Author Topic: NY Times Interview: Quentin Tarantino's Girlfights  (Read 1757 times)

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NY Times Interview: Quentin Tarantino's Girlfights
« on: October 06, 2003, 03:32:28 PM »
Quentin Tarantino's Girlfights
Published: October 5, 2003

VOLUME 1 of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill," which opens Friday, stars Uma Thurman as a hitwoman seeking revenge against her former (mostly female) accomplices. The much-anticipated movie is the first full-length feature Mr. Tarantino has directed since 1997's "Jackie Brown," and only his second in the close to 10 years since he changed the topography of American independent cinema with the hugely successful "Pulp Fiction." The first installment of "Kill Bill" ends with a cliffhanger; Volume 2 is set to be released in February.

A trademark combination of genre-film tribute and idiosyncratic detail, "Kill Bill" starts with a fight, ends with a fight, and includes quite a bit of fighting in between. But Mr. Tarantino's movies have always packed a punch that can't be reduced to the intensity of their violence, and "Kill Bill" is no exception. Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, he and Mim Udovitch, who have been bickering on and off since 1995, exchange fighting words.

MIM UDOVITCH The first time I ever interviewed you, I asked you what recent movies you liked, and you mentioned the scene in "Showgirls" where Elizabeth Berkley suddenly lets loose with the roundhouse kicks. So your interest in female martial arts extravaganzas is a longstanding one. Why does the sight of two women beating the tar out of each other push different buttons than the sight of two men fighting?

QUENTIN TARANTINO Well, you know, for me there's nothing fetishistic about it. It just hurts more to see two women fighting. The thing you want in a fight between two guys is just for them to beat each other up. It doesn't have to be about the choreography, it can just be a barroom brawl where one guy's getting his head smashed against a wall. But if you take that and put in women, the more brutal they are to each other the more you wince. But it's a strange kind of a wince because you're enjoying it at the same time. It's more like wincing the way you wince when you watch the sight gags in "There's Something About Mary" — the fish hook in the cheek.

UDOVITCH That's not the answer I was expecting. I thought you were going to say it was empowering.

TARANTINO Well, it might be empowering and it might be cool but I think it just hurts more.

UDOVITCH It hurts more than seeing a woman beating a man?

TARANTINO Oh, definitely. You expect guys to beat each other up in movies, and a woman beating up a man can be kind of sexy and kind of cool, like Emma Peel. But two women — not having this graceful fight, like in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," but really messing each other up — it's painful.

UDOVITCH I think the reason that the fighting in "Kill Bill" is painful is that all your characters are fighting for family. For their lost children, or their lost parents.

TARANTINO I see where you're going. It's not my job to think about all that stuff until right about now, when you're telling me what I did. But the point you're making that I'm slowly getting is that as opposed to Bill, for instance, or maybe male assassins in other movies, all these women came to violence because of something that happened to them. They weren't born this way.

UDOVITCH Do you see spiritual value in martial arts movies? A special code of honor?

TARANTINO Very much so. It's one of the reasons I've always had a connection to Asian culture. I'll give you a movie example. In "Reservoir Dogs," the last scene in the movie is Tim Roth, lying in Harvey Keitel's arms. The cops are on their way to burst in, and if he shuts his mouth, in 30 seconds he'll be safe. But during those 30 seconds, he tells Harvey Keitel he's a cop. Many people in America and Britain ask why. I could never say, "Well, because he's a man of honor"; I just have to say, "Look, if you don't get it, I can't tell you." But nobody in Japan or Hong Kong or China would ever ask me why. They know it.

UDOVITCH Actually, all your movies address issues of honor among thieves, figuratively and literally. Speaking literally, you have a sort of side career in the gossip pages, as a celebrity pugilist. Have you ever started a fight?

TARANTINO Not often, but I have. I never started a fight just because I didn't like a guy's looks. Life's too short. But nothing that dramatic; just like someone in a bar says I'm too loud, and I get up and say, "What about it?"

UDOVITCH Well, you could hardly call that a question of honor.

TARANTINO No. Definitely not a question of honor. It happened more when I was boxing. Because when you start boxing, you can fool yourself into thinking, well, this is a real rage enema, I'm getting it all out of my system. And that's true to a degree, but basically, the better you get at it, the more you want to use it. So I'm not going to start fights. But I might be walking around waiting for someone to start a fight with me. Like this one guy in New York, he was in my face. I told him to get out and he said make me. Maybe this proves I'm a 12-year-old boy, but if you say make me, I'm going to make you.

UDOVITCH What about men hitting women? On screen, say. What flashes through your mind when you see that?

TARANTINO I would probably flinch. For all the violence, I think I'm quite a gentleman. And you don't treat women that way. Also at the same time I don't think a woman can be smacking a man either.

UDOVITCH And what, to you, is worth fighting for?

TARANTINO Women, friends, honor and art. And family.


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Re: NY Times Interview: Quentin Tarantino's Girlfights
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2003, 05:00:25 PM »
Quote from: neatahwanta
Maybe this proves I'm a 12-year-old boy, but if you say make me, I'm going to make you.

You know, that comment shows more insight than I would expect from Tarantino. The 12-year-old boy part, I mean.
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NY Times Interview: Quentin Tarantino's Girlfights
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2003, 05:03:56 PM »
Very good interview, on the whole. The part about how the women's acts of violence are related to maternal and family issues definitely comes across in the movie, especially in the fight between Uma and Vivica, which is almost wince inducingly brutal (in case you didn't know, they digitally erased all the blood and cuts during that scene in the trailer).


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