Guns, testosterone and Cadillac… Quentin Tarantino’s lesson in cinema at Cannes

Guns, testosterone and Cadillac… Quentin Tarantino’s lesson in cinema at Cannes

THE Cannes Film Festival it enters the house. When the calculations are launched before the presentation of the prestigious Palme d’Or on Saturday, this end of the festival is marked by the presence on the red carpet of two “regulars” of the Croisette, who have come to present their new films in competition.

German director Wim Wenders, who has already launched the pilot documentary “Anselm” this year in a special screening, received a warm welcome on Thursday May 25 at the preview of “Full Day”, a poetic story about a public toilet worker in Tokyo. .

England’s Ken Loach, a veteran of the festival who has two Palmes d’or to his credit, is also back with “The Old Oak”, where a small town in the north of England sees his everyday life turned upside down by the arrival. of Syrian immigrants.

Two women are also in the spotlight: French Catherine Breillat with “Last Summer”, the story of an obsessive love between a woman and her 17-year-old son-in-law, and Alice Rohrwacher whose film “La Chimera” follows a gang. of small art dealers in Tuscany.

Finally, another event stirred great interest on the Croisette. The visit of the happy star director Quentin Tarantino, who has come to give his fans a lesson in cinema.

A meeting organized two months after the release of his book, “Rumours of cinema”, where the director returns to his early work as a cinematographer. Quentin Tarentino, in full preparation for his tenth film, has also indicated that it could be his last.

Quentin Tarantino’s master class poster at Cannes, Thursday May 25, 2023. © David Rich

Tarantino and his master class

Thursday, in the middle of the afternoon, a long queue blocks the passage, along the street, in front of the Croisette theater. Fans from all over the world came to attend the master class of their master of cinema, winner of the Palme d’or in 1994 with “Pulp fiction”.

Praised for many minutes when he arrived on stage, the filmmaker launched a projection, in 35 mm, of a surprise film: “Rolling Thunder” (Légitime violence, 1977), a film by the American actor John Flynn, unknown to the general public. , but is considered by Quentin Tarantino as “the greatest revenge film of all time”.

After seven years in Vietnamese prisons, Major Charles Rane returns to his hometown in Texas. Hailed as a true hero, he is given a box full of money and a beautiful red Cadillac. Unfortunately, these small gifts attract the greed of a group of criminals who kill his family and put his hand to sanibroyeur. Now equipped with a plastic hand adorned with two hooks, the half-man, half-robot master begins a quest for revenge, which will end in a Mexican dungeon under a rain of corpses.

A taste of kitsch and provocation

“How many of you haven’t seen this movie?” asks the director at the end of the film. Most of the hands go up. “That’s a hell of a bunch of satisfied customers,” he laughs.

With this film, Quentin Tarantino took a few risks, all its appeal is there: intense violence, taste of kitsch and provocation. “Niakoués”, “Jap”, women … Everyone takes it by its title.

Sometimes in his films, this type of innovation has also earned Quentin Tarantino some controversy. Director Spike Lee had criticized him for the frequent use of the word “nigger” in his script, while Morgan Freeman had defended the director.

But we also find in “Rolling Thunder” the love of detail, the management of rhythm and the good-sounding, funny response that characterizes Quentin Tarantino’s cinema.

“Why do I always end up with weirdos?” wonders the beautiful beauty accompanying the major on his journey, when he discovers the reason for this ill-fated road trip. “Because they are left alone!” he answers tit for tat.

Quentin Tarantino during his master class. © Guillaume Lutz / Hart

Violence for “audience appeal”

This show is an opportunity for the director to return to his concept of the representation of violence, complained about in some of his films because of the bloodshed, which he loves very much. In his book, he explains that his mother, a keen moviegoer, allowed him to accompany her to the cinema from an early age and that he was often the only child in the room. For her, violence on the screen was not a problem, as well as for her young son, as long as it was understood.

Tarantino, for his part, considers that morality should not dictate the beauty of the film. The most important thing is to “light up the audience”, as the American director Don Siegel said, he explains. “The violence that I have a problem with is the one that is done badly, it is careless”, he explains, explaining that if this “stirs him in the wrong direction” it is because for him, it harms the story of the film. .

The director however claims, in this area, to have a moral limit that he cannot cross: “To kill animals for real in the film”, as “it has been done a lot in European and Asian films”. “Including insects” he notes, eliciting a triumphant round of laughter from his cause.

“I’m not paying to see death for real. We’re here to pretend, that’s why I can take this violence. We’re just fooling ourselves, we’re just kids playing, it’s not real blood and nobody gets hurt,” he concludes.

Quentin Tarantino during his masterclass in Cannes. © Guillaume Lutz / Hart

The tenth film released for the love of cinema

During this skill class, the director also emphasized his supposed preference for directors and works that are not considered, or are not considered for their fair value, as the choice of the film “Rolling Thunder”, the first film of John Flynn unknown to the team. . , who at the time was only an assistant director.

Similarly, in his book, he expresses his love for Brian de Palma, his beloved director of the 1980s. famous, not my style! No one would fight to defend them while some people did not like De Palma. Part of my love, beyond the fact that he was a great director, came from this possibility of being confused to defend him, sometimes on the verge of being beaten”.

This great love of cinema, Quentin Tarantino also mentioned in reference to his last film “Once upon a time… in Hollywood”, released in 2019. He said that his main motivation to make this feature film was ‘evening’ Sharon Tate , the actress and wife of Roman Polanski who was brutally murdered by people of the “Manson family” in the 1970s, for thinking of an alternative way to end this epidemic.

Quentin Tarantino during his masterclass in Cannes. © Delphine Pincet

When asked about his upcoming film, a new cinematic ode in which the main character will be a film critic, Quentin Tarantino was tight-lipped: “I can’t tell you anything until you see the film”… shaking his audience, causing laughter in the room.

“I feel completely comfortable with this microphone in my hands, I’m tempted to do character monologues for you right now… But I’m not going to, no, no. But I’m tempted… Maybe if there were a few cameras”.

This tenth film is most awaited as the director has indicated several times that it could be his last. “Business to follow” he concluded.

Cannes Film Festival © Photo studio France Media World