Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
Quentin Tarantino is getting older, and Russ Fischer for /Film writes that he “wants to age gracefully” and how doesn’t want to fall into “a trend… that of the once-great master who keeps working until his last days, with diminishing returns”. Fischer refers to an interview QT gave to Playboy…
“I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f*cks up three good ones … When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty.“
Read the full article here.
John Ford, in 1917, directed his first film. Alfred Hitchcock directed his first film in 1922. The Searchers and Vertigo were released in the late 1950s. Steven Spielberg directed Duel in 1971 whilst Martin Scorsese directed Boxcar Bertha in 1972. I think it is fair to say The Departed and War Horse hardly exemplify directors losing their edge. Tarantino knows this.
I appreciate what Tarantino wants to do – he wants hit-upon-hit. He wants to ensure his reputation isn’t tarnished – but he is trying to do something he is not in control of. All he can do is create a work of art that we can all appreciate. I can imagine – and it would be awful – but Tarantino may fall out of favour with film fans. I wrote an article for Flickering Myth noting how his style may already be too “same-y” and, in twenty years, maybe his work will simply be placed in a stack of films alongside filmmakers Edgar Wright and Kevin Smith, whereby their obsession with films seeps into their stories – becoming too referential and imitational. It is all the rage at the moment – and Tarantino started it all. But is this ‘genre’ of filmmaking a style which is truly respected? Indeed, anyone who is not as cine-literate as the filmmaking may become lost in the back-to-back references throughout. I personally believe these films are much more satisfying if you know who they are nodding towards.
Tarantino claims he wants to reach an “artistic climax”, but I’m sure he is aware that most artists strive to top their previous effort. I doubt Spielberg believes he is taking it easy when tackling motion-capture technology for The Adventures of Tintin. I’m positive Martin Scorsese hoped Hugo would become an important piece of filmmaking – as it celebrates everything, outside of directing, that Scorsese is invested in: re-mastering, re-releasing and appreciating art history.
It’s a talking-point which means nothing. Fischer reports on this in the hope we can sit around and discuss what would happen if Tarantino stops – or maybe if he should stop sooner rather than later. Maybe Tarantino peaked with his second film – Pulp Fiction. Who knows – but I know that I want him to continue. What will the state of cinema and filmmaking be in, in twenty years? And how will Tarantino respond? In fact, with the changing-face of cinema – the impact of computer games on the industry alongside successful TV-series – the industry may begin to lose its edge. An edge that, as a lover of cinema, Tarantino would be mortified to see lost. And an edge that Tarantino, I believe, would do anything to defend – and defend in the only way he knows how: by making a damn good film.