I’ve been reading a great book called “Jospeh L. Mankiewicz” interviews, and there is an in depth look to the films he was making, to his departure from MGM - which actually hit a pitch when they were fighting over Judy Garland. Joseph said, “This company isn’t big for the both of us, so someone has to go!”. And his directing days started with 20th Century Fox. But there was something he said that struck me so. And it really rang so true, this man was exceptional, prophetic in many ways.
Here’s the quote, after asked "You are not in sympathy with recent trends?"
Joseph L. Mankiewicz:“No Kazan used that word to me just two weeks ago-sympathy. He said, “I’m not in sympathy with the movies, with the people making them, nor with what they’re doing.” I agree: If I go back to work, it will be to make movies about human beings. With rate exceptions, today’s Hollywood movies are cartoons, rich , yes, and beautifully illustrated, but with no particular depth. There are a few human beings scattered around the robots, but their dialogue could be written in balloons, like comic strips. I enjoyed E.T. It was charming, enjoyable like watching one of the old Lassie films. I don’t mean to put it down: you felt for the kid and that was nice. Spielberg has an incredible talent for that sort of thing. But…I’d like to be working. I’d like to do more Shakepseare. Corilanus. Love to do that.”
Looking at Quentin, now more than ever. I think his films are really about people. Critics and dissenters in general focus too much on the violent aspect of his filmmaking, but as Quentin said “Violence is just one of many colors in his art”. The violence comes usually to us as the end result. Looking at Kill Bill, the film is about change, Beatrix is fighting for a new life, for redemption from the past. Jackie Brown is all about rising above her oppressors; her entire life has been nothing but shit and in her mid age she just has that insatiable need to rise above her poverty. She has to fight, Ordell was just using her and was going to kill her; if she didn’t get smarter she would have been dead after the night was over. Quentin is not about violence, he writes about people in violent situations, situations that are vital in order for change. I dunno why, but that sort of crept into my head after reading the quote from Mr. Mankiewicz.