Quentin Tarantino’s latest film “Django Unchained” has come under fire for excessive use of the N-word, shocking portrayals of violence and outright disrespect as Spike Lee criticized in a twitter rant.
“There’s two types of violences in this film: There’s the brutal reality of the violence that slaves lived under, under the slavery laws, 245 years. And then there’s the violence of Django’s retribution. And that’s movie violence, and that’s fun, and that’s cool, and that’s really enjoyable,” the filmmaker said during his Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross.
“It’s kind of what you’re waiting for. It’s actually paying back the pain that you had to watch to get there. And so there are two different types of aesthetics going on. And I wanted the painful violence of the slavery sections to hurt and to be painful.”
Although having a “high tolerance for viscera” Tarantino admitted “watching rougher scenes, like the Mandingo scene or the dog scene or the castration scene, traumatized the audience too much. They were too traumatized, so their responses in all the other sections of the film were qualified by that trauma. So I pulled it back a little bit.
“Other movies that have dealt with slavery in America like “Goodbye Uncle Tom,” “Mandingo” or “Drum” get far, far closer to the truth. Having said that, the sensationalistic and almost exploitationist aspect of those films can’t be ignored even though they cut closer to the bone,” Tarantino continued.
“What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse than [what] I show. So if I were to show it a thousand times worse, to me, that wouldn’t be exploitative, that would just be how it is. If you can’t take it, you can’t take it.”
Filming Django abroad was given serious consideration by Tarantino who confessed shooting his epic tale was more than he had bargained.
“After I wrote the script, thinking about it was something I had trepidation about doing. It’s one thing to write on a piece of paper a hundred slaves march through the mud wearing metal collars in chains wearing metal masks like mad dogs being moved around by white people on horses with shot guns, but it’s another thing to actually have a hundred black folks get dressed in these clothes and march through the mud that way in this slave auction town.
“I was thinking of a way to escape the pain. I thought at one point I could shoot the movie in the West Indies. Maybe shoot in Brazil because they have their own history but it wouldn’t be an American history. After I finished the script I went out with Sidney Poitier for dinner and was telling him about my story, and then telling him about my trepidation and my little plan of how I was going to get past it and he said, ‘Quentin, I don’t think you should do that.
“What you’re just telling me is you’re a little afraid of your own movie, and you just need to get over that. If you’re going to tell this story, you need to not be afraid of it. You need to do it. Everyone gets it. Everyone knows what’s going on. We’re making a movie. They get it. Just shoot.’”