The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Django: Tightened Chains

I have seen Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained three times. I became obsessed with its inaccuracies and with the audacity that Mr. Tarantino had to contemplate molding the subject of slavery into an adventurous Western. My view of the film as being problematic spans further than the controversy surrounding the movie’s use of violence and degrading vocabulary; slavery was, in fact, an institution built on violence and degradation. Nor is it because of the fact that a white man chose to touch the topic of slavery; the topic of slavery needs to be touched and explored so that we can understand our country’s atrocious past and fully recognize the legacy of this violent institution that lives on in our postmodern society. The bulk of my frustration rests within Tarantino’s glorification of white men throughout the film.
Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is the protagonist of Tarantino’s film; audiences follow Django on his revenge- and passion-fueled journey that he embarks on following his release from slavery. We watch Django torture and kill his former masters and reunite with and free Broomhilda, the love of his life. Yet Django’s spotlight is overshadowed by white men throughout the entirety of the film, namely Christoph Waltz’s character of Dr. King Schultz and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Calvin Candy. Django gains his freedom through Schultz, therefore making Schultz the catalyst for Django’s heroism; without Schultz, Django would have remained enslaved and his heroic adventure would not have happened. Tarantino has described Schultz and Django as a “Butch and Sundance kind of team,” thus implying that Django’s actions were completely dependent on assistance from Schultz.  Calvin Candy stands as another problematic white figure within Django. Candy is far from a heroic catalyst within the film; he is, in fact, quite the opposite and fulfills the role of the film’s villain. However, it could be said that Candy is the true star of the film. We see Candy clothed in beautiful, rich and deep colored velvet suits. His hands are constantly adorned with extravagant rings and he is portrayed as having a quirky adoration of coconut cocktails. Tarantino floods his film with constant close-ups of this grand character, ultimately resulting in the glorification of Calvin Candy.
Django Unchained is a great film; a cinematic masterpiece that has revived the Spaghetti Western for contemporary audiences. The storyline is flawless, the characters are perfectly developed, and the cinematography is fantastic. The silver lining surrounding the film is the conversation that it has sparked. Tarantino ingeniously used film, a medium that he understood society is comfortable discussing, to open up a subject that has remained off limits or spoken of in whispers within our society. Yet, Django is flawed in its Eurocentric focus on and glorification of white males throughout the film. While Tarantino succeeded in opening up a discussion about U.S. slavery, his film fell short due to its centricity upon white males within a subject that so clearly needed to be centered upon its victims.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home