Bl k' acback
T\\'() .\lli.\'. \\'ll() just happen to he Samuel 1.. Jackson and Robert De .\'iro. are watching a Video of a girl in a bikini wielding a yery large gun indeed. ’The :\K-—l7. the Very liesl there is.' intones the Video commentary. which Jackson picks up without missing a heat. ‘. . . when yott ahsolutely. positiy'ely. gotta kill ey'cry motherfucker in the rootn. accept no suhstitute.‘
The weaponary. the snappy dialogtte. the cussing surely this must he a Quentin 'l’arantino tnoy'ie. lndeed il is. and it's called .lm'kic HI‘UH‘II. But anyone who is especting another gorefest R('.\'(’I'l'f()l' Dog's Bile Bur/x. or l’ul/u'r'r l’ir'lion is likely to he a little
'There was a level of nudity in those films that made us want to see 'em. Who's the girl with big breasts? That was Pam Grier.’
Samuel L. Jackson
disappointed. For the most part. the guns are kept to that screen-within-a-screen sequence. and. when a couple of suckers get popped along the way. the shooting is strictly for plot reasons.
Although Bridget lionda plays a cracking- smoking. 'l‘V-watching adornment to Jackson's beach-front apartment. .lur'kir' Brown is not actually" a boy’s moy'ie. l‘or one thing. the title character is a woman ~- not a girlfriend or a mistress or a prostitute. hut a woman who works for a low-rent Mexican airline and is just trying to survive. On her own. Brown is also hlack. and is played by l‘)7(ls blaxploitation icon Pam (irier. Think Shaft with better legs and no facial hair.
‘liit'sl time around I saw her. she was in one of those women-in-prison moy'ies. so she was this tough woman battling for a life.‘ notes Jackson. 'There was a ley'el of nudity in those films that made us want to see ’em too. \Vho‘s the girl with big hreasts'.’ That was Pam. Then all of sudden she‘s this kind of anti-hero in l-iu'y' ls’rmrn. which is when guys started to look at her in another light.'
Foxy Brown tl‘)7-l) was probably (irier‘s most famous lilm. She played the title role of a hall—husting action hero who scared the pants off men and became a feminist icon for women. The fact that nearly 25 years on. 'l‘arantino's similarly titled moxie stars (lrier is no coincidence. The new films cony'oluted
8 THE “ST 20 ﬁlm *2 Am ’998
An obsession with the 19705 blaxploitation movies has fuelled Quentin Tarantino's latest movie Jackie Brown. Its star SAMUEL L. JACKSON gets nostalgic while (over), we celebrate the stars and styles of black action flicks. rims; Eddie Gibb
heist storyline was adpated from the lilmorc Leonard noy‘el Rum I’M/it'll. hut crttcially 'l’arantino changed the lead character's name to Jackie Brown. and made her hlack. This is his homage to the hla\ploitation moyies he grew up watching.
‘lt is the cttlture that I identify withf 'l‘arantino has said. 'We all hayc a lot of people inside of tls. and one of the ones inside of me is hlack. Don‘t let the pigmentation fool you: it is a slate of mind.’
Spike Lee. the Black American director for whom pigmentation is always an issue. has been less than pleased at 'l‘arantino‘s liberal use of the word ’nigger" in .lm'kir' Bron/I. '\\'hat does he want to he made an honorary hlack man'." fttmed Lee in a liii'ir'ly' intcry'iew last year. ‘I want Quentin to know that all .-\frican-.-\mericans do not think that word is trendy ot‘ slick}.
The fact is that Jackie Brown is fascinated
with the street language of its hlack characters. Jackson’s ()rdell Rohhic is a gun- runner who thinks nothing of rtthhing out an associate who has become a liability. hut
'l'arantino makes the character rap with such \crhal y'irtuosity that you can‘t help liking the guy. The director is also clearly thrilled to haye (irier. the Amazon screen goddess of his youth. in the movie.
‘I think he finds me fascinating because I exemplified the women's moy'ement of the 70s.. says (irier. ‘and his mum raising him as a single mother was yery' mttch like me. A lot of women are l-‘oxy Brown. My mum. my aunt. my grandmother were all women who were assertive yet feminine. and Quentin was raised with that.‘
Leonard's hook (in S/mrly' was adapted for the screen last year and starred Jackson‘s l’u/p l’ir'Iio/i co-star. John 'l‘ray'olta. .lur'kir' [from]. which is a lull hour longer. couldn‘t be more different as it meanders through ey'cry‘ suh—plot of the original hook. Though gun-play is kept to a tnimimum. the movie has 'l‘arantino‘s crackling dialogue in spades. If you'll pardon the pun.
Racist Americans used to call whitey"s identification with hlack culture ‘niggcr- loy‘ing‘. which is hasically what l.ee seems to he accusing the director of. Jackson has started in two 'l'arantino movies. and. in the flesh. he doesn‘t appear to be someone who would allow himself to he patronised and then come back for seconds.
'lilnunakers are story tellers. and if you tell the story with honesty and truth then you llilVC
Just for licks: Bridget Fonda and Samuel L Jackson get aquainted
the right to tell it.‘ he says. ‘l’art of Spike's I y'enom comes from the fact that he didn‘t do it. i "' lle's gonna look at the film and say. "Damn. " ‘ "‘~ . s
~ _~. . . y y“ . .,.:. why dtdn t I do that. or why can t l. . 1/ .
.-\ 'l‘arantino movie without controy'ersy'.’ lt /'I;Zi;jj‘;g
just wouldn't be any fttn. 751w.” . - :1,“ .m u, _ .. »'.:'
Jackie Brown goes on general release in _,; Scotland from Fri 10 Apr, and is reviewed ‘ " ' next issue. The screenplay is published by Faber 8: Faber, priced £7.99. ’