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October 1994


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Oct 1994 20:18:10 PDT
text/plain (27 lines)
Shawn Levy--
I hesitate to enter into this contretemps because there seems to be more heat
than light here, but I'll give it a try:
I don't think anyone here is denying QT's talent. I do think that the nub of
this argument is the overreaction and fan hysteria of his admirers. To call a
film-maker a "master" on the basis of two films and several screenplays of
remarkably similar content and attitude is jumping the gun a little. And, by
the demeanor of Tarantino during his Charlie Rose interview, it seems that he
is considerably less full of himself than his uncritical fans.
The comparison with Orson Welles is a fair one, since this "boy wonder" has
received the same kind of mindless adulation that arguably crippled Welles'
developemnt as a filmmaker. Taking this comparison too far would be
ridiculous, but I think some moderation is in order here.
There is a sense that Tarantino's supporters are using him as a symbol of a
new generation of film-makers and, in their zeal to declare a line in the
sand between one generation and another, have overinflated his achievements
beyond all recognition.
There is also the matter of glorifying a cool, post-modern wallow in gore and
violence and defending it as "satire" or "comment" on such matters. It is
fast becoming the "gangsta rap" of film criticism.
I hasten to add that Tarantino is self-evidently a talented fellow. However,
a little self-control in comparing him to the masters of film at this point
in his career is certainly in order. It is no favor to him to draw him into a
symbolic maelstrom of generational warfare.
Gene Stavis -- School of Visual Arts, NYC