Last week in class we looked at Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western/revenge film “Django Unchained.” Now, A LOT was said about the film, but I felt that no matter what was said, the dialogue always came back to the topics of Quentin’s own skin colour, the skin colour of the characters, how that effected choices of the characters made in the film (and why those choices were “wrong”), and the fact that the female character was portrayed as a damsel in distress. Before going into anything, I’m just going to say, I flat out disagree with almost everything that was said about this film when it came to the analysis of race and gender. Why? Because It does not apply to this film! Had we looked at Hotel Rowanda, 12 Years A Slave, even The Help, then yes, I would agree with all of those points. I would back those points up like by own buddy in battle, but we didn’t look at those films, we looked at Django Unchained and because of that, those points no longer valid.
Firstly, Quentin Tarantino has said that Django is a revenge film for his fellow African Americans, the same as he did for his Jewish friends and Inglorious Bastards. That’s it. That’s the film. That is his own artistic statement about the film. Even in class, it was mention, by the professor even, that Mr. Tarantino does not like putting politics into his movies and as such will do the film as he wants to do it. Then that’s all we should analyze with it comes to politics. Looking at it any more would be the same as saying that Katy Perry’s song “TGIF” is about how the week breaks us of our evil capitalist hold, because Marx was the best ever and eff the government, and also the police, and also Illuminati controls everything. No, it’s bloody about Katy Perry and how she likes to party with her friends and get really wasted. That’s her artistic statement. Going over board, while fun in ironic settings, only makes you a tool. The same is true for Django Unchained. Tarantino wants us to see as a fun, over the top revenge film for his african friends and he made it like a Spaghetti Western because he loves Spaghetti westerns more than anything AND THAT’S WHAT IT IS! Look any deeper and you’re missing the point. Your missing the Artist’s point, you might as well be putting words into his mouth that he’s never once said.
Okay, next: the term “White Privilege” (or any kind of privilege really) is probably the biggest plague on society that the 21st century has come to invent. So what, just because Mr. Tarantino is white he can’t feel the pain of another human being? Just because, his family history wasn’t a part of this time the same as Mr. Foxx’s may have been, doesn’t mean me can’t imagine the troubles that those people may have been through. I truly believe that judging someone by the colour of their skin is wrong and is the biggest crime of humanity up until the 21st century, but it seems like we still aren’t over this. In fact, it’s the very people who think they are destroying it that are keeping it alive. Just because Mr. Tarantino is white does not and should not mean he can’t cringe when we writes a man torn apart by dogs, or feel joy when a man save the woman he loves from the prisons of racism, or make a revenge film for a culture that he is not. The colour of one’s skin shouldn’t dictate what goes on inside our minds. We are all human. Above all, we all feel the same as one other. Saying Mr. Tarantino should not have made this film because of his “White Privilege” is itself racist. A different level of racism than slavery, mind you, but racist none the less.
Now let’s talk about Hildy. Actually, before we get to Hildy, let’s remember something about the film as stated pretty clearly: This film is a retelling of the great German legend of Sigfried and Brynhildr as heard in the The Ring Cycle and “meta-ly” stated by Dr. Sholtz. The German tales is simply, Brynhildr (Hildy) was held prisoner in the tower (Candyland) by the Dragon (Mr. Candie/Racism/Slavery), until Sigfried (Django) came to save her. Now, Tarantino has always in the past presented extraordinarily strong female characters, so when he gives us a damsel in distress this one time, there must be a reason. The German legend is that reason. Tarantino obviously wanted to stay true to the story and for that to work, Hildy had to be the damsel. Now, he did try to have her escape and be that strong woman, but unfortunately, the Dragon was too powerful and she was put in the hot box. Anyone who critics the film as being anti-feminist or sees Hildy as weak are (as all other points made in this blog), missing the point of the film and trying to find trouble where there isn’t any. If they were Hildy and the film was the dragon, the dragon would have eaten them.
My final point to argue of those presented in class is of poor Dr. Sholtz. In class, Sholtz was attacked for being “that white guy who saved Django,” when Django could have saved himself. Okay, let’s go back and remember the film for a second. Django did try to save himself. He tried running away many, many times, but each time he was captured again, and burnt and scared. Let’s remember what era we’re talking about, people were beaten and killed for less. Yes, it sucks that Django had to have been given his freedom by a white guy. If Django Unchained was a modern day film, it would very much indeed be racist, but it doesn’t take place in 2014, it takes place just before the Civil War and slavery is very much a thing. After having tried to escape but unfortunately failing time and time again (as told in the film), Dr. Sholtz was that necessary character to move the plot forward.
Alright, this just about ends my mighty first blog about Django Unchained, but before I go I would like to bring out the issue with something said in class: “We’re in university. We’re supposed to be analyzing everything.” Now, I paraphrase a tad, but the gist is there. To this point I say, yes, we should be analyzing, but we should also be analyzing when it is okay to analyze and how far that analysis should go (there is such a thing as over analysis). Being able to critique something doesn’t make you intellectual or a unique thinker, it makes you exactly like everybody else, even toddlers critique their parents constantly. No, University teaches (or rather should be teaching if it isn’t already) us how to know the difference between levels of analysis. To know when it’s okay to bring up your opinion based on knowledge of the subject or when you should study more about such a topic instead of spewing out whatever information and terms you found on tumblr, UpWorthy, or Buzzfeed. To know when we should analyze a piece of art based on the artists intention and/or craft and skill that was put into making it. And to know when maybe you are finding an issue with something just to ‘have an issue with it.’
There is a character on the former NBC sitcom “Community” named Britta, a character who, when playing Dungeons and Dragons, will side with the obviously evil attacking Goblins over her hero friends, because this land “may be the Goblin’s home.” She is the worst. The ideas that I have argued today are the very things that Britta would have said in class. If this is where our generation is headed than I fear for us and pitty artists like Quentin Tarantino who just wanted to made a Revenge Spagheti Western for his African American friends.
Okay, that’s the end of this Blog.