PULP FICTION FEATURE
the parents and of the ﬁlmmakers. If you go up to them and say, “You guys are a bunch of fucking Nazis and you’re cutting my dick off”, all right, they are naturally going to respond negatively to that. As would anyone in life if you approached them that way.’
The point is, Tarantino’s movies are not as violent as their reputations suggest — but graphically realistic they most certainly are. In Reservoir Dogs, we feel the pain of a bullet wound in the gut as Tim Roth spends the movie screaming in blood-drenched agony. Yet the anti-violence lobby would have us believe that to share and understand this suffering is wrong; better to have a comic-book approach, quickly mowing down a truck-load of extras. Illogical, captain. Tarantino, no doubt bored now by the ‘violence’ topic, dismisses it easily — ‘Saying that you don’t like violence in movies is like saying you don’t like comedy in movies or you don’t like dance sequences in movies; violence is just one of many things you can do’ — but he takes more time to explain his position over accusations of racism in his work.
‘lt’s almost too pat an answer, even though it’s correct, to say. “Well. that’s just the way those guys talk”. I want to give you a more profound answer, but I don’t know if] have one. For all the nigger ‘shit that’s talked about in Dogs, I don’t necessarily think those guys are racist. When people are by themselves. they talk completely uncensored. If you tell a niggcrjokc, you‘ve got to use the word “nigger” or it’s not funny. You might find a niggerjokc is not funny at any time — but anything can be funny. all right? It’s almost the dirtiness of it. the nastiness of it. that makes it fucking funny! I don’t want to censor the way my characters talk.
‘And I don’t think Pulp Fiction is racist at all. When Marcellus [the black gang boss played by Ving Rhames] says to Butch, “You’re my nigger now”, that’s a term ofendearment, that’s a good thing. I grew up in a black school and I said the word “nigger” all the time, and they called me that. It’s just a fucking word. In American society, it’s probably the most volatile word in the English language. It’s the one word that you can say and you’ll get your ass kicked afterwards. My feeling is. any time a word is that powerful, you should start screaming it from the rooftops. take away that power. No one fucking word should have that much power.’
Racism. violence, whatever — there is something of a paradox in Tarantino's approach, in that these elements are presented with visual and verbal authenticity. but the characters and situations themselves are drawn from other fictional entities, not real life. It’s not that he’s a self-indulgent cineaste. more a boy-fan who spent five years overdosing on video fodder while working in an LA store. Hence his cult
appeal to the fast-food. channel-hopping generation - Tarantino is more likely to steal from Peckinpah than Pasolini.
‘l STEAL FROM every movie made,’ he admits. caught red-handed when lifting the basic idea of Reservoir Dogs from Ringo Lam’s Hong Kong actioner. City On Fire. “And I love City On Fire — I’ve
Quentin Tarantino shoots in the urban jungle
cinematic entity. Dogs, of course, was an early victim of the knee-jerk climate in which tabloid writers and moral guardians came to regard each speck of blood on screen as the root cause of every mugging and murder across the country. One would expect Tarantino to be mightily pissed off at the treatment his masterpiece has received, but . . .
‘I remember, in the 803,
got the poster from it framed in my house. If my work has anything. it’s because I’m taking this from this. and that from that. and mixing them together and tumbling them around. And if people don’t like it. then tough-titty. don’t go see it. I steal from
‘I steal from every movie made. If my work has anything, it’s because I’m taking this from this, and that from that, and mixing them together and tumbling them around. Great artists steal, they don’t do homages.’
there was that movie El Topo [Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cause célebre], which was not available on video, you couldn’t see it, they wouldn’t show it in theatres or anything. So if you got a horrible black-and-white, screwed-up tape of it, you felt it was so cool. The more
everything. Great artists steal. they don’t do homagcs.’
How great thou art cart be judged as a flood of 'I’arantino scripts descends upon us. In mid- Novembcr. hot on the heels of Pulp Fiction, come Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (although, such were Stone‘s tinkerings. Tarantino asked for his screenplay credit to be reduced to story only) and Rory Kelly‘s Sleep With Me. in which Tarantino makes a cameo appearance. Early next year. his executive producer influence will be evident amidst the drugs and gunfire of long-time amigo Roger Avary’s Killing Zoe. And while True Romance finally gets a video release in December. Reservoir Dogs remains a purely
fucked-up it was, the cooler it was. You’d call all your friends, you’d make a zillion copies of it. and you’d sit there and watch it. It was, like. this rare item. this really cool thing that no one else could get. Now magazines are running contests on the best way to get a bootleg on video of Reservoir Dogs, and the people who give the best answers get T-shirts. That’s cooool, man. That’s so much better than ever coming out on video.’ D
Pulp Fiction opens in Scotland on Friday 2] October: The script of the ﬁlm is published by Faber by Faber; priced £7.99.
nearest in the
8 The List 21 October—3 November 1994
friend of Jules. he's the
neighbourhood when an accident with a gun. a bullet and a hostage's head means the inside of Vincent and Jules‘s car needs an expert valet service. Jimmie’s more concerned that his wife is due home from work any minute.
4 Lance (Eric Stoltz) Vincent's drug dealer. he‘s the ﬁrst person to come to mind when Mia has an
overdose. The best he can think of is getting a syringe and performing an off-the- cuff adrenalin shot to the heart.
F Pumpkin (Tim Roth) With his girlfriend Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer). Pumpkin has decided it‘s time to change his career path from holding up liquor stores to robbing restaurants. It’s just a pity the first eaterie they choose is where Vincent and Jules are having breakfast.
Elsewhere. Marcellus (Ving Rhames) is the kingpin and lynchpin whose commands tie the tales together; The Wolf (Harvey Keitel) is the suave tuxedo-clad trouble- shooter who helps Vincent and Jules out of a messy situation; Jody (Rosanna Arquette) is Lance’s somewhat eccentric wife, and Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) is Butch’s dad’s army buddy with a surreal line in monologue.