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March 1995, Week 4


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Victor G Catano <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 23 Mar 1995 15:29:21 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
In article <[log in to unmask]>,  <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>demonstrates by returning for the watch.  Furthermore, you and I are not
>using "hero" in the same sense, apparently.  When I say so-and-so is the hero
>of a narrative, it doesn't mean he does only good means he is the
>focal character of the narrative, the character with whom the audience
>relates and for whom the audience roots.  Butch is surely a hero in the
>classic literary sense; Louis L'Amour used to say something to the effect
>that drama was the story of a good man going bad or a bad man going good, and
>Butch is clearly cast in the latter mold.  There have been dozens if not
>hundreds of books and films that have depicted characters who have done bad
>but are redeemed by love or honor, just like Butch.  Again, I enjoy well-done
>conventional narrative, so I mean it as no insult when I say that Tarantino
>is *perfectly* conventional in this sense.
 You're confusing the terms "hero" and "protagonist." There have been, of
course, many hundreds of films which feature unpleasant or unlikeable
characters as the centre of the narrative, such as Antonioni's "Blow-Up",
but that doesn't make them heros. (Unless you consider that dispicable
photographer character in Blow-Up to be a heroic figure. Why you would, I have
no idea.)
 These characters are  PROTAGONISTS.
>Finally, to bring an overdue international slant to this thread: Has anyone
>seen the documentary that gives a shot-by-shot analysis of RESERVOIR DOGS and
>Ringo Lam's CITY ON FIRE?  I had heard that RD owed a lot to this Hong Kong
>film, but from what I've read, this documentary makes it sound like
>out-and-out plagiarism.  Maybe Quentin Tarantino is to film what Pat Boone
>was to pop music, stealing the little-seen inspiration of the ethnic "Other"
>and making it palatable for young, white America.
>Any thoughts?
 Wow, that's actually the first interesting comment Ive heard on the "fire/
dogs" controversy. The debate on the other newsgroups tends to
be more along the lines of "Tarantino is God and you're an asshole for
suggesting otherwise" or "Tarantino is a thief and he sucks and so
do you." Your idea has some obvious parallels. John Woo, like the
R&B stars that Pat Boone covered, is largely unknown in NOrth America
while Quentin Tarantino is the new golden boy in Hollywood.
This deserves more thought.
>Arn McConnell
>[log in to unmask]
 Victor G. Catano
 SUNY at Buffalo