March 27, 2013
The movies of QUENTIN TARANTINO (born 1963) fluently quote everything from Godard films to giallo, Sirk to slasher and spaghetti western, and Hawks to chanbara, not to mention exploitation (whether black, hick, Nazi, biker, Aussie, rape-and-revenge, prison, or girl-and-gun). Despite what some critics claim, Tarantino isn’t merely a video-store Scheherazade; his borrowings add up to a coherent and unique style. The various hallmarks of a Tarantino film are unmistakable: Seventies soul, eloquent monsters, offbeat covers, misused cutlery, Talmudic etiquette-parsing, film buff in-jokes, and Samuel L. Jackson, plus violence that carries whatever emotional or aesthetic valence — gross, scary, balletic, repulsive, funny — is needed. Vengeance has been a key theme: Reservoir Dogs introduced Tarantino’s gift for pop casuistry; Kill Bill took the revenge film on a world genre-tour; and in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained retribution is visited on past evildoers, Nazis and slaveholders. Another key theme, however, is grace: Jackie Brown is a heist film, but in it Pam Grier and Robert Forster deliver the most deeply felt screen romance of the past thirty years; and how many people have noticed that Pulp Fiction, for all its quotable talk and spattered brains, is the sweetest Tarantino movie of all? When a miracle happens in your life you can’t just go the fuck back to sleep.
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Original Generation X (1954–1963) and Reconstructionist (1964–1973) Generation.