Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Quentin Tarantino

It's Quentin Tarantino's 46th birthday today. I do think he will be viewed as one of the essential American filmmakers of this generation. His trademark schitck, of course, is the juxtaposition of horribly gruesome violence captured in a way that makes it cutesy. He does for blood and gore what Betty Boop did for sex in the '30s.

He is someone who clearly loves the history of cinema and quotes from multiple periods in his films. You see influences from everywhere, concepts taken from Hitchcock to 60s blacksploitation to japanese martial arts. He has a broad palette, but never uses it in a fashion that is ostentatious or that strays from his own voice.

Most of all, what I admire about him is that he is a master at non-linear narrative. The stories he tells have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but they rarely appear in that order. He is able to jump from time to time and although you know how it ends, you are still on the edge of your seat not sure how you got from now to that, even though you've already seen some of what happens in the middle.

So, happy birthday. What are your favorite Tarantino films?