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Feature: Kill Bill

The Passion of Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino at work

Director Quentin Tarantino reveals all about the making of his two-part opus in this frank interview

In Kill Bill: Volume One, Hanzo the sword-maker (played by Sonny Chiba) says, ďRevenge is never a straight line. Itís a forest. Itís easy to get lost and forget where you came in.Ē Tarantino has compared the first movie to this straight line, with Volume Two branching out into all the complexities. So if Volume One was about honing the blade of revenge, Volume Two is more about the mind that guides it. We take a trip into that particular forest of complexities, with Quentinís voice guiding us like a flowing river.

Startling violence has become as much of a Tarantino trademark as smart dialogue. So it was no real surprise when Kill Bill: Volume One turned out to be a lavish exploration of this side of his film-making. What is it that makes him so interested in the aesthetics of aggression?

ďItís just one of the most cinematic things you can do and itís one of the funniest things. Itís almost as if Edison invented the camera, to do action and violence. Itís one of the most cinematic things I think a film-maker can really push himself to do. You can do it in a way that literature canít quite do it; painting canít quite do it; theatre canít quite do it; but cinema can do it. Thatís why I love it.Ē

This delight in getting the best out of his medium is clear in everything from the huge pitched battle in Volume One to the punchy trailers available on the DVD. But his enthusiasm for the transfixing qualities of stylized violence doesnít end there.

ďI guess at the end of the day, I like it. I grew up watching horror films, and Kung Fu movies, and Clint Eastwood movies, and Charles Bronson movies, and Iíve been watching that since I was young. My whole thing about it is actually when children see violent movies, it doesnít turn them into violent people. But it could turn them into violent film makers!Ē

With the various action genres being referenced in his script, Tarantino knew he would need stars who were flexible. Not only would they have to perform creative Kung Fu acts, like using a coffee cup as a weapon, but also generate the intensity of a Samurai warrior with their eyes and stance alone. Who else could he turn to, then, other than his Ďmuseí Uma Thurman?

ďThis is a movie that had a series of sparks, but the actual first spark was Uma Thurman. I came up with the idea while I was doing Pulp Fiction, and me and Uma, we were just having a great time doing Pulp Fiction. It was just so great. I found my actress, she found her director and it was just great.Ē


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Photo © Miramax Films
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (May)
#643, May 2004
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