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Förening Film i Malmö presents
2012, 165´+ intermission
from “Django Unchained Upends the Western” by SCOTT FOUNDAS
Watching Django Unchained, it’s easy to imagine that Quentin Tarantino had such a blast making his last picture, the ebullient Holocaust fantasia Inglourious Basterds, that he decided to take his whole blood-spattered historical tent show on the road, this time putting down stakes in antebellum Dixieland. Although not technically a Basterdsprequel, Django stems from a similar impulse—to reframe and rewrite American history in boldly absurd strokes and, by doing so, to make us confront the distortions and omissions of so much “fact-based” cinema. In Basterds, however, Tarantino was engaged with an exhaustive canon of World War II movies, from Casablanca to Schindler’s List, while the subject of Django Unchained—slavery in the American South—is one that has been conspicuously absent in Hollywood films in the century since D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation.
So the boisterous, outlandish, fiercely intelligent Django Unchained is at once an act of provocation and reparation—not just for slavery, but for Hollywood’s decades of saintly Negroes and sass-talking sidekicks and its relentless whitewashing of history, from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner to The Help. And it will surely be a harder pill to swallow for some of the audiences who cheered at Inglourious Basterds‘ skull-bashing Jewish avengers.