Quentin Tarantino and his films
Quentin Tarantino was born in 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the son of a half cherokee, half hillbilly mother named Connie Tarantino. She named him after Burt Reynolds charakter, Quint from the movie Gunsmoke . When Quentin reached the age of two years, the Tarantinos moved to South Los Angeles where he grew up. From an early age, his mother took him to the movies and he immediately experiences a peculiar love and admiration for the cinema itself.
At the age of sixteen, Tarantino left school to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Work and training followed, including employment as an usher at the local Pussycat Theater . His most publicised place of employment was at Video Archives, where he received an informal film education and where he and Roger Avary spent all day watching, discussing and recommending videos. Although his original game plan was to become an actor, Tarantino soon realized his true calling in life was to be a director.
In this age of rampant computer literacy, it is noteworthy that Quentin Tarantino, the much ballyhooed point man for nineties filmmakers, still writes the old fashioned way using a pen (to be precise, he ritualistically purchases three red and three black felt-tip pens before commencing a new screenplay) and a notebook.
Either you revere or revile this latest rock star of film makers, no one is better at creating an amoral, anti-intellectual cinema of viscera than Quentin Tarantino. Dubbed the new Martin Scorsese , Tarantino emerged not as a product of the film school generation, but from the pantheon of filmmakers past and present: the video store.
Like the name, Tarantino s scripts offer a cultural-hybrid vision: art-house cinema and syringe-in-the-heart splatter-toon. He made his first film in 1986, My Best Friend s Birthday which ended up unfinished and followed up by writing his first script, True Romance a year later.
During this period, he was attending acting classes and put together a Curriculum Vitae of his (non-existing) acting experiences. As a matter of fact he listed his name in the movie King Lear by Jean Luc Godard.
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 his money to make his third script Reservoir Dogs on 16mm and in black and white and 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 this is where he met Lawrence Bender and struck lucky; Bender was attending acting classes given by a friend of Harvey Keitel s wife. 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 varios film people to comment on and the group containing Terry Gilliam were particularly impressed.
Reservoir Dogs finally premiered at Sundance in 1992 before appearing at various film festivals around the wold. Miramax picked the film up for distribution after Sundance and it was released in the States later in 1992 and in the UK on January 8th 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 openend amidst incredible hype and critical acclaim on October 14th in the US and on October 21st 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 Actor and Actress, and winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
The movie s runaway success suggests that Tarantino s self-education in pulp may well have been a productive way to pass his adolescence after all (the movie grossed over 100 million $ domestically and scored numerous critical awards). Hollywood subsequently enshrined the boy wonder as the emblem of a new generation of young video store auteurists; his flavor-of-the-year status had the attendant benefit of revitalizing John Travolta s ailing carrer. For a time, Tarantino seemed content to rest on his fast-won laurels, by pulling acting duty in (thankfully) small roles in various independent features like Sleep With Me (1994), Somebody To Love (1994), and Robert Rodriguez s Desperado (1995).
Tarantino returned to the production side of filmmaking for the 1995 s poorly received anthology Four Rooms, for 1996 s slightly-better received hipster gore fest From Dusk Till Dawn (based on his screenplay), and for the appropriately titled feature Curdled (also in 1996). Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino s predictably long-winded, lightning-paced, well-cast in 1997 adaptation of Elmore Leonard s Rum Punch, rekindled to a certain degree his reputation as the savior of American moviemaking, and yet, the jury is still out as to wether the video geek turned wunderkind will pan out or bottom out. Tarantino s real life antics in Full Tilt Boogie- a behind the scenes look at the filming of From Dusk Till Dawn-did little to dissuade those critics who have accused him of possessing an unchecked ego. But one thing is for sure, Tarantino, the consummate Hollywood dabbler, will no doubt keep very busy in the years to come.