Quentin Tarantino Strikes Back at Spike Lee's Criticism on 'Django Unchained'

December 29, 2012 02:52:13 GMT

Calling the criticism 'ridiculous,' Tarantino insists that using the N-word in the film is 'just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land.'

Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx
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© The Weinstein Company

Recently Spike Lee raised people's eyebrows when he openly slammed Quentin Tarantino's slavery era movie "Django Unchained". One of the things criticized by the "Red Hook Summer" helmer was the use of the N-word, which was deemed offensive by some African-American filmmakers. Commenting on the issue, Tarantino said that the criticism was "ridiculous."

Speaking to the Harvard Prof and cultural critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. in a recent interview, Tarantino insisted that using the N-word was unavoidable, but it was not meant to offend anyone. "Well, you know, if you're going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you're going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you're going to see some things that are going to be ugly," he explained

"That's just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land," Tarantino continued. "Personally, I find [the criticism] ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, 'You use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi'."

"Well, nobody's saying that. And if you're not saying that, you're simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest. No, I don't want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water," he claimed.

Judging that "Django" was packed with brutal scenes, Tarantino was asked whether there was any sequence that didn't make the final cut due to the graphic violence. He answered, "Nothing that was too graphic. But there were versions of the movie, getting to the version that we have now, where both the Mandingo fighting [male slaves fighting to the death for sport] and the dog scene [were] even worse... even more violent. I can handle rougher stuff than most people. I can handle more viscera than most. So to me it was OK."

Previously, Spike Lee blasted "Django Unchained" and claimed he wouldn't watch the movie that insulted his ancestors. "I can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it," he said. "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors, to see that film. That's the only thing I'm gonna say. I can't disrespect my ancestors. I can't do it. Now, that's me, I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody but myself."

"Django" opened on Christmas Day and grabbed around $14 million as it debuted Stateside, marking the top opening for an R-rated film on Christmas Day. It trailed behind "Les Miserables" which took in an estimated $17.5 million on December 25.


Post Your Comments

posted by rain on Feb 17, 2013
reality check, maybe you should find out WHY illegal aliens take a $1 pay for a job. The reason is: your country and your lifestyle are possible because other countries are starving, and $1 is better than nothing. So it's your fault actually
posted by Realistic on Jan 28, 2013
I beleive that if your making a movie about a time period then you got to be true to that period. In my country we didnt have slavery that bad as the US and other countries, but I would like to see more brutualy honest films about the slavery period to ensure two things (A) that the suffering of those poor people are never forgotten (B) that all mankind doesnt forget how barbaric it was and to ensure that it never happens again
posted by noname on Jan 12, 2013
I thought the movie was very entertaining. Samuel L. was great as the most hated N of all. Jamie was good. I loved the Austrian actor as well. After watching this movie 2 weeks ago, I wanted to learn more about the history of Mandingo fighting. I mean to say I love watching a movie that has me thinking weeks after I've seen it. All the language and brutality certainly left an impression on my mind. That is the affect a good movie should have. The use of the N word and the violence and the Uncle Tom-isms were purely contextual. I was surprised there were no white master on slave girl rape scenes. Terintino is known for the blood and the violence. I would not expect it to be any other way. Besides, I was more offended by his use of the N word in Pulp Fiction (which I loved as well.) The N word had no need to be used by him in that movie. In anycase, Django was a refresher in the almost forgotten past of slavery, you know now that we have a black president and all. Hats off to Terintino, I loved the movie.
posted by peachcobbler68 on Jan 02, 2013
I just watced the movie last night and the movie was sold out. Now I will admit I got offended at the begining of the movie. Once I realize the time frame, I got over it. I'm sorry, but that movie was funny as hell especially Samuel L. Jackson part. He reminded me of Uncle Ruckus in "Boone Docks". Besides, if you don't like the movie.....just don't watch it. How is Kat Wiiliams going to get offended as much as he use te "N" word. Can we let a movie be just that....a movie? I'm not offended by the movie because that was during the 1800s and that is how the people were in those days.
posted by Abouttime on Jan 02, 2013
I thought the movie was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. At the end of the movie the audience applauded! How often does that happen? As for Spike Lee I believe that he is just really jealous that a white man made a black western era type super hero of a movie. Hell I want a D'Jango action figure now! Good job Tarrantino.
posted by Commentboy on Jan 02, 2013
Kat Williams? Now that's one real respectable scumbag.
posted by Mic on Jan 02, 2013
Spike Lee would not know a white woman if it hit her over the head...all those movies he made calling an Ittallian, white a person who looked black, white ... so shut up! Jealous
posted by Big Abu on Dec 29, 2012
Most things written in movies are historically inaccurate,, the artistic flair jš meant to capture an Audience, not a history lesson. Just like the movie Lincoln,, no Frederick Douglas,, (wow) Art not accuracy!
posted by Peejay says on Dec 29, 2012
People say that the movie is "Historically Accurate", but since none of you were there, how would you know this? You weren't there to say how many times someone said n in a sentence... Secondly, I don't think that anyone has claimed that it wouldn't have been said, but 100+ times in a few hours is quite over-the-top. Next, Wikipedia says that it was not quite the pejorative that I expect its usage to be, RESEARCH. Last, whether or not White people did in looking for people to enslave, the shit happened... And I would much rather someone with an honest stake in the matter to tell the story, rather than a hack director and his black buddy that just wants to get paid.
posted by Svel777 on Dec 29, 2012
I agree with Niyyaboo, it was a time and era when the word was used a lot and the word is also used in Roots which is great story by Alex Haley so Mr. Lee needs to take a reality pill.
posted by Sincere on Dec 29, 2012
I I applaud Spike Lee for Malcolm X and I applaud Tarrantino for this. This was in some ways for me the Nat Turner movie I thought Spike would have the balls to make but hasn't. As a black man I felt impowered after this movie. Tarrantino got it right. Spike back off.
posted by henneth on Dec 29, 2012
bRAVO, GREAT PICTURE,I see the piople that praise the Confederacy as seekers of freedom and ststes rights are upset. These people proudly wave the confedrate flag as if it is a thing of pride, when clearly it should be of shame.
posted by reality check on Dec 28, 2012
I'd like to see someone make a movie about slavery that portrays the other side of the coin. There were some slave owners who treated their slaves kind and decent. Gentlemen of the south that realized that happy workers were better workers. Guess what, you'll never see it because it doesn't push the right agenda. Slavery was bad, but in the 1800's, there was certain things that were accepted as ok that we don't accept today. 100 years from now, people will look back and shake their heads at how we benefited from the underpaid illegal aliens from south of the border. No one will speak the truth and talk about how they came here on their own and took the low paying jobs which in turn cost an American his or her job because the illegal would do the job for $1 an hour cheaper. No one talks about the truth of the matter in slavery. White people did not go hunting black people in Africa and drag them here kicking and screaming. Black people in Africa enslaved their rival tribes and sold them to the Dutch and the Dutch transported the vast majority of the slaves to America. I remember a reading a story about Will Smith when he was making the Ali movie and he had to film some of it in Africa. It was either him or one of the other top name actors of the movie who said they were glad their ancestors went thru what they did so that he could be born in America because he wouldn't have wanted to live in Africa his entire life and not know freedom today. Or something similar to that. As a proud black man, i'm glad to live in America today, even if I'm sometimes looked at with suspicion or hate from ignorant white people. It doesn't make me forget that there are many white people who accept me as a friend, business partner, client, and even some who are lucky enough to call me family.
posted by Niyyaboo on Dec 28, 2012
I am a black woman from ohio.. I feel that if the film was done without using the n..... Word, it wouldnt have made since to make the movie.. In the timen age the film was presented n that is what african americans were referred as.. Thats like saying alex hailey should have taken the n.... Word out of the movie ROOTS.
posted by Tony Riggs on Dec 28, 2012
"claimed he wouldn't watch the movie that insulted his ancestors" Ok, this is simple: If you haven't seen it, have a nice cup of STFU and go away.
posted by Straightup on Dec 28, 2012
As a middle-aged Black male, I applaud Mr. T for his acuracy, and his attempt to bring the 1800s to 2012 eyes and ears. Far too many Blacks are willing to forget the past and to make their own interpretations.

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