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Tarantino's Women


#1

I am doing a project on Tarantino’s representation of women in terms of him being an auteur. Does anyone have any thoughts, articles or quotes that might be useful?

I am also looking at films Tarantino has referenced such as City On Fire, Lady Snowblood and Coffy to investigate if and how he has moulded the female characters to fit his own ‘auteuristic’ view.

Thanks


#2

welcome to the board. if you take some hours time to dig deeper into this forum you will find endless amounts of material


#3

I think the role of women in Tarantino movies has experienced an interesting progression and throughout his films.



Reservoir Dogs: No women whatsoever. Only referenced in conversations between the dogs, and always in a sexual context (think “Like a Virgin”, Nice Guy Eddie’s story about the black woman who glued her husband’s dick etc.)



Pulp Fiction: There are women present in the film, but they’re depicted as being quite dependant on their boyfriends and husbands. Many of them even foolishly cause unwanted trouble and it’s up to the male to try and solve the problem. Think Fabienne and the watch. Think Mia and the overdose. The guys get all the spotlight and ultimately save the day. Still, it’s quite an improvement on dogs, as Mia is also the main character featured in all promotional posters.



Jackie Brown: Now here’s quite an improvement. For the first time in a Tarantino film, the story deals mainly with a woman. Quite an independent woman who manages to outwit everyone around her, both the criminals and the ATF guys. Quite a contrast to the troublemaker females in Pulp. We also find a recurring love theme between the two protagonists for the first time in a QT film.



Kill Bill: The exact opposite of Dogs, in the sense that nearly all of the protagonists are females. The hero is female and proves to be stronger than her male ex-employer. In this instance, it is often the male who foolishly takes the wrong decision and ends up paying the price; contrary to Pulp. Bill doesn’t finish the Bride off, Budd buries her alive etc. Amidst all the slaughter, there is also place for a love story…not only between man and woman, but also between mother and daughter, as evidenced in the last chapter of Volume 2. This is quite a novelty when it comes to QT films.


#4

we have a collection topic for all of those who have to write texts on tarantino here:

http://www.tarantino.info/forum/index.php?topic=3725.0



and you should read all kinds of interviews with QT where he is asked about his feminin ideas for Kill Bill and Jackie Brown and such. also consider that he was mostly raised by his mother, a very strong and capable woman


#5

Thanks for your responses!



I’m wondering just how dependant the women in Pulp Fiction are. Mia seems to be financially dependent on Marcellus but she seems to lead her own life, for instance she says she spends a month every year in Amsterdam. Also, she seems very confident around men, for example she leaves Vincent behind as she goes to her table in Jack Rabbit Slims and has to call him after her. Although Vincent has to rescue her after she overdoses he does it in a very incompetent manner e.g. driving into the house, dropping her on the floor and generally dithering. Vincent’s behaviour contrasts quite strongly with Mia’s self contained calmness after the overdose.

There seems to be a lot of male/female role reversal like Mia putting on the music when she and Vincent get back and he has to go to the bathroom to have a ‘girly’ crisis.

Esmeralda seems to be a very strong independent character, she’s doing a “man’s” job, listening to a boxing match on the radio and she is driving very aggressively. Bonnie seems to be the stronger and more dominant partner in the marriage. She is out at work and Jimmy is at home in a dressing gown, he seems very anxious not to do anything to annoy her.


#6

quoting from D.K. Holm’s book:

“Tarantino had an ambitious, competent, successfull, and well-educated mother who (eventually anyway) served as a role-model for him”.


#7

Yeah, also Mr. Pink’s argument with White about waitresses. RD was very manly, these guys obviously thought of the secondary role of women.


#8

[quote=“Red Apple Cigarettes”]
Thanks for your responses!



I’m wondering just how dependant the women in Pulp Fiction are. Mia seems to be financially dependent on Marcellus but she seems to lead her own life, for instance she says she spends a month every year in Amsterdam.
[/quote]

I quite disagree. Don’t forget that she went to Jack Rabbit Slims in the first place because Marcellus himself fixed her a companion. She wouldn’t have gone alone otherwise. That shows dependancy in every aspect. And Vincent panicked more than Mia simply because he would have paid a higher price if Marcellus came to know of the incident. Esmeralda is a female cab driver, but she is only a supporting character and isn’t given enough time to develop in order to explore her role. As a matter of fact she might just have been included just to make the plot flow. In the case of Bonnie, I agree. It seems she’s the only female who seems having the upper hand in her family, to Jimmy’s expense. After all Jimmy is presented as a dork: the way he talks, the clothes he wears, the importance his relatives eem to have on his life (think his unvle & aunt and the furniture). He does not possess the cool as ice persona of, say, Jules, Vincent, Butch, or The Wolf. And to an extent he’s used as a contrast to these characters…to highlight the difference between the cool independent man and the dork who’s even afraid of his own wife. QT seems to wants to show us the results behind an imposing woman.



P.S. Also don’t forget the Captain Koons scene when Chris Walken confronts the young Butch. Even if the boy looks barely 10 years old, Koons still regards him as the new breadwinner of the family in absence of his father. Again, the woman dependancy on the man role is highlighted.


#9

I get the feeling that Mia is more than capable of walking into the restaurant alone; after all she does spend a month in Amsterdam alone every year. I think she allows her husband to organize her night out and provide a companion so that he feels he is in control of her life and it legitimizes her going out without her husband.

Also, I wondered how much the women in Tarantino’s own life have influenced the way he represents women on the screen.

[quote=“Seb (admin)”]
quoting from D.K. Holm’s book:

“Tarantino had an ambitious, competent, successfull, and well-educated mother who (eventually anyway) served as a role-model for him”.

[/quote]

I wondered if people have any other thoughts on the influence of his mother on his work and his preference for strong female characters in his films. And, also, is there a link between the women in his films and his choice of female friends or girlfriends?


#10

Well, a lot of Kill Bill’s influences are female-driven films, so it would be betrayal of the source material to then have a guy as the hero.


#11

[quote=“StormShadow”]
Well, a lot of Kill Bill’s influences are female-driven films, so it would be betrayal of the source material to then have a guy as the hero.
[/quote]

a lot, not all :slight_smile:


#12

When Reservoir dogs first came out the mass-media opinion was that Tarantino disliked women(the only woman in the movie was the stunt shot by Tim Roth) but with the arrival of Pulp fiction that opinion vanished into thin air-because of the reason-Tarantino had created the ultimate female caracter who we all adore,he gave us one of the most original(as well as popular) females and to the world of movies one of most memorable preformances(Uma was simply wonderful).With Jackie Brown it became obvious that Tarantino was an artist who’s women were cool,smart and sophisticated,a perfect combination.And they truly play an important role in his life(from Connie,his mother,to his one and only muse-Uma Thurman;as well as strong women from the movies he loves).And,ah,Kill Bill-about one woman seeking revenge.It’s full of ‘‘chick fights’’-you don’t see any of the leeding actresses fighting with men(except the showdown of Beatrix with ‘‘The Crazy 88’’ and her last fight with Bill).And that very same woman remains undefeted…Women are important in ‘‘The Man’s’’ life-they represent the huge part of his inspiration,work and him as a person. 8)


#13

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#14

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#17

Tarantino creates films where women have all sorts of different roles. I personally see Mia from PF as being a highly capable women, she just carries this air of power around her.



Even with a women (or, a man) being in a relationtship where financially she(/he) is dependent on her partner, does that necessarily make her(/him) weak?



I do not see Reservoir Dogs as a sexist film in any way. So it does not include a women as a main character? That does not make it sexist. Sure women are talked about in a sexual manner. That does not make it sexist, men always talk about women in a sexual manner, and, Like A Virgin convo is just talking about a song, and the story about the black women simply is a story, the women in the story is not put down at all, in fact they sympathise with what she did, for the man “did things to her”.