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Quentin Tarantino is officially done talking about the violence in his films.
A master of heightened (and often comedic) carnage on celluloid, the release of the Oscar-winner’s latest film, Django Unchained, coincides with a bloody streak of mass shootings in America, a calendar fluke that has put him in the crosshairs of the latest debate on the impact of violence in entertainment. This does not amuse him, as he made clear in an interview with a British journalist for Channel 4.
Tarantino said the violence in his and other films are based in fantasy, the sort of unlikely escapism that allows one man to take on twenty in a fair fight. When pressed further, he declared, “Don’t ask me questions like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question.”
As the questioning continued, his protests grew. “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not your monkey,” he said, sitting up in his seat.
The director, whose film garnered Oscar nominations on Thursday for best picture, screenplay and supporting actor, is a 20-year veteran of the film junket, and made it clear he was the one in control, calling the interview simply a “commercial” for his movie. Channel 4’s interviewer, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, fought that contention, saying that he worked for a serious news program, with interest in exploring relevant social debate.
Tarantino then pointed out that he has been questioned up and down about the violence in his films, and even as his interviewer cited Vice President Joe Biden‘s meeting with the entertainment industry over guns in its products, Tarantino said that it was not his responsibility to address the issue once again.
No stranger to controversy, Tarantino’s Django has touched off more social debate than perhaps any of his previous films, with only 1997’s blaxploitation Jackie Brown coming close. Earlier, the director weathered the storm of racial outcry, thanks to the western slave-revenge epic’s depiction of bondage and use of epithets.
“Not one word of social criticism that’s been leveled my way has ever changed one word of any script or any story I tell,” he told The Hollywood Reporter late last month, referring both to discussions of both his dealings with race and gunplay. “I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It’s my job to ignore that.”
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