a valuable artifact from its vault. He later appears in season three as an executive of a new terrorist organization called The Covenant.

Aesthetics

Tarantino's movies are renowned for their sharp dialogue, splintered chronology and pop culture obsessions. Often they are viewed as graphically violent, but the violence is often implied and not shown on screen. What affects people is the tension and realism Quentin uses in his "violent" scenes. Fictional brands such as Red Apple cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burgers from Pulp Fiction have shown up in other movies including Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill and even Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

Almost as well-known as his movies is his public persona as a motor-mouthed, geeky hipster with an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and art-house cinema. The director is also known for his love of breakfast cereal, and many of his movies feature discontinued brands such as Fruit Brute (a spin off of the more popular Franken Berry) in Pulp Fiction and Kaboom in Kill Bill.

Influences

Tarantino is widely known as a director who is very much a 'film-geek'. His youth and time spent working in a video rental store created an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. Particularly, he has a vast knowledge of foreign films, genre films and little-known pieces of cinema. He is a declared lover of the exploitation genre, Asian cinema (especially from Hong Kong) and the Italian Western. His love of those genres is mirrored in his works; Kill Bill for example features a long list of movie references; and his movies, at least according to him, are homages to all his idols.

A committed Anglophile, he also has an encyclopedic knowledge of British cinema.

Criticism

Tarantino has come under criticism for his use of racial epithets in his films, particularly the word "nigger" in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, most notably from African American director Spike Lee. In an interview for Variety, Lee said: "I'm not against the ['n'] word... and I use it, but Quentin is infatuated with the word. What does he want to be made? An honorary black man?"

An oft-cited example is a scene in Pulp Fiction in which a character named Jimmy Dimmick, incidentally portrayed by Tarantino himself, dresses down Samuel L. Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, for using his house as "dead nigger storage", followed by a rant that uses the word profusely. The fact that Jimmie had an African American wife was also seen as an insult, specifically by Spike Lee. Lee makes direct reference to this in his film Bamboozled when the character Thomas Dunwitty states: "Please don't get offended by my use of the quote-unquote N word. I got a black wife and three bi-racial children, so I feel I have a right to use that word. I don't give a damn what Spike says, Tarantino is right. Nigger is just a word."

Tarantino has defended his use of the word by arguing that black audiences have an appreciation of his blaxploitation-influenced films that eludes some of his critics, and, indeed, that Jackie Brown was primarily made for "black audiences":

To me the film is a black film. It was made for black audiences actually. It was made for everybody, but that was the audience. If I had any of them in mind, I was thinking of that because I was always thinking of watching it in a black theatre. I didn't have audiences ridiculously in mind because I am the audience, but that works well for that too because I go to black theatres. To me it is a black film. [1] (http://film.guardian.co.uk/Guardian_NFT/interview/0,4479,78447,00.html)

Tarantino has also been criticized for allegedly plagiarizing ideas, scenes, and lines of dialogue from other films, for example Reservoir Dogs is based on Ringo Lam's City on Fire. Others say that Tarantino is simply referencing the directors and films he admires. Much debate has been sparked on when such references cease to be tributes and become plagiarism.

Trivia

  • One of Tarantino's trademarks is the trunk shot — the camera looking out from the trunk of a car at the actors. He has used it in all the films he has directed.
  • Tarantino once played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of The Golden Girls.
  • Always has an ad for Red Apple cigarettes in his films at some point.
  • Always has a scene where a character is followed around by the camera for a fairly long period of time.
  • Each of the four films Tarantino has directed and the three movies which he wrote the script for but did not direct have had plots revolving around crime and criminals.
  • Cigarette smoking by several main characters is a recurring element of Tarantino's movies, a notable exception being The Bride in the "Kill Bill" series.
  • Although many of his characters die in a brutal (and often disturbing) fashion, there is typically some justification, at least in the minds of the other characters. Some examples: two of the persons brutally killed in Kill Bill were a rapist and a pedophile; in Pulp Fiction, a gangster shoots a man in the groin for sexually abusing him; Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs gets shot to death shortly after torturing a police officer.
  • One of Tarantino's closest friends is fellow director Robert Rodriguez (the pair often refer to each other as brothers). It was Tarantino who suggested that Rodriguez name the final part of his El Mariachi trilogy Once Upon a Time in Mexico. They are both members of A Band Apart (a reference to the Godard film Bande part), a production company that also features directors John Woo and Luc Besson. Tarantino also helped Rodriguez direct a scene in the 2005 film Sin City.
  • Tarantino has been romantically linked with numerous actresses, including Sofia Coppola, the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning writer/director of Lost In Translation, Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino, and comedienne Margaret Cho. There have also been rumors about his relationship with Uma Thurman, who he has referred to as his "muse". However, Tarantino has gone on record as saying that their relationship is strictly platonic.
  • He has stated that the character of Clarence in True Romance was somewhat autobiographical. Clarence was also the name of the character he played in My Best Friend's Birthday, an amateur film he also co-wrote and directed in 1987, around the time he was writing True Romance.
  • Often casts Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, Michael Madsen and Samuel L. Jackson.
  • He is dyslexic and never completed high school.
  • Tarantino directed the fifth season finale to the hit show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The highly rated episode shared a very similar situation from Tarantino's second Kill Bill film: CSI Nick Stokes is captured and buried alive in a Plexiglas coffin while an Internet camera broadcasts the whole thing to CSI headquarters. In Kill Bill, the Bride (Uma Thurman) was also captured and buried alive in a coffin.

Filmography

Director & screenplay

Screenplay

Actor

Executive producer

External links

da:Quentin Tarantino de:Quentin Tarantino et:Quentin Tarantino es:Quentin Tarantino fr:Quentin Tarantino hr:Quentin Tarantino it:Quentin Tarantino he:קוונטין טרנטינו nl:Quentin Tarantino ja:クエンティン・タランティーノ no:Quentin Tarantino pl:Quentin Tarantino pt:Quentin Tarantino ru:Тарантино, Квентин sk:Quentin Tarantino fi:Quentin Tarantino sv:Quentin Tarantino zh:昆廷塔伦蒂诺

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