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Genre Tarantino

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Danny Cross


Professor McCamy


Genre Tarantino

Quintin Tarantino has cultivated his own genre within film, he reflects an altered view of the American cinema and culture formed a completely unique untouchable filmography along with the trademark content, characterized by being “both genre-centric and stylistically uniform” (Gurny, 2013). A Tarantino film is recognizable strictly from content because of its loud scene stylings, and iconic dialog. Through his numerous pop-culture references in every one of his films it is clear to see how intertwined with the American culture. This paper will focus on three of Tarantino’s highest grossing films. With Pulp Fiction coming in at the number one spot, and Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 are at position 4 and 5 (Edelstein, 2015). These are three of the best examples to also show abstract film elements, cinematic structure and the non-linear narrative in his movies.

These are three of his best known, cult classic films and they take place in two different sub-worlds of Tarantino’s cinematic genera. During an interview Tarintino speaks about how everything that goes on in his movies takes place in the same universe. There is the “movie-movie” world where both volumes of the Kill Bill take place and there is the less cinematic but equally dramatic more down-to-earth world that is the home of Pulp Fiction. But even these two worlds are still connected. They all exist in the same universe of picture, cinematics, style and theatrics. (Gurny, 2013)

        Taking place in the “movie-movie” world, centered around an ex assassin trying to get revenge. Revenge is a very predominant theme in many of Tarantino’s movies. Considering the opening scene of the movie is a quote “Revenge is a dish best served cold” – Old Klingon Saying (Tarantino, Kill Bill Volume 1, 2003). Later the film goes on to reveal that exacting revenge is god’s work. Of course following this scene is a shot of The pride all bloody in her wedding dress, which is why she is named the bride. From the very start Tarantino has this film taking place in a flashback, and then moving forward. Just in this quick excerpt you also learn what sort of fuel she has to hunt them down. This film is strange and unique is so many ways. This is a great example of the abstract use of cinematic structure and mixing two different genera into one film. Kill Bill was actually filmed as one movie but was too long and needed to be split up onto two releases. This film was ten chapters long, five chapters for each movie. Containing flashbacks, animations and chapter titles, the movie is quite animated. The animations were also almost a third genera of their own, drawn to more of an anime feel. This gave us the background for the Japanese character and the more Japanese oriented chapters of the movie. Even in this animated sub genera there are major themes of revenge. Chapter titles and title screens are introduced in the first few minutes of the movie listing all the lead roles. Through these flashbacks we slowly learn the history and hatred behind each character as The Bride slowly hunts them down. Also even the first chapter of the story starts with The Bride killing the second person on her list, showing another example of Tarantino experimenting with the filmic narrative structure. Somehow this series manages to branch two movie genres with one film by having the first volume more of a Kung-Fu theme and the second volume being much more of an American western appeal. Despite the first movie being more of a Kung-Fu movie there are major accents of American culture.  

The first movie was very bloody and the plot progressed at breakneck speeds, out of chronological order. The very start of chapter one is a huge fight scene where during the fight scene, the two women are holding knifes at each other but something happens that only would in a Tarintino movie-movie ultra-dramatic universe. Her child arrives home. During this scene the bride says her name multiple times but it is bleeped out because Tarantino does not want the viewer to know The Brides name. Just in the first chapter you can see strange film angles used and weird narrative story telling. The genera Tarantino plants on a movie is unmistakable and noticeable even in the first ten minutes. Watching retrospectively, this chapter also gives hope for a Kill Bill Volume 3 as well as her daughter that they had dismissed previously had come down right as The Bride kills her mother. She says that if the girl is still upset over this when she gets older, she will be around.

Then the movie is back at the crime scene where the bride as almost murdered, and it continues to bounce back and forth exposing different parts of the plot slowly painting a picture of the entire filmic narrative. This causes the viewer to really pay closer attention because the film keeps proposing three new questions for every question they answer. But Tarantino does an excellent job at giving just enough information and plot to the viewer to keep them interested. If it be through an animated flack back or events referred to by characters during the story, Tarantino keep its just abstract enough to keep the viewer interested. Of course the ending of the first movie leaves a huge cliff hanger that speaks exactly to what I was describing. There is a character introduced at the end of the first film and not identified. The last thing said in the movie was if she knew if her child was still alive. Yet again here is Tarantino keeping the viewer involved and asking questions.

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