Thursday, January 24, 2013

Django Unchained (2012)

Everybody probably knows by now who Django is and  how his name is pronounced -the D silent. Three whole days after watching a copy with French and Dutch subtitles (annoying), on a very big screen in the only local multiplex and with an audience whose reactions made me think that I was definitely the only one who found the whole thing so infinitely hilarious, I can confess in front of my international readers that Tarantino's new film is indeed his best one till now. Inglourious Basterds slipped and fell down. In the second place.

Even if I chose for my post not the official version of the poster, but a fan version, on which the creative team worked to produce the final one -it belongs to the creative genius (sic) of an Italian named Federico Mancosu-, I have to aknowledge another one flying around the World Wide Web that I found inspiring. It's this one

Then, I want to go on repeating the absolutely true statement on Tarantino's one of a kind ability to match the moving image with the soundtrack. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for what he has done with Django, that is supposedly a revenge film, but also a film on one of the most unclear concepts ever called freedom. Naturally, I loved the homonymous song by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton. Another one that these days plays on loop is Ancora qui by Elisa and Ennio Morricone, how haunting, really.

Now, I'm sure you've heard that this is a spaghetti-western type of film; a mock-exploitation kind of film; a more or less trash film, as fellow David Denby puts it. The thing is, the film could be listed in the category of transvergent works of art, because it is a film -what else could it be, after all, something that is screened on a cinema- but not only that. As all of Tarantino's oeuvre, Django is even more than others the unwritten quasi-scientific essay, book even, on all the above topics; it's a compilation of and on different past cinematic trends, a photo-collection of discern filmic textures, a partial and fictitious History/Dictionary of Cinema (as well as of slavery, for that sake) like the ones Jorge Luis Borges is referring to. It can raise conversations and polemics for and against every single argument regarding its form, or better its genre, its aesthetics, the verbalism it encompasses, the characterisation of its antiheroic heroes and so on so forth.

The film is nor a tongue-in-cheek venture, neither a light piece of entertainment; this would be too flat, easy and epidermic a thing. It is proof of the radical belief that there is no such thing as truth. Truth, just like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. This is, after all, the essence of postmodernism -which is still alive by the way- with its strategies of pastiche and references, and references to the references. It all depends on the reception; the interpretation. Is Tarantino glamourizing or justifying violence? Is he approving the word "nigger" through satire and excess, is he being offensive, is he taking too many liberties with his inter-textual foreplay? To these questions, not only one answer can be assigned.

What I can personally assure you is that the director had, among others, some noble intentions. Such as doing "movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies." Or, that he wanted to "deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to." I mean, these are strong statements to be lost along the way. I cannot speak in the name of others, but I felt in my gut at least some vague seriousness behind the slippery mixture of blood, sarcasm, foul language and full-fleshed exaggeration. And pathos -a lot of it. Blame it on my hyper-sensitivity, if you prefer.

That's exactly why on my way home after the end of the film, while walking through the snow, that didn't prevent Django Unchained to reach the top of the European box office, I couldn't help thinking that all the fluffy white of the world could not clean the red spilling out of the beautifully assorted vase of that old sin called slavery. But that is not an issue I plan to discuss here.

One last thing, I want to hail (yes, hail) Quentin Tarantino as playing a leading part in the rare species called Peter Pan-filmmakers. Especially after than last scene where the Candy Estate is destroyed, Django takes a minute to wear his sunglasses and Broomhilda cheers his great deed I can be sure that the child deep inside some of us will live forever. Long live Peter Pan.

* Like the over the top bonus seconds after the end of the credits, you know, the "who was that nigger" part, I have to shout out my love to Cristoph Waltz who just cannot get it wrong -it was the deepest sadness I felt because his Dr. King Schultz didn't make it to the end of the film, a Dr. with a ridiculous, brand-new version of bi-polar disease himself. I also respect much more Jamie Foxx as an actor after his portrayal of Django. Samuel Jackson added an extra tint to his role palette, Leonardo was refreshingly good (something that I don't see for his up and coming Great Gatsby) and Kerry Washington was not only refreshingly good, but also stunningly ethereal, exactly as a real princess straight out of Sigfried's fantasies would be.


Μνημοσύνη said...

My dear, i finally saw it!!! Just one thing to correct: in the whole film i was searching for Denzel Washington, cause i really couldn't see him fit in this movie! U must refer to Samuel Jackson instead who i really liked! Man, he gave me the creeps with his evil look!

estelle said...

Great one, isn't it? Denzel, ehm, it was...just a typo :P Thanks for noticing.