Opening sequence to “Reservoir Dogs”, 1991
Tarantino has written and directed 8 feature films:
Reservoir Dogs (1991) Pulp Fiction (1994) Jackie Brown (1997) Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003) Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004) Death Proof (2007) Inglorious Basterds (2009) Django Unchained 2013)
We will be looking at Death Proof & Inglorious Basterds in detail, as case studies for you to use in the exam.
In the first lesson we watched the opening sequence of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s first feature film.
Things people noticed:
The camera work/editing was strange – no establishing shot, no master shot, no shot-reverse-shot, the frame was often obscured by the actors backs. This draws our attention to the camerawork and the fact that we are watching a film.
The topic of conversation was random and meaningless: the meaning of pop songs, sex, the etiquette of tipping, a little black book. 7 minutes of idle banter or is this Tarantino showing off – ‘look how witty I can be, check out this dialogue…’. Again drawing our attention to the process and the fact that we are watching a film.
The opening sequence is 8 minutes long before the Tiltes – we learn nothing about the characters, why they are are there or what they are doing? It is an ambiguous opening to a film.
The titles feel like end titles – scrolling up. They also remind us of older films.
They seem out of place:
The titles end abruptly and cut to 2 of the men in a shocking scene with one of them bleeding profusely in the back of a car. This films seems to have jumped; why is he bleeding, what happened to them? The narrative is non-linear. All the blood and shouting is a juxtaposition to the relaxed, jovial nature of the previous scene and the upbeat music of the title sequence.
Tarantino places himself in front of the camera as one of the characters:
again drawing attention to himself or self-referencing the creator/author of the film and script.
A recent interview with Tarantino about film violence:
What is Post-Modernism?
- A collection of Ideas or a way of thinking about something
- Reaction to / or continuation of modernism
- No one universal truth
- Rejection of Boundaries / rules
- Contracts old/new thinking – juxtapositions
- Philosophical writing – Baudrillard / Lyotard
- An Art / Design Style
- Aesthetic – the way something looks
- Superficial – about the surface image
- Style over substance
- Applied to painting, sculpture, writing, architecture, theatre, film, tv, music etc….