Q U E N T I N T A R A N T I N O
A N D H I S F I L M S (V2.0)
(c) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Simon Gleave and Jason Forrest
Sites for more information
Quentin Tarantino was born on March 27, 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of a 16 year old nursing student Connie and a 21 year old law student and aspiring actor Tony. Connie named him after Burt Reynold's character, Quint in 'Gunsmoke'. When Quentin was 2, they moved to South Los Angeles which is where Quentin grew up. His mother took him to the cinema from an early age, he saw 'Carnal Knowledge' at the age of 8 and 'Deliverance' at the age of 9. From this early introduction Tarantino fell in love with the cinema and went at every opportunity.
At the age of 22, he landed a job in Video Archives, a video store in Manhattan Beach, California where he and Roger Avary spent all day watching, discussing and recommending videos. He made his first (unfinished) film in 1986, 'My Best Friend's Birthday', written with acting class friend Craig Hamann, and followed this up by writing his first script, 'True Romance' a year later.
During this period, he was attending acting classes and put together a CV of his (non-existent) acting experience which included a role in Jean-Luc Godard's 'King Lear' because nobody in Hollywood would have heard of the film or director and 'Dawn of the Dead' by George Romero because he resembled a biker in one of the scenes. His role in 'King Lear' was actually listed in Leonard Maltin's video guide.
By 1988, Tarantino had written his second script, 'Natural Born Killers' and in 1990 he sold the script for 'True Romance' for $50,000. He decided to use this money to make his third script, 'Reservoir Dogs' on 16mm and in black and white with his friends in the leading roles. It was around this point that Tarantino left the video store to do rewrites for CineTel, a small Hollywood production company - it was at this time he met Lawrence Bender and struck lucky;
Bender was attending acting classes with Peter Flood, who was divorced from acting teacher Lily Parker and knew Harvey Keitel from the Actors Studio. Keitel saw the script and was impressed enough to raise some more finance, act in the film and help Tarantino cast the main roles. At this point, producers Monte Hellman and Richard Gladstein also joined the project.
In 1991, Tarantino filmed some scenes at Sundance with him playing the role of Mr White and Steve Buscemi playing Mr Pink. These scenes were shown to various film people to comment on and the group containing Terry Gilliam were particularly impressed.
'Reservoir Dogs' finally premiered at Sundance '92 before appearing at various film festivals around the World. Miramax picked the film up for distribution after Sundance and it was released in the US later in 1992 and in the UK on January 8 1993.
Tarantino traveled around the various festivals in 1992 promoting his film and writing his next script, 'Pulp Fiction' which went on to win the Palme D'Or at Cannes in 1994. It finally opened amidst incredible hype and critical acclaim on October 14 in the US and October 21 in the UK.
'Pulp Fiction' went on to become one of the most highly acclaimed movies of 1994, grossing over 100 million dollars worldwide and picking up several Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Actress, Best Editing, and winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Riding on the success of Pulp Fiction, Tarantino has gone on to be a major Hollywood player, Producing, Distributing films through Miramax with an arm of the company called 'Rolling Thunder', Co-Directing and Co-Writing 'Four Rooms', an anthology-type feature film, Directing an episode of 'ER', a popular TV show, and making many appearances in movies and TV.
Tarantino's first two films and his anthology contribution are the subject of this FAQ:
Reservoir Dogs is the third film written and first directed by Quentin Tarantino and was released in the USA in 1992 and in the UK at the beginning of 1993. The film deals with the meeting at a pre-planned rendezvous of a group of robbers who have been involved in an attempted jewelery heist. The robbery has been organized by Joe Cabot with his son Nice Guy Eddie who have put together a team of six men, each with a different role to play and each with a pseudonym chosen by Joe. The robbery has gone wrong although the participants have still managed to get away with a quantity of diamonds. The protagonists believe that one of their number is a police informer and the film deals with the recriminations that arise from this.
1. What is the meaning of the title 'Reservoir Dogs'?
When Tarantino worked in a video store, he referred to the French film 'Au Revoir Les Enfants' as 'the reservoir film' because he couldn't pronounce the title. He combined this with 'Straw Dogs', a Sam Peckinpah film from 1971, to produce the title 'Reservoir Dogs'. Although Quentin chooses to remain quiet about this, this story has been confirmed by Quentin's mother and Roger Avary, among others.
2. Which films influenced Quentin Tarantino in the making of this film?
In the 1974 American film, 'The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3', the four hijackers of the subway train are all dressed alike (hat, glasses, moustache, big overcoat and machine gun) and had the pseudonyms of Mr Blue, Mr Green, Mr Brown and Mr Grey.
The scene which runs over the credits near the beginning of 'Reservoir Dogs' showing the characters walking in slow motion is a homage to a similar scene in Sam Peckinpah's 1969 film, 'The Wild Bunch'.
Jean Pierre Melville is also a great influence on Tarantino, he was the director of several stylish gangster films in France in the 1950's and 1960's which deal with honour and gangster ethics and are set in a bleak urban environment where everybody is cynical and impeccably dressed. The 'three way stand-off' appears in Melville's film, 'Le Samourai'.
Other influences include 'Rififi' from 1955 directed by Jules Dassin and 'The Killing' directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1956. The films of Hong Kong director John Woo are also a great influence on Tarantino.
However, City on Fire, a Hong Kong action movie directed by Ringo Lam in 1987 is by far the biggest influence on Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino has used a number of ideas in the film and these are worth outlining:
1. Just before the robbers in City on Fire rob a jewelery store, one of them says 'Let's go to Work'.
2. The relationship between Chow (the undercover cop) and Fu (the gangster) is mirrored by that of Orange and White.
3. One of the gang members kills a shop girl in the jewelery shop for setting off the alarm.
4. There is a scene where Chow is shot by a cop and kills him (Orange is shot by a woman and kills her) while Fu is shooting cops in a car by shooting at them with two guns.
5. In the warehouse there is a Mexican standoff.
6. A dying Chow tells Fu that he is a cop.
3. What fates befall the members of the robbery team?
Joe Cabot killed by Mr White in triangular shooting.
Nice Guy Eddie killed by Mr White in triangular shooting.
Mr White shot by Nice Guy Eddie in triangular shooting, killed afterwards by the cops having killed Mr Orange.
Mr Blonde killed by Mr Orange.
Mr Orange shot by woman whose car he and Mr White are trying to commandeer, shot by Joe in triangular shooting and finally killed by Mr White.
Mr Brown shot in the head by the cops, dies after he crashes the getaway car.
Mr Blue Joe says he was killed by the cops at the jewellery store.
Mr Pink there is a debate about the fate of Mr Pink. Having left the warehouse with the diamonds, he is surrounded by the cops. The soundtrack is faint, but what can be made out tells us he has been arrested. There is evidence to support this posted regularly to the newsgroup, and on some of the web sites.
4. What is the order of gunfire in the triangular shootout?
Joe shoots Mr Orange, Mr White shoots Joe, Nice Guy Eddie shoots Mr White, Nice Guy Eddie shoots Mr White again and Mr White shoots Nice Guy Eddie as he falls from his wounds.
5. Plot Problems
There are a number of things in the film that don't quite add up:
a) Why would the cops be waiting at the jewelery wholesalers as they knew that everybody would meet up at the warehouse after the heist? A possible reason for this is that the cops were carrying out surveillance at the jewelery store just in case anything happened and when Blonde started shooting people, they had to move in. Mr Blonde does say that he shot one of the cashiers for setting off the alarm, so the cops were presumably not in the store at that stage.
b) Eddie is very open about the events of the heist when talking to Dolph over a cellular phone. Cellular phones are relatively easy to monitor and it is surprising how much Eddie says in this scene. Cellular phones are easy to scramble and as Eddie carries it everywhere and is likely to be talking about sensitive things on it, he is likely to have scrambled the signal.
c) If Joe is supposed to be the head of an 'empire of crime' where he gets people to do the work for him, why is he involved in jewelery robberies which are dangerous without huge rewards, instead of drugs which are less dangerous with much bigger rewards. The best explanation for this is that Joe is from the 'old school' of organized crime and does things like bank robberies because the banks are insured and nobody gets hurt. He clearly had moral beliefs as shown in the restaurant tipping scene at the beginning of the film.
d) In Eddie's car on the way to the warehouse he refers to Pink as Pink. Didn't they get their names from Joe after this scene? Joe would have had to give them their names before the warehouse scene, he just chose that time to let everybody know everyone elses name because it was the first time they were all together. Pink complained about his name then, because there was a room full of people.
6. Why did Mr Orange tell Mr White that he was a cop?
This is thought to stem from Tarantino's love of Hong Kong action movies where honour and respect are an integral part. Mr White had saved his life, told him his real name and killed two friends (Joe and Eddie) to protect him. The only thing that Mr Orange could offer in return was the truth and this is why he told Mr White that he was the undercover cop.
7. How did Mr Brown die?
There has been some comment made on the death of Mr Brown. In my opinion, this is one of the best things about the film in that it shows more clearly than any other demise that you don't just die instantly when shot. My interpretation is that Mr Brown has been shot in the head by the cops while escaping from the robbery. Mr. White confirms that the cops shot him to Nice Guy Eddie. He doesn't die instantly, but is able to drive (albeit erratically) away from the scene. Eventually, he crashes and to show that he is on the verge of death, he says that he has gone blind when in fact, he just has blood in his eyes. Mr White and Mr. Orange leave the car and when they return, Mr Brown has died. Mr. Orange did not shoot Mr. Brown.
8. Why did Mr Blonde start shooting at the jewelery store?
Mr Blonde wasn't a robber, he was only put on the job because Joe owed him a debt of gratitude for doing time without dragging Joe's organization down with him. Joe also referred to him as a 'goodfella' suggesting that Mr Blonde is more of a trigger man, employed to sort out the opposition. Unfortunately, this means that Mr Blonde will shoot with the slightest provocation and putting him on this job is a fatal misjudgement by Joe, possibly indicating a weakness of Joe's in that his emotions affect his judgement.
9. Why does Orange put a wedding ring on before leaving his apartment?
I thought the ring was just part of Orange's persona in his undercover work - i.e. he is married in his 'role'. So, how do you go about backing this up? Well, if this is the case he would be wearing a wedding ring every time we see him with the rest of the gang and the first scene that he appears in other than scenes that are chronologically after he puts the ring on, is when he is relating his restroom story to Joe, Eddie and White and he is wearing a wedding ring. This, along with the state of his flat should be ample evidence.
There are a number of bits of trivia which are worth mentioning:
a) Roger Avary co-wrote the radio play in the film.
b) The seventies figure heavily in 'Reservoir Dogs' with the soundtrack being composed of seventies music, and references to television (Christy Love and Baretta), comic books (Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer) and film stars ((Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin), all of which were around and Quentin grew up with in the seventies.
c) Tarantino was going to film 'Reservoir Dogs' in black & white with him and his friends playing the lead roles. However, his friend Lawrence Bender was able to get in touch with someone who knew Harvey Keitel and was able to get him to read the script. Keitel was so impressed that he immediately signed on and helped with raising the money to film it. Keitel's participation also made it possible to attract other character actors to the piece.
d) In the warehouse where the film takes place, there are coffins sitting on end all around them and Mr Blonde is sitting on a hearse when Nice Guy Eddie arrives.
e) After 'Stuck in the Middle with You' you can faintly hear the radio still playing, and an advertisement for Jack Rabbit Slims comes on.
f) When Joe comes back to the table in the diner and asks who didn't throw in their dollar, Orange immediately 'rats' on Mr. Pink. Could this be more foreshadowing that Orange is the 'rat'?
g) Producer Lawrence Bender plays a 'young cop' chasing Mr. Pink during his getaway.
h) Eddie Bunker, who played Mr. Blue, has spent over 20 years in prison and has written a few crime novels based on his real-life experiences.
Soundtrack and Location in the Film:
Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
The cops trailing Eddie's car after Orange gets in from his apartment. It is also on the car radio in the next scene in Eddie's car just before the E. Lois conversation.
I Gotcha - Joe Tex
Eddie talking to Dolph on the car phone and White, Blonde and Pink beating up Marvin the cop to get information.
Magic Carpet Ride - Bedlam
In the bar where Orange is relating his commode story to Joe, Eddie and White.
Fool for Love - Sandy Rogers
Orange's apartment when he gets the phone call that Eddie, White and Pink are downstairs in the car.
Stuck in the Middle with You - Stealers Wheel
I think we all know where this.
Harvest Moon - Bedlam
When Orange is telling Holdaway in the diner how he's on the inside due to Longbeach Mike.
Coconut - Harry Nilsson
The film opens in a diner as a couple of thieves discuss the possibility of holding up restaurants. This leads us into three distinct strands; a date between a hit man and the wife of his boss, the boxer who is supposed to throw a fight and the cleaning up of a hit man's mistake. The stories are told in non chronological order and we finally return to the diner for the final scene.
1. What is contained in the briefcase?
There is no real answer to this and Tarantino has actually said that he didn't know what to put in the case so he decided to leave it to the viewers to decide. There's no truth to the 'friend of a friend' rumour that Quentin said the briefcase contains Marsellus' soul. One interesting suggestion is that it contains the diamonds from 'Reservoir Dogs'.
2. What films have influenced Tarantino in the making of 'Pulp Fiction'?
The dance competition is clearly influenced by Jean-Luc Godard's's 1964 film 'Bande A Parte' which Tarantino has named his production company after. The unknown contents of the briefcase are a homage to Robert Aldrich's's film 'Kiss Me Deadly', made in 1955. When Butch stops at the lights and sees Marsellus crossing the road, we are reminded of Alfred Hitchcock's's film 'Psycho' when Janet Leigh stops at a set of lights to see her boss crossing the road. The pawn shop rape is clearly reminiscent of 'Deliverance', made in 1972 by John Boorman. 'The Bonnie Situation' contains Jules and his friend Jimmy, clearly a reference to Francois Truffaut's film, 'Jules et Jim'. The character of Wolf in this story is taken from Jean Reno's portrayal of a 'cleaner' in Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita, a role reprised by Keitel himself in the American remake Point of No Return. In addition, the films of John Woo, Sam Peckinpah, Brian DePalma and Don Siegel are all important.
3. Why did Mia overdose at her house?
She thought that she was snorting cocaine whereas she was taking Vince's extremely pure heroin. His heroin had been packaged as cocaine would normally be because his dealer had run out of the standard heroin packaging.
4. Why did Butch return to the pawn shop to save Marsellus?
Redemption is one of the central themes of this film and this scene along with Jules' saving of Honey Bunny and Pumpkin in the diner are the best examples of this. Butch's conscience made him go back to save Marsellus and this acted as his redemption for killing Wilson in the previous night's boxing match.
5. Why did Vince leave his gun on the counter at Butch's apartment when he went to the bathroom?
Quite simply, he didn't, the gun belonged to Marsellus. Vince was clearly with somebody else at the apartment as he didn't react when Butch came in, thinking it was his partner. Jules had given up 'the life' by this point and Marsellus was probably filling in on this job. For further evidence look at the scene where Butch runs Marsellus over; the 'big man' is carrying two cups and as he is near to Butch's apartment, we can assume that he is Vince's partner.
6. Why are Honey Bunny's lines different from the beginning of the film and at the end?
A lot of people think this was probably a mistake. It has also been thought by some that Tarantino was showing us the difference between perceptions of different people in the diner, the second time being Jules' perception. It is interesting to note that in a early version of the script the difference isn't there, but it was added in a later version.
7. What was Winston Wolf doing in a tuxedo at 8:30 in the morning? Where was he?
The script explains that Winston was in a hotel suite where people were gambling. If you listen closely, you can hear someone in the room telling the gamblers to 'place their bets'.
8. What was the book that Vince was reading on the toilet?
"Modesty Blaise", a pulpy novel written by Peter O'Donnell in 1965 which is very much in keeping with the film's title.
9. How does a guy like Jimmy know a gangster like Jules? Why does Jules refer to him as 'his partner'?
Quentin has said in an interview (Denver Post) that Jimmy used to work for Marsellus, but when he married Bonnie she made him quit, and Jules respects that.
10. Who was Marvin and why did Jules and Vince take him with them?
I think we can assume that Marvin also works for Marsellus as Vince refers to 'our guy' before they go up to the apartment.
11. Why is there a band-aid on Marsellus' neck?
The actor Ving Rhames simply had a rather ugly looking scar on the back of his neck and so the make-up artist covered this up with a band-aid so that the scar didn't distract the audience too much.
12. There's bullet holes in the wall behind Jules and Vince before 'The Fourth Man' (a.k.a. Seinfeld) empties his gun. Was this an editing error?
It seems to be possible that the holes might have been there for other reasons, it's not a great apartment, but it could be a mistake in editing.
13. Red Apple cigarettes appear throughout the film, what are they?
Tarantino seems to have invented this brand presumably to minimize the amount of product placement in the film. This is also done by using other brands which were around in the 1970's but are no longer available (i.e. Fruite Brute cereal).
14. What happened to the Gimp? Did butch kill him, or was he just knocked out?
The script explains that Butch hitting the Gimp caused him to hang himself to death on his leash.
15. Did Butch key Vince's car outside Sally Le Roy's?
The script has Vince pulling up to a white Honda in a near-empty parking lot outside Sally Le Roy's. There is no such scene in the filmed version, so it's tough to say what Tarantino's intentions were here. It's leaves the possibility open.
a) During the opening scene, you can see the bottom half of Vince as he makes his way to the bathroom. Look out for his book, shorts, t-shirt and 'strut'.
b) The Buddy Holly waiter in Jack Rabbit Slims is played by Steve Buscemi who as Mr Pink in Reservoir Dogs, refused to tip waitresses.
c) The room in Lance's apartment where Mia receives the injection of adrenalin contains two board games, Operation and Life.
d) The cabdriver, Esmeralda Villa Lobos (Angela Jones) appeared in a 30 minute short called 'Curdled' in which she played a character who cleaned up after murders. This makes her fascinated by the idea of murder. Tarantino saw this film and decided to include this character in Pulp Fiction but as a cabdriver.
e) When Butch is sneaking up to his apartment, there is an advert for Jack Rabbit Slims on the radio.
f) Butch's great-grandfather bought the gold watch in Knoxville, Tennessee and this is also where Butch is meeting his connection. Knoxville is Quentin Tarantino's birthplace.
g) The undercard for Butch's fight is Vossler vs. Martinez; Russell Vossler and Jerry Martinez are two friends of Tarantino's from Video Archives who use to live together and their constant fighting was the butt of jokes around the store.
h) Jerry Martinez's brother, Steve, painted the picture of Uma Thurman in Mia's house.
i) Lawrence Bender plays the 'long haired yuppy scum' in the restaurant hold up.
j) The guy who comes out of the bathroom is played by Alexis Arquette who is the brother of Rosanna and Patricia.
k) The cartoon being watched by the young Butch was 'Clutch Cargo', a kid's show from the sixties. The film playing in the motel room was The Losers directed by Jack Starrett in 1970; it's about five Hell's Angels sent to Cambodia by the CIA to rescue a presidential adviser who has been captured by communists.
Soundtrack and Location in the Film:
Misirlou - Dick Dale
Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
While Jules and Vincent are at Marsellus' club.
Bustin' Surfboards - The Tornadoes
Playing when Rosanna Arquette is talking about her body piercing.
Lonesome Town - Ricky Nelson
Sung by the Ricky Nelson impersonator at Jack Rabbit Slims.
Son of a Preacherman - Dusty Springfield
While Vincent is waiting for Mia at her house.
Bullwinkle Pt. II - Centurians
As Vincent is driving to Mia's house after leaving Lance's place.
You Never Can Tell - Chuck Berry
The Twist Contest at Jack Rabbit Slims.
Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon - Urge Overkill
Mia dancing by herself while Vince is in the bathroom at her house.
If Love Is A Red Dress - Maria McKee
Maynard's store when Butch and Marsellus first come in fighting.
Comanche - The Revels
Butch and Zed "bonding" in the pawn shop.
Flowers on the Wall - Statler Brothers
Playing when Butch is leaving his apartment having killed Vincent.
Surf Rider - The Lively Ones
The Man From Hollywood
In this, the final segment of the anthology 'Four Rooms', Tarantino plays Chester Rush, a new Hollywood hot-shot partying with a few close friends in the penthouse of a posh Hollywood hotel on New Year's Eve. The bellhop of the hotel, played by Tim Roth, gets caught in the middle of a wager held by Rush and his friends.
1. Where did Tarantino get the idea for the story?
The story, titled 'The Man from Down South', was originally written by Roald Dahl and featured on his 'Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected'. It was most notably done by Alfred Hitchcock's on 'Alfred Hitchcock's specific version was mentioned as the inspiration for the bet within Tarantino's story. A newer version of Alfred Hitchcock's's stared John Huston and Kim Novak.
2. Why was the ball of twine and the nails requested by Chester when they were never used?
In some other versions of the story, the particular person's hand was tied and nailed down to the table, I suppose to avoid last minute second thoughts.
3. Why wasn't Bruce Willis in the credits for the story.
This was nothing more than an uncredited cameo, something not all that uncommon in many Hollywood films. Bruce has said he did the role as a favor to Tarantino. You will notice a credit for 'Bruce Willis' hair stylist' appears in the final credits.
a) Fans will recognize both Bruce Willis, who played Leo, and Paul Calderon, who played Norman, from Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'.
b) Although not in Tarantino's segment, longtime friend and producer Lawrence Bender plays another 'long hair yuppy scum'.
Jules' speech from Ezekiel 25:17:
'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.'
This is actually not directly from Ezekiel 25:17 and in fact, only the last sentence and part of the second last sentence will be found there.
The racism question:
I've decided not to tackle this subject because whatever I write is not going to change anybody's viewpoint. However, Tarantino has said, "...that's the way my characters talk in the movies I've made so far. I also feel that the word 'nigger' is one of the most volatile words in the English language and any time anyone gives a word that much power, I think everybody should be shouting it from the rooftops to take the power away. I grew up around blacks and have no fear of it, I grew up saying it as an expression." Movieline, Aug 1994
There has been a lot of discussion about the fact that the same character names appear in different Tarantino scripts and whether these people are either related or one in the same. Some of the common names so far are as follows:
Alabama - White has worked with someone of this name in Reservoir Dogs and she is one of the main protagonists in True Romance.
Spivey - Marsellus is mentioned in Reservoir Dogs and Drexl appears in True Romance.
Marsellus - as above and 'the big man' in Pulp Fiction.
Vega - Vic (Mr Blonde) in Reservoir Dogs? and Vincent in Pulp Fiction.
Marvin - the cop in Reservoir Dogs and the inside man in Pulp Fiction.
Scagnetti - Seymour in Reservoir Dogs and Jack in Natural Born Killers.
Nash- Marvin the cop in Reservoir Dogs, and Gerald the cop in Natural Born Killers
The best explanation is that the names reflect Tarantino's ideas so the name Vega is used for a killer, the name Marvin is a fall guy and Scagnetti is an authority figure. Quentin has said that Vic and Vince are supposed to be brothers, which may have been an afterthought as Michael Madsen could have ended up playing both roles.
His Other Scripts:
True Romance was bought and directed by Tony Scott, it was released in the summer of 1993 in the US and October of the same year in the UK. It has recently been granted a video certificate in Britain after some delay. It's worth mentioning some of the more common FAQ's that come up with regards to True Romance:
1/ Where was Val Kilmer in the movie?
Kilmer played the 'Mentor' in the film, who spoke to Clarence in the bathroom, and was supposed to represent Clarence's hero Elvis.
2/ How was Tarantino's script different from Tony Scott's filmed version?
Certainly the biggest difference is that in Tarantino's version Clarence was supposed to have died at the end, perhaps paving the way for Alabama to join up with Mr. White later on in life, as many people seem to think.
Also, Tarantino's script jumped around in time, much like Pulp Fiction.
3/ What is the difference between the 'director's cut' and the original version of the film?
The director's cut has a longer, more violent scene with Alabama and Virgil (James Gandolfini) in the hotel room, and it's Alabama not one of Coccotti's men that shoots Officer Dimes (Chris Penn) at the end of the movie.
Natural Born Killers was made by Oliver Stone and released in the US in August 1994. It's certificate has been delayed by the British Board of Film Classification until 1995 although it will premiere at the London Film Festival on November 12 1994. Tarantino asked for his credit to be purely for the story as he feels that Stone has changed the film so much from what he originally intended.
From Dusk Till Dawn was directed by Tarantino's friend and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who Tarantino has worked with in the past (Desperado, 4 Rooms). Quentin wrote the script based on a story by Robert Kurtzman, a makeup artist and writer who wanted to direct. Kurtzman read the scripts for True Romance and Natural Born Killers before they were in production, and asked Tarantino to fill out his story into a full length script. The movie also had Tarantino in a leading role opposite TV star George Clooney.
Tarantino and Britain:
Quentin Tarantino's films have proved to be very controversial in Britain due to their violent content. Reservoir Dogs only recently was allowed its video release after years of playing in late night theaters. True Romance had it's video certificate delayed until 1994 and Natural Born Killers didn't get its certificate until Feburary 1995. Pulp Fiction was released on video in April 1995. Because of what is commonly known as the 'Dunblane massacre', Natural Born Killers has had it's video release delayed indefinitely.
After 'Four Rooms', Tarantino decided to take a break from writing and directing to pursue other projects and to relax. As it turned out, this break didn't keep him any further away from the media, appearing on talk shows, attending awards shows, film festivals, etc. He has been rumoured to be directing several future pictures including, but not limited to, the next James Bond picture, an adaptation of Mac Beth and a 'Vega Brothers' movie. What is known for sure is that Tarantino is going to be working in Hollywood, probably in several capacities at once, for many years to come.
Tarantino's scripts can be bought from the following outlets:
5514 Satsuma Ave.
N. Hollywood, Ca 91601
ph. (818) 980-3545
fax (818) 566-1143
MR. WEEKEND PRODUCTIONS
Jimmy L Shirah
P.O. Box 1803
Lilburn, GA 30226
1807 Second St #4
Santa Fe NM 87505
PO Box 325
LONDON SW4 9JZ
The script for Pulp Fiction has been published in paperback in the US by Miramax, retailing at $9-99 and in the UK by Faber and Faber costing 8-99 GBP.
Sites for more information:
The authors would like to thank Roger Avary, Greg Bole, Skander Halim, Al Harrell, Dennis Humbert, Ray Lahey, Robert Martin, Dave Munroe, Dave Robson, Joan Shields, Ajaipal Tanwar, Ola Torstensson, and Kale Whorton for their input into this FAQ.
A special thanks is extended to Jami Bernard whose contributions and help have proved invaluable to this FAQ.
This FAQ was converted to HTML .
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Simon Gleave, E-Mail email@example.com Phone +44-71-477-8000 4129 Computing Officer, LS Support Group, Social Statistics Research Unit, The City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK
Jason A. Forrest
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After studying art in Paris, KIM Ki-duk returned to Korea and began his career as a screenwriter and made his directorial debut with a low-budget movie called "Crocodile" in 1996. From the time he released his first film, he stirred up a sensational response from critics. After every film of his was released, KIM Ki-duk was evaluated and hailed by both critics and the audience for his hard-to-express characters, shocking visuals, and unprecedented messages. The characters that appeared in KIM Ki-duk's films were from the lowest trenches of society and were not welcomed anywhere. In such extreme circumstances, KIM Ki-duk drew out the innocence deep within the characters' hearts through a grotesque and malicious struggle After his works had been selected by international film festivals, his name has grown in value and the general audience started to show some interest. With "Bad Guy," KIM Ki-duk has drawn over 700,000 moviegoers into local theaters expanding his limited popularity one step further to the mainstream. He continued on making internationally acclaimed films such as "pring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring" which was submitted to the Foreign Language Film section of the Academy Awards to represent Korea cinema along with "Samaritan Girl" ("Samaria") which won the Silver Bear Award (Best Director Award) at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 @ 9:23 PM
Hee-jin is a mute-girl, that takes care of herself by renting out small floating cottages on a lake, selling food in daylight and her body at night. One day a ex-cop rents one of the cottages and Hee-jin is immediately drawn to his lost soul. When he tries to commit suicide, she manages to safe him just in time and a strange and violent relationship commences.
After watching this movie, I couldn't help it but think that Kim-ki-duk must love shooting movies on the water (e.g. Spring, summer, autumn.... & The bow. The whole atmosphere has kim-ki-duk written all over it tbh. Once again a great plot with weird and violent scenes.
Another thing that really shows the force of Kim-ki-duk is the usage of interaction between two or more characters without talking. Nothing more to add then a great performance of the actors and some very disturbing scenes all mixed up with a good plot and a vsualy relaxing atmosphere. Really enjoyable.
score 7,5 out of 10 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
Monday, March 13, 2006 @ 6:52 PM
Bad guy is yet another one from Kim Ki Duk's controversial collection.
Han-ki (Jo Jae-hyeon), a boss of a red light district, accidentally meets a beautiful female college student (Seo Won) on the street one day. Intrigued, he stares at her, but she coldly stares back. Han-ki then forces the girl to kiss him, much to her disgust. After the kiss he keeps stalking, eventually kidnaps her and forces her into prostitution in his own red light district.
As you might've guessed, 'Bad guy' is not your usual drama, but sets another undertone to controversial. Kim Ki Duk uses the force of mute characters and shows once again that he boldly goes way beyond where no director dares to go.
"Bad guy" stars both Jo Jae-hyeon the brutal dogkiller from Address Unknown and Seo Won, together since the 1999 release of The isle and both put down a stunning performance.
Apart from their performance, it's Kim ki duk's power that sizzles allover the screen. This amazing director really nows how to grab the audience and pull them into his magical world.
score 7 out of 10 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 @ 9:21 PM
A movie that leaves you with a bitter sweet flavour and definately NOT a movie for doglovers ...I repeat...NOT A MOVIE FOR DOGLOVERS.
The story tells us about a few people of the village Pyongtaek in the early 70's. A mother has had a relation with one of the American soldiers from a American base, that's situated next to the village, and has had a son Chang-Guk from that relationship. She keeps sending the soldier letters, but they are returned unopened. Even tho she is an emotional wreck she is having an affair with the gruesome dogkiller in the village. Chang-Guk is very annoyed by his mothers behaviour which have some gruesome consequences.
This is just one of the storylines in the once again greatly filmed flick by Kim-ki-duk (Spring, summer, autumn.... / 3-iron ). Another part of the movie shows us the relation between a American soldier and a girl who has lost sight in one of her eyes, and small stories the evolve around the 2 large stories.
I must say Kim-ki-duk has portrayed the violence towards dogs very good in this movie and sometimes even a bit too much. I can't really tell real from fake, but it gives ya a bad taste in the mouth after seeing some of the scenes. The substories don't really add into the main storyline, but still gives the characters a deeper perspective and background and how they are connected to each other.
Still all together it's another great movie by the korean king of filmmakers Kim-Ki-Duk but still not good enough opposite of his other flicks like Spring, summer, autumn.... or 3-iron.
score 6 out of 10 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
Friday, November 04, 2005 @ 8:58 AM
Another great movie from acclaimed director Kim ki duk (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, The bow and Old boy).
The story is about a young man, who breaks into houses, but unlike a ordinary thief, doesn't steal anything. He eats something out of their fridge, sleeps over, repairs broken items and sometimes even does the laundry. He captures his visits by making pictures of himself in the houses. One day that remarkable life changes when he breaks into a house of a rich couple and meets the woman of that house. She has a bad marriage and is beaten up by her husband all the time, so she decides to join the young man. This eventually makes their bond stronger.
A true Kim ki duk movie who achieves to make movies with as little conversation as possible. His power is to make the interactions between the characters so that you don't even need words to understand what they are doing or feeling. The 3-iron in this movie stands for the fact that the 'young man' loves to play golf, and somewhat uses it as a instrument to do good and bad, just like we notice in the movie "The bow".
Another grasping movie from Kim ki-duk, lets hope we see more of his work in the future.
score 8 out of 10 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 @ 10:55 AM
Another one of Kim ki-duk's astonishing movies. This one is a lot more acceptable to western audiences. Still I don't think you should classify it as a regular asian movie, as it still has the deep visionary of Kim ki-duk. With a great plot, a hidden love story, and once again the little dialog.
The movie is about a young boy and a elder monk. They both live in a cottage that floats on a lake (see pictures below), and if they need to collect herbs or if they receive guests they have a little rowing-boat which they use to transport everyone and everything in. As the seasons unfold we can see big changes happening in every aspect of the monk and the boy's life. From good to bad things, the elder monk tries to eductate the boy in such a spiritual way that the boy leads a clean and decent life. But even for them life has its twists, even they are faced with love, jealousy, hate and off course above all....getting older.
I think this was a beautiful movie. Beautiful storyline, nice sceneries, and even with the little amount of dialog, the movie was still interesting enough to watch. By far one of Kim ki-duks greatest work in my oppinon.
score 4 out of 5 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
The Four Seasons of Life Kim Ki-duk's Buddhism 101
Andrew Sarris | New York Observer
Kim Ki-duk's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ?and Spring is the official Korean entry for Best Foreign Language Film in next year’s Academy Awards. It's already won prizes at the 2003 San Sebastián and Locarno International Film Festivals, but in America Mr. Kim is best known for the erotic absurdism of The Isle (1999). Since his 1996 debut, Crocodile, Mr. Kim has directed nine films, becoming a vital, if lesser-known, force in Asian cinema.
Spring, which the 43-year-old director also wrote and edited, probably represents the purest and most transcendent distillation of the Buddhist faith ever rendered on the screen. I say "probably" because I've seen not nearly enough Asian cinema to qualify as even an amateur authority. Still, it's hard to imagine another film of comparable visual splendor and spiritual intensity in the service of Buddhist contemplation and the quest for existence in eternity.
As the film's production notes tell us, the visual splendor of Spring begins with "the artificially constructed set of a small Buddhist monastery made to float atop Jusan Pond in North Kyungsang Province, Korea." Created about 200 years ago, Jusan Pond is an artificial lake in which the surrounding mountains are reflected. The lake retains its mystical aura by the ancient trees that emerge from within the water. After six months of negotiations with the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Kim's production company, LJ Film, was able to obtain permission to build the set.
The director's statement regarding his latest work is short and somewhat misleadingly simplistic: "I intended to portray the joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure of our lives through four seasons and through the life of a monk who lives in a temple on Jusan Pond surrounded only by Nature." To my strange European-American and Christian eyes, there is much, much more to this film than that.
The four seasons, for example, are spread over so many years that they gravitate from one generation to another with a grimly fatalistic circularity. One life ends and another begins, but the pond, the trees, the mountains remain seemingly ageless.
In the first spring sequence, we've introduced to all the marvels of Spring's mise en scène as the wooden doors of a gated threshold open across the water; a small monastery raft floats upon the placid surface of the mountain pond. The only inhabitants of the monastery are the Old Monk (Oh Young-soo), his little pupil, Child Monk (Kim Jong-ho), and their pet rooster. Old Monk watches silently as Child Monk, left to his own devices, displays a cruel streak by laughingly tying stones to a fish, a frog and a snake. Yes, a snake not the evil serpent in the Bible, but simply one of nature's creatures deserving of more consideration than the capricious Child Monk is inclined to give; he prefers instead to be amused by the desperate writhing of his victims as he tortures them.
I must confess that the visual conjunction of a young child and a snake gave me a start. Hollywood would play the encounter for danger and suspense. Indeed, Texas exhibitors refused to book Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol (1948), from a short story by Graham Greene, because its child protagonist (played by Bobby Henrey) talked to a pet snake and even kissed it lovingly on occasion. For my part, I was so impressed with Child Monk's hand-to-eye coordination in catching a fish in the water and tying a stone to it was an all-thumbs kid hat my moral outrage was put on hold. But the Old Monk is, of course, made of sterner stuff. Before lecturing his errant pupil, Old Monk waits till Child Monk is asleep to tie a large rock around his back. The next morning, when Child Monk complains about the burden on his back, Old Monk asks him how he thinks the fish, the frog and the snake felt. Trying to undo the harm he's done, Child Monk rows across the pond in search of his victims. The frog is still alive as the little boy removes the stone, but the fish and the snake have died from their exertions, causing Child Monk to sob remorsefully. Adding to his grief is Old Monk’s warning that if any of the creatures die, "Youl carry the stone in your heart for the rest of your life."
Summer in the monastery begins years later. Child Monk is now 17 years old and now known as Boy Monk (played by Seo Jae-kyung). One day, the young man encounters a visiting woman (Kim Jung-young) making a pilgrimage with her spiritually ill daughter (Ha Yeo-jin). Old Monk's diagnosis is intuitive and instantaneous: "When she finds peace in her soul," he reassures the mother, "her body will return to health." What Old Monk does not anticipate is that Boy Monk becomes infatuated with the girl, and after a rough-and-tumble courtship with several maidenly rebuffs, the girl succumbs to Boy Monk's desires and sex invades the monastery. But though the copulation is as visually explicit as today's international ratings allow, the nature surrounding the young couple drains the spectacle of its erotic frissons. The two naked lovers are as much a part of the magical environment as the fish, the frog and the snake.
After the lovers are discovered by the Old Monk, the girl is declared cured and sent home. Heartbroken by her departure, Boy Monk follows her back to civilization. Later, Old Monk learns from an old newspaper used as fish wrapping that Boy Monk has murdered his former sweetheart and is wanted by the police.
The fall sequence begins with the return of Young Adult Monk (Kim Young-min)—now sporting a full head of hair—on the run from the police. When he attempts to atone for his guilt by inflicting violence on himself, Old Monk orders him instead to carve Prajnaparamita (Buddhist) sutras into the monastery’s deck in order to find peace in his heart. (The sutras reminded me very much of Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and the tattoos that a Buddhist priest imprinted on the protagonist's’s back to ward off ghosts and death. It's one of the greatest of all films.)
When two detectives arrive at the monastery to arrest Young Adult Monk, Old Monk persuades them to wait until the fugitive has finished his laborious task. When he falls asleep from exhaustion on the deck, the two detectives join to finish his sutras for him, after which the three depart with Young Adult Monk in custody. During this fall of perpetual disenchantment, Old Monk prepares his own funeral pyre that he lights for his ritual self-immolation.
The winter sequence opens with shots of the frozen pond and abandoned monastery. The much older Adult Monk (played by director Kim Ki-duk) has returned seeking to complete the spiritual journey-cycle he began as a child monk so many years before. As if to complete his mission on Earth, a veiled woman arrives bearing an infant she entrusts to Adult Monk's care. She later freezes to death when she falls into a break in the frozen pond. In remembrance of the Old Monk's admonition of the stones in his heart, Adult Monk drags a millstone to the summit of a mountain overlooking the pond. As he gazes down on the pond and the monastery, he sees in his mind's eye the cyclical pattern of his own life through all the eternally renewable seasons of his existence.
The ?and Spring sequence begins in the sunlight with the metamorphosis of the Child Monk into his teacher, Old Monk, with the abandoned infant now growing under his tutelage as Young Monk. The cycle is complete.
Bertrand Russell, an irascible atheist and a wittily skeptical disbeliever of all religions, undertook to grade them all on moral perspicacity. As I recall, he ranked Buddhism above Christianity on the basis of some unkind exclusionary dogma (i.e., the church's, not Christ's). Indeed, if I were to be given the option of choosing my religion for myself (instead of staying with the one I inherited from my parents), and all I had to go on were two films, Mr. Kim's Spring and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, I might well opt for Buddhism, as some of my friends have done. Talk about exclusion! Mr. Gibson has consigned his own wife and the mother of his children to hell for not following the dictates of his own vestigial branch of Christianity.
But Mr. Gibson's profitable histrionics aside, the choice for me is not that simple. There was a point in Mr. Kim's film when I found the Buddhist sutra carvings inordinately tedious. Perhaps there is some part of me that does not want to be part of a cycle that embraces nothingness as spiritual rebirth in the universe of which I’m an integral part. I prefer to fight on—in the Alamo of my ego—even though I know I will eventually lose. The levels of acceptance and resignation that Buddhism demands are hopelessly above me. And I don’t want eroticism to be subsumed as part of nature. I want a life bold, defiant and earth-shaking. But Mr. Kim's majestic narrative in the end does approach the sublime in its cumulative sense of sadness and renewal.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring
Peter Howell | Toronto Star
The title of Kim Ki-duk's latest and most impressive film bears close scrutiny. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring has a measured cadence, each word given special emphasis, hinting at the deliberate pace of the revelations to come.
It's a pace that might flabbergast the followers of this South Korean filmmaker, whose use of raw violence in such previous work as Address Unknown and The Isle has earned him a reputation as a shock artist. The only clue to Kim's previous films is that the story here is set on an island in a remote lake, which makes it similar to The Isle in setting but not in sentiment.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... And Spring can be read as Kim's response to criticism that he is interested only in despair. It is crafted as a series of life lessons, each involving a cloistered monk and his male pupil, which are separated by title cards indicating the seasons, and introduced by a set of ornate swinging doors that formally announce the migratory shift.
Whatever Kim's reasons are for making this film, the result is something close to genius. His depiction of man's relationship with the forces around him - nature, God, other people, himself - is presented almost wordlessly, but with the insistence of an alert conscience. The hypnotic camera work by Baek Dong-hyeon, the busy but entirely appropriate score by Bark Jee-woong and the use of various animals as symbols for each chapter contribute to the almost tactile sensation of watching a movie that is as much to be enjoyed as it is to be pondered.
Opening chapter "Spring" introduces us to Old Monk, played with Zen precision by stage master Oh Yeong-su. He's a man of few words and simple practices, living alone in a tiny chapel floating in a faraway mountain lake. He seems like a figure out of Middle-earth, Camelot or even Oz, but he is grounded in the practicalities of life.
Old Monk has accepted for tutoring a young child, known as Young Monk (Seo Jae-gyeong), whose precocious curiosity is in direct contrast to his master's pursuits. When Young Monk indulges in mindless cruelty with animals, he is taught a lesson both memorable and highly symbolic of things to come.
"Summer," set 10 years later, introduces us to a maturing Young Monk (played by Kim Yeong-min) and a young woman (Ha Yeo-jin), who has come to recover from an illness that seems more emotional than physical. This chapter is the film's longest and most dramatic, as Young Monk discovers both love and jealousy. "Lust awakens the desire to possess," Old Monk warns him.
"Fall" mirrors autumn's hush with scenes of reckoning for past idylls and acts. Young Monk is played this time by filmmaker Kim, as an angry adult who challenges Old Monk's benevolent rule and society's strict laws. It is followed in due course by "Winter" and then "Spring" once again, as the cyclical nature of life asserts itself in nature and in man, with change always a part of the plan.
By turns humorous and tragic, Kim's film folds Buddhist belief into scenarios that capture the eye while they provoke the mind.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... And Spring occasionally tests the patience of the audience, since it is never in a hurry to impart its wisdoms. The latter half of the movie could stand some judicious editing, since it threatens at time to overwhelm the viewer with symbol overload.
But it offers immediate satisfaction, and many seasons of rich contemplation
REVIEW: THE ISLE
Beautiful or sick, take your pick
"The Isle" is a gruesome Korean film that, as our reviewer can tell you from personal experience, is not for the weak of stomach — but it's also a beautiful, haunting parable about a man in a woman's watery world.
By JOSHUA TANZER
(Originally reviewed at the "When Korean Cinema Attacks!" festival in August 2001.)
"The Isle" is the sickeningly gory Korean film that made me unintentionally famous — as the queasy-stomached critic who staggered from the theater and blacked out in the lobby. (See the article from the New York Post's Page Six.) I can't recommend "The Isle" as a gastronomic experience, but believe it or not, as a film it's one of the most beautiful, evocative works I've seen.
Original title: Seom.
Written and directed by: Kim Ki-Duk.
Cast: Jae Hyun Cho, Hang-Seon Jang, Suh Jung, Yoosuk Kim.
In Korean with English subtitles.
The story takes place on a secluded bay with floating shacks where city folks come in ones or twos or threes for a fishing getaway. An unnamed woman wordlessly minds the bay, boating from guest to guest to provide food, coffee, furnishings and transportation. And that's not all she provides. "Come on up," one customer orders on her delivery run. "We're going to need more than coffee." Without a complaint, she climbs up onto the platform and complies with his wishes. Other times, she merely arranges for prostitutes to come from the outside and do the dirty work.
Who is this mysterious woman? It's soon clear that she's not just a caretaker or a prostitute — she's the spirit of this otherworldly place, both benevolent and vengeful. We feel her presence everywhere, seeing all, protecting her guests and punishing their trespasses. People who do her wrong are liable to find themselves wounded with an icepick by some mysterious underwater force and never know what hit them.
Into this strange sea-goddess's realm comes an anxious young man who's clearly running from some unnamed trouble and wants one of the floating cabins to hide in. The man and the woman eye each other curiously over the following days, and their efforts to get to know each other have both touching and repelling results. He is slow to realize it, but the woman is subtly pushing him to change his life and his inner nature.
This is, I think, a parable for male-female relationships in general. So often, women have to help the men in their lives finish growing up, or else we'd spend the rest of our lives lying on the couch with a sixpack watching wrestling and saying "Whassap" to our buddies. This is that kind of story about how women change men, but it's a parable set in a mythical waterworld, not an American living room. The "isle" of the movie's title (actually, it makes sense to look at the entire bay as an island from the outside society) is a place where men think they can come to indulge their most macho impulses but they're ultimately enveloped in the woman's domain.
"The Isle" is simply not suitable for anyone who isn't extremely comfortable with movie violence. There's a horrible scene in which the man, seeing the police on his trail, attempts to kill himself in an extraordinarily gruesome manner, and that's not the last we see of director Kim Ki-Duk's gory imagination. (I understand that a critic at the Venice Film Festival also became ill, and there was controversy over the film at Sundance too.) Hollywood has long engaged in a deplorable competition to one-up itself with gross-out scenes in violent movies, and now Hong Kong, Japanese and Korean films are heartily joining in.
But that doesn't take away from the beauty of "The Isle." It's hauntingly filmed, with the bay silvery on the surface and murky underneath. Actress Suh Jung (also seen in the great "Peppermint Candy") is like a force of nature — primal, sexy and dangerous. And the allegory of the "isle" is unforgettably powerful, with or without the stomach-churning parts.
AUGUST 14, 2001
OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK
Korean director Kim Ki-duk's career can easily be divided into two distinct phases. There are the early, gritty films — aesthetically and thematically rough, and leaden with disturbing violence and a healthy dose of misogyny. Then there are the more recent entries — the festival and art-house friendly titles, with gorgeous actors and matching cinematography, and only a fraction of the misogyny. Though some have argued otherwise, I'm convinced that the newfound attention from Western audiences had a tremendous impact on Kim's vision, as if his films were being sculpted to meet the approval of foreign eyes. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring and 3-Iron are Asian films that appealed to people who normally don't care for (or see) Asian films. Full of sumptuous images that signify nothing, and just enough "oriental" mystique to keep foreign audiences intrigued, but not so much as to make it impenetrable or intimidating. (That many viewers and critics considered Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring to be a Buddhist parable speaks volumes to this point. Kim is a Christian, and admittedly knows nothing about Buddhism.) But whereas Western audiences flocked to see Spring.... and 3-Iron (it landed on more than few Top Ten lists), the folks back at home weren't buying it — 3-Iron was ranked 59th of the year at the Korean box-office, with Spring... faring not much better. And though it was wonderful to see a Korean film walk away with the Silver Bear at the 2004 Berlin Film Festival, I would have much rather seen it given to Hong Sang-soo's sublime Woman is the Future of Man over Kim's ode to teenage prostitution, Samaria.
As depraved, unpleasant and (at times) offensive as they are, Kim's earlier films are far more interesting than the polished ones, and in their own unique way say quite a bit about Korean ideas of masculinity. True, the women in his films are almost invariably some type of whore, but it's never been clear if the rampant misogyny is Kim's own, or merely a conceit by which to deliver his message about Korean male attitudes towards women. (For a perfect example, see Bad Guy.)
In 2000, Kim tried his hand at something slightly more experimental. Working with ten cameramen, he shot a feature film in slightly over three hours, without a single retake. The resulting eighty-minute film, Real Fiction, can best be described as an interesting failure. The film opens on a promising, wonderful, lengthy sequence that calls to mind such films as Blow Up and The Conversation. A sketch artist is drawing portraits in a crowded city park. The camera is kept at an almost voyeuristic distance, and passerby walk through the shot, oblivious to what is taking place. (A PA dashes into frame at one point to move a couple who are blocking the shot — a nice touch.) Multiple layers of dialog are heard, including a conversation in a phone booth — it's as if the entire park was miked. A young woman with a video camera films the artist, though he doesn't acknowledge her presence. At times the POV will shift to her camera — is she a character, or is this a bit of intentional reflexivity? (Or perhaps both?) Some street thugs harass the artist, and demand money from him. A customer refuses to pay for her portrait and storms off. With a somewhat documentary feel to it, Kim seamlessly blends fiction with reality, and the impromptu responses from the crowd provide a genuine bit of energy to the scene.
Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. After being dragged into an empty theater by the woman with the camera, the artist meets his antipode, and this dark, masturbating, rage-driven version of himself convinces the artist to take revenge on those who have ever wronged him. What we are left with is a rather straightforward slasher/revenge film, though of the basest kind — it's more Falling Down than Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Ex-girlfriends that wouldn't sleep with him, current girlfriends who are cheating on him, military men who abused him — such are the trivialities that send him on his killing spree. The experimental framework that was so interesting at the beginning of the film is sadly pushed aside for what winds up looking like any low budget thriller, complete with a cloying synthesizer score that seems well out of place. The continual shift from film to video would indicate the presence of the woman with the camera, though logistically it seems impossible in some scenes. Has she now become a distant observer, or is the film/video split simply meant to signify the difference between truth and fiction? There are too many inconsistencies to say for sure.
The single-take aspect of the film is interesting, and it's amusing to watch the actors recover from minor gaffes, but even that grows tired after a while. The reappearance of the woman with the video camera late in the film once again raises some questions of reflexivity, but it's nothing that hasn't already been done in films like Man Bites Dog. After eighty-minutes, the act of questioning what is and isn't real no longer holds any interest. But do we really need to hear Kim's "CUT" to remind us that we've just been watching a film?
Real Fiction suffers from being neither fish nor flesh — it too quickly abandons its experimental roots in favor of a puerile narrative that ends on the most tired of clichés. Yet even as a failed effort it is more satisfying than the faux-depths and pretty pictures that make up 3-Iron.
March 31, 2006 in Film
The bow (2005) (Korean)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 @ 9:50 AM
Okay this movie was a bit weird. I think you really need to open up your artistic views for movies like this one. The movie, directed by Kim Ki-duk, one of Korea's most promising and most original and visionary directors, is a movie that really brings up a lot of questions. I haven't seen all of Kim ki-duk's movies. But from what I've seen, his movies have very little dialog, and much of the emotion is conveyed solely by glances, gestures or actions. This particular movie is also unique as it has been shot on one location only.
The story evolves around a man of 60 and a girl of 17 who have been living together on a fishingboat. The old man regularly receives guests-fishers on his boat and we learn that he is a splendid marksman with his bow. He's also known for his unusual way of prediciting the future. If he needs to predict the future, he makes the girl swing on a "swing" that is hanging on the side of the boat in front of a drawing of a mystique god. He then aims and shoots 3 arrows on that picture while the girl swings across it. When all 3 arrows have been shot into that picture, she whispers something in his ear and that supposedly is the prediction he can tell to that fisher.
As the story develops we also learn that the old man is counting down days until the big wedding day. As the girl becomes 18 soon, he has marked that day to be their wedding day. Until she meets a young guest fisher and falls in love with his charms. The old man gets jealous and problems arise.
Even tho this was a very weird movie for me (maybe cus im western), I liked the way the story unfolded and how it was all shot in the open sea.
score 3 out of 5 stars
posted by Papigiulio.
REVIEW: SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER ... AND SPRING
Kim Ki-duk, director of "The Isle," scores another triumph in the same kind of remote lake setting in which mythical stories can be told, in the captivatingly beautiful, deeply touching "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring."
By JOSHUA TANZER
Here's what Kim Ki-duk's latest film doesn't have: defecatory closeups, icepicks in the tuckus, inappropriate use of fishhooks, audience members puking, or critics passing out in the theater lobby. "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring" is not the gruesomely captivating "The Isle" by a longshot — you could take a mature kid to it, if your kid reads subtitles — but there's no mistaking it as one of Kim's spectacularly beautiful, immensely moving, magically macabre creations.
SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER ... AND SPRING
Written and directed by: Kim Ki-duk.
Cast: Oh Yeong-su, Kim Jong-ho, Seo Jae-kyeong, Kim Young-min, Ha Yeo-jin, Ji Dae-han, Kim Jung-young, Kim Ki-duk, Park Ji-a.
Cinematography: Dong-hyeon Baek.
Edited by: Kim Ki-duk.
In Korean with English subtitles.
With more images than words, "Spring, Summer" is like the world's most beautiful National Geographic photo montage, except on film. In the middle of a remote mountain lake is a lonely Buddhist shrine, a serenely floating cabin of centuries-old wooden beams adorned with Chinese characters. A slender, white-haired old master worships there with the help of his child protégé.
Although we eventually discover that the story is set roughly within our lifetimes, the first chapter, titled "Spring," could have taken place in any era. The little boy, just big enough to run around by himself and look for trouble, is growing up in a state of nature, with only the old man's gentle guidance to hold him back. He may know little about the greater world, but tramping through the wilderness and performing the day's religious rituals are two things that come to him naturally. What we see is only the smallest of stories, but it's full of feeling, wisdom and beauty. After a day in which the boy has splashed around the lake making trouble — gleefully tying rocks to the backs of a fish, a frog and a snake to watch how they struggle. The old man is a subtle teacher, however, and rather than punish the youngster, he teaches him a deeper lesson. "If any of those creatures are dead, you will carry a stone in your heart for the rest of your life," he admonishes.
The following chapters, one for each season of the year, also trace the seasons of this young fellow's life. We see him as a handsome, strapping, if naive teenager in the "Summer" chapter, doting on a sick girl who is brought to the shrine to heal her spirit. Salvation and seduction get intertwined, and soon the young fellow needs another of the old man's roundabout lessons. We see him three more times, always older, wiser, and yet still thickly enmeshed in spiritual crisis. Each chapter has its own spirit, surprises and resolution — in each, a kind of spiritual peace is achieved by the end, and it's a peace that spreads over the theater, not just on the screen.
In the end the film is not only a celluloid coffee-table book. When we gaze at the elegance of the calligraphed characters carved into the ancient beams, when we listen to sounds of the rippling lake, when we enjoy the lush density of the forest and the playfulness of the creatures who live in and around the water, each sensation embodies a whole cacophony of conflicting memories. Although the stories here are simple, they give us a rich sense of the generations of souls that infuse this place, and every one of the lush visions before our eyes is a reminder of the continuity and variety of life.