Quentin Tarantino, 'a rock star and a bad ass,' talks shop at the Santa Barbara film festival

Quentin Tarantino speaks on stage at his tribute in the Arlington Theatre at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He received the American Riviera Award, typically given to an actor who has had a strong influence on American cinema. His movie Django Unchained is up for five Oscar nominations including best director, best original screenplay and cinematography.

Ventura County Star

Quentin Tarantino speaks on stage at his tribute in the Arlington Theatre at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He received the American Riviera Award, typically given to an actor who has had a strong influence on American cinema. His movie Django Unchained is up for five Oscar nominations including best director, best original screenplay and cinematography.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django is a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with ...

Rating: R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity

Length: 165 minutes

Released: December 25, 2012 Nationwide

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino

More info and showtimes »

— Love him or hate him, and few seem to be in the middle, writer-director Quentin Tarantino puts an indelible stamp on his films, clearly loves the art form and also revels in talking cinematic shop.

Tarantino was at his rambling best when he picked up an award Jan. 30, 2013 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for his strong influence on U.S. cinema. The Arlington Theatre salute came on the heels of Tarantino’s latest edgy film, “Django Unchained.” The slavery-turned-on-its-head movie is up for five Oscars on Feb. 24, including best picture and original screenplay (his).

(Tarantino is a native of Knoxville. He father, Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician, and mother, Connie Zastoupil, a nurse, separated before his birth and he was raised by his mother. At age 2, the family moved to Torrance, Calif., and later to Los Angeles. Many of his films have references to Knoxville or East Tennessee in them.)

Video: Tarantino at the Santa Barbara film festival

Tarantino’s tribute was heavy on writing art and theory, but curiously shy on how he crafts the stylish violence that drapes his films and nearly silent on the controversy and criticism that’s erupted over his new one.

Director Spike Lee said slavery shouldn’t be treated as comedy in Tarantino’s film, action figures of its characters were pulled off the market after being slammed for embodying violence, and some critics faulted him for seemingly lingering on the violence that his fans love but others loathe.

Tarantino, who did not do red-carpet interviews, only indirectly touched on all the stir, when he indicated that he will continue to be an agent provocateur in filmdom.

“What I loved about ‘Django Unchained,’” Tarantino told the near-sellout crowd, “was taking all these loaded issues and doing a scenario on them.”

The film continues a longtime Tarantino theme, revenge. In “Django,” slaves exact revenge on plantation owners. In his preceding movie, “Inglourious Basterds,” Jewish people turn the tables on the Nazis in a violent way.

When moderator John Horn of the Los Angeles Times asked Tarantino if a trilogy along those lines was in the works, Tarantino smiled and said, “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

He gave some hint at the artistic choices ruminating in his brain in talking about how he’d never seen red blood splashing on a cotton ball, as it does in “Django,” and never seen a Jewish girl break down the Third Reich. Said Tarantino: “That’s really cool. I want to see that.”

Tarantino, 49, is the former videostore clerk who made it big in Hollywood, first with the breakthrough “Reservoir Dogs” in 1992 and then with 1994’s iconic “Pulp Fiction,” which still echoes across the pop culture. Films such as “Jackie Brown,” the “Kill Bill” tandem and “Death Proof” followed, all of which were part of the clips highlights shown Wednesday night.

Tarantino, who won an Oscar for his “Pulp Fiction” screenplay, offered some interesting writing tidbits.

“Actors aren’t there to riff; they’re there to read my dialogue,” he said at one point, adding, “If their riffing is genius, I will take credit for it.”

One he’ll allow to improvise is frequent collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, explaining, “Sam sings in my key.” When Jackson is doing that adroitly, “he’s writing as well as I could in a character.”

Tarantino said he still writes in longhand, telling Horn, “I can’t write poetry on a computer, man.”

He said he approaches writing like a novelist in chapters, and not a screenwriter in acts. He added that his problem isn’t writer’s block, “it’s not being able to stop writing.”

He chided screenwriters for focusing on results. “Real” actors, writers and novelists aren’t results-oriented, he said, adding, “It’s the doing of it, the process, the getting there. The journey is everything. It makes the destination worthwhile.”

Roger Durling, the festival’s executive director, defended Tarantino for his path, thanking him for being so uncompromising.” He also called him “a rock star and a bad ass.” Like Alfred Hitchcock, Tarantino “has made his persona as much of a brand as his films,” Durling opined.

“I love his attitude,” Durling continued. “He doesn’t give a ----, and he shouldn’t. He makes Tarantino films, generous to his fans and with his middle finger extended to all his critics.”

A clearly touched Tarantino said those words “meant the world to me,” then drew laughs when he said it “killed” him that “Django” didn’t play in this venue. Turning serious at last, he told the audience, “This is an awesome festival. Take advantage of it.”

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Comments » 1

signalcorps writes:

with a ugly face and a moron,, only his money can get him a woman....

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