The ‘small’ film about Blaxploitation: Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” (English, 1997)

Maverick filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s films have always evoked extreme reactions and his latest film “Django Unchained” hasn’t been any different. Critics have mostly been underwhelmed by his take on slavery in the Deep South in “Django Unchained” and fans across the world are already curious about Tarantino’s next venture.

While talking to the French publication Les InRocks, the filmmaker indicated that his next film after “Django Unchained” would be a ‘small’ film in the vein of “Jackie Brown.” So, what exactly is “Jackie Brown” all about?

Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” | English | 1997. Photo Courtesy: Internet Movie Poster Awards

This lesser-known Tarantino cult classic was released in 1997, three years after Tarantino’s insanely-popular breakout movie “Pulp Fiction.” Starring Pam Grier, Samuel Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton and Chris Tucker, “Jackie Brown” was an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch.” It is said to be a tribute to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Blaxploitation refers to the sub-genre of the broader category of exploitation films, which were characterized by funk and soul music soundtracks with the lead protagonists invariably being black.

In article titled “The One Time Quentin Tarantino Got Blaxploitation Masculinity Right” for The Atlantic (click here to read the entire story), Noah Berlatsky delineates why “Jackie Brown” works:

Jackie Brown, then, is not just a tribute to blaxploitation, but a critique of it—which means it’s also a critique of all those mainstream gendered assumptions and fantasies which informed blaxploitation in the first place. From previews and reviews, it seems unlikely that Django Unchained, whatever its other virtues, will manage to be bracing in quite the same way. But then, there aren’t many folks, of any gender, as cool, as smart, or as exhilarating as Jackie Brown.”

And here’s the trailer of the film.

We at TCRC are big fans for this lesser-known Tarantino film and we’d love to hear your thoughts about it. So, do write in!

Dibakar Banerjee: Discovering “good” international cinema through a search for porn!

We at TCRC are always looking for fabulous written material on films and their makers, and it is during one such search that we found Jai Arjun Singh‘s absolutely delightful piece on Dibakar Banerjee, the director of films such as “Khosla Ka Ghosla,” “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye,” “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” and “Shanghai.” All too often, we find directors giving interviews about their latest film and such interviews invariably end up including a couple of stock questions about the process of writing and making films. But Jai Arjun’s story for The Caravan magazine focuses entirely on Dibakar Banerjee – the man, his influences and his creative process. Discursive and detailed, the piece builds a fascinating, multi-dimensional picture of the filmmaker who has made some truly path-breaking yet commercially successful films. Sample this:

For the young Dibakar, “getting his hands dirty” meant being part of a street-smart lifestyle that was far removed from the cliché of the armchair intellectual. And that early life is inseparable from what he is today. Even “good” international cinema came into his personal orbit through what was an adolescent’s rite of passage: at age 17, he and four friends rented what they thought would be a porn film called Confessions of a Taxi Driver to watch in a darkened room in Jhandewalan—and ended up with Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver instead. “We closed the drapes, waited for the obligatory hardcore moment but nothing happened—and by the end, here were five guys from a typical Karol Bagh setting, riveted by what they were seeing.”

Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD)  |  Hindi  |  2010

Love Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD) | Hindi | 2010

Truth be told, this profile of Dibakar Banerjee is easily one of the best (and longest) pieces of writing about a filmmaker that we’ve come across in the recent past (click on the image above to read the full story). We at TCRC would like to doff our hats in salute to both filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee and writer Jai Arjun Singh.