photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
any retrospective documentary on the career of FAMED DIRECTOR QUENTIN TARANTINO in a post-HARVEY WEINSTEIN era is fraught to begin with. its this IMPENETRABLY DARK and SEEDY UNDERBELLY of the HOLLYWOOD infrastructure, that always existed, that effectively trades on SEXUAL ABUSE and ASYMMETRICAL POWER dynamics. TARANTINO was able to make UNCOMPROMISING motion pictures in part because he had WEINSTEIN and his CORROSIVE power maneuvers as his ultimate backer and imprimatur.
needless to say, it is more than DIFFICULT to look away from that LEGACY.
but the recent QT8: THE FIRST EIGHT (WOOD ENTERTAINMENT, 2019) documentary attempts to do just that, focusing on the AUTEUR approach and uncompromising vision to the humanity of his characters that made TARANTINO a first name WRITER / DIRECTOR of the same ESTEEMED echelon as MARTIN SCORSESE, ORSON WELLES, BILLY WILDER, INGMAR BERGMAN, JOHN HUSTON, PRESTON STURGES, JEAN-LUC GODARD, FEDERICO FELLINI and FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA that all came before him. attesting to such include various members of his longtime production staff and NOTABLE actors ranging from SAMUEL L JACKSON, MICHAEL MADSEN, TIM ROTH, ZOE BELL, CHRISTOPH WALTZ and KURT RUSSELL to JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, ELI ROTH, ROBERT FORSTER and LUCY LIU among others. much is made about his ability to write AUTHENTICALLY and IMAGINATIVELY from multiple perspectives with little to no filter for modern accountings of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS or the MERCURIAL whims of GOOD TASTE. his focus and objective is fidelity to the script, the characters and the choices of actors in bringing said narratives to fruition.
being the WRITER and the DIRECTOR, arguably the most INTRIGUING aspect of his scripts is his portrayal of both RACIALLY and GENDER DIVERSE characters. women feature as power brokers throughout his films, most notably JACKIE BROWN (MIRAMAX, 1997) and the KILL BILL (MIRAMAX, 2003-04) series, without much attention necessarily being attributed to such. almost as if this was a natural occurrence in his CINEMATIC UNIVERSE which is arguably the most ENLIGHTENED manner to do such. direct actions rather than FEEBLE, WELL-INTENTIONED sentiments and words about gender and RACIAL EQUALITY. same could be said about his portrayal of BLACK PEOPLE in his films. much has been said about his use of INFLAMMATORY language regarding RACE in his films, such decisions make him CONTROVERSIAL. its an INTERESTING dialogue that is continuing unabated to the present and i will admit i am unsure of where i stand on such. all i can say is that having them not employ such HARSH and UNFORGIVING language in the intense CINEMATIC SCENARIOS depicted by TARANTINO in his films would seemingly come off HALF-HEARTED and ROLLED BACK. just my opinion but i can see the validity of the other side of that argument shared by the likes of SPIKE LEE most famously.
all that being said, these first eight films in his FILMOGRAPHY will forever have the stain of WEINSTEIN on them as the audience is empowered to know the IMPOSSIBLE professional choices presented to key TARANTINO collaborators such as UMA THURMAN, ROSE MCGOWAN, ROSANNA ARQUETTE and DARYL HANNAH. either play ball with a PREDATOR or get blacklisted and watch your career drift away (dont believe me, just read any interview with SEAN YOUNG). UNFORTUNATELY for a film that was seemingly constructed to counteract the prevailing popular narrative of TARANTINO as the material beneficiary (over decades) of a professional relationship with a SERIAL SEXUAL PREDATOR whom he knew was SEXUALLY EXPLOITING his FEMALE CAST and STAFF, such is the real LEGACY of his work. he should have shielded and protected his co-workers. fought back. did something.
if this film really wants to talk LEGACY, his LEGACY will be one of SILENCE when it mattered most in real life. when he had leverage to execute change in a CORRUPT hierarchy of men. his MORAL FAILURE was in real life, not some fantasy world of his own creation. such is his ACTUAL LEGACY.