Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New year Same Blog: Are You Feeling Django Unchained?

As the ball dropped and Syfy aired a Twilight Zone marathon, I made a New Years resolution to be a little more consistent with my blogging so I'M BACK!  And this first post of the year is dedicated to Quentin Tarrintino's latest bit of historical fiction Django Unchained.

If for some reason you happened to completely miss the buzz around this movie and have no clue what a Django is just follow the link above and come right back!

While this movie has received a lot of critical acclaim it also has been subject to intense criticism by several prominent black figures and historian, and for good reason.  The film itself is riddled with historical flaws and it seems as though Tarantino goes to great lengths to entertain his audience with humor and imagined events (Mandingo fights) as though slavery is something that needs to be exaggerated or made over the top to be believed.

What is also very striking is Tarantino's use of "the N word" and his justification of it.  In the film the word nigger is used over 100 times, more than in films like  Roots, Beloved or Sankofa all powerful films that deal with slavery or racism in the American south.  Tarantino defends this by saying whites in the south during that time period probably used the word nigger more than that therefore it is historically justified.  This to me is a little perplexing since Mandingo fighting is a central theme in this film and there is absolutely no solid historical evidence that indicates Mandingo fighting ever existed.  In fact it would make little to no logical sense for slave owners to have their slaves engage in battles to the death since they were seen a cattle and mere sources of income.  It'd be like setting money on fire.  So basically historical accuracy is okay when you need to say nigger but it doesn't really matter when you want to make something up for the sake of shock value.

What's really upsetting about all this is the fact that many people in my age group (20 somethings and late teens) are running out and treating this like the Roots of the decade but won't sit and watch Rosewood or Amistad films that are actually about true events because they're "boring" or "don't seem as real". 

That being said I actually think Django is probably very well acted and a good movie for what it is. A fantasy, spaghetti western, love story about a super hero negro who takes his revenge, all thought up by a friendly white man who says nigger (or nigga) a lot in his movies. 

So, its clear that as always I'm biased but I do want to hear from others! How are you feeling about Django?  Are you on board, on the fence or over it?  Leave your comments below.