“Django Unchained and Quentin Tarantino Interview in December 2012 PLAYBOY” — a movie review with social commentary by Gary S. Smolker

Django Unchained and Quentin Tarantino Interview in December 2012 PLAYBOY” 

-A Movie Review with Social Commentary by Gary S. Smolker –

(January 2, 2013)

QUENTIN TARANTINO’S AGENDA

Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed the recently released movie Django Unchained.

In his PLAYBOY interview, published in the December 2012 issue of PLAYBOY, Tarantino said he has an agenda about history that he wanted to get across in this movie.  He was interested in the business aspect of slavery (the use and approval of the use of humans as chattel, humans who could be bought and sold) and he wanted to get across how horrible slavery is.

Tarantino’s movie is a sociological psychodrama that compels viewers to think about sociological, economic and political issues.

Tarantino may have set out to get across how terrible slavery was, but what Tarantino actually does in Django Unchained is to make a movie which tells a story about the mind set of people in the deep South before the Civil War.

The story Tarantino tells will compel many viewers to reflect upon and explore the validity of their racial and economic stereotypes, as well as to think about their opinion on the pros and cons of the workings of an unregulated purely market based economic system, their opinion of the value of human life, their concept of property and human rights, and the sociological, economic and political quagmire the United States finds itself in today as well as the role and the impact of the rule of law in society and how social strata and entrepreneurship work in real life today.

To the acute observer, Tarantino’s movie will (a) explain why Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States, (b) why Mitt Rommney  sincerely believes he is entitled to be President of the United States, (c) why the NAACP is challenging New York City’s exclusive use of an applicant’s test score on a standard test as the sole basis to gain admission to New York City’s academically elite selective high schools and (d) why the Mayor of New York City, Richard Bloomberg, adamantly refuses to change  use of the applicant’s test score as the only admission criteria to those schools.

The way Tarantino tells the story told in Django Unchained is an excellent example of how to make an argument with powerful impact.

I predict that Tarantino’s film will have significant effect on judicial decisions, jury decisions,the votes on delicate issues that politicians will make in the future,  and on politician’s political careers and the voting public’s political decisions going forward.

TARANTINO’S IMPACTFULL POWERFULLY TOLD STORY

Tarantino’s movie Django Unchained tells a very compelling story.

In the first scene of Django Unchained, Django (played by Jammie Foxx) is in chains.  It is winter.  Django is tied to other slaves, all of whom are walking along inadequately clothed for the winter weather, being herded by two slave traders.

The line is stopped by a bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz played by Christopher Waltz.

Dr. Schultz asks Django if Django can identify two men.  Django replies: “Yes.”

Dr. Schultz tries to purchase Django from the slave traders.

The slave traders refuse to sell Django and unsuccessfully try to kill bounty hunter Schultz.

Dr. Schultz kills one of the slave traders and fatally wounds the other who is trapped under his fallen horse who has been shot by Dr. Schultz in a “shoot-out” in self-defense.

Instantaneously, Dr. Schultz enlists Django to help Schultz hunt and kill the two men Django tells Schultz he can identify.

Django tells Dr. Schultz he will assist Dr. Schultz in his quest to kill those two men for the reward (bounty) offered to bring them “in dead or alive” whereupon Dr. Schultz unchains Django after Django.

Dr. Schultz and Django make a “deal” — Django agrees to identify the two men being hunted by bounty hunter Schultz and to be Schultz’s partner in the bounty hunting business throughout the winter.

The two men Django has been asked to identify had abused Django and Django’s wife while they were slaves working on a plantation under the control of those two.

Schultz agrees to pay one third of the bounty collected for killing men they hunt and to help Django find and rescue Django’s wife Broomhilda von Shaft (played by Kerry Washington) — who is a plantation slave desperately in need of being rescued — after the winter snow melts.

Dr. Schultz is a refined educated man, a dentist who went into the bounty hunting business because being a bounty hunter (being paid a “reward” for each person brought in dead or alive) is more lucrative then being a dentist.

When Dr. Schultz meets Django, Django is an ignorant slave, who can’t read or write.  Django is a man who never chose or owned his own clothes, and who never held a gun or rode on a horse.  That all changes after Django partners up with Dr. Schultz.

Dr. Schultz explains to Django that Broomhilda is the name of a Queen in German legend who is won by Sigfried.

Dr. Schultz teaches Django how to shoot a gun and how to ride a horse.

Dr. Schultz buys new clothes for Django which are chosen by Django for Django.

The two partners (Dr. King and Django) are a case study in relational effectiveness.  They have a very effective and efficient humane relationship.

After a winter of successful bounty hunting — consisting of killing white men then bringing them in dead for a reward (bounty) — Django and Dr. King go to the slave market in Mississippi where Broomhilda was sold to her current master in order to find out, from an inspection of sales records, where Broomhilda is now.

Dr. King determines from an inspection of sales records that Broomhilda has been sold to Calvin Candi, the owner of a cotton plantation known as Candi land.

Calvin Candi is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Calvin Candi is a young boy Emperor.  He owns everything in sight at Candi land.

Candi land is a self-contained money making machine, which takes care of itself.

Calvin Candi was born into this.

Calvin Candi’s father and Calvin’s father’s father before him owned Candi land.

Calvin’s passion is not raising cotton.  Calvin’s passion is Mandingo fighting — two black men fight each other to the death.

Dr. King and Django decide and hatch a plan on how to purchase Broomhilda from Calvin Candi.

They decide they will pose as being sportsmen in the Mandingo fighting business and will get to see Calvin Candi under the pretext of wanting to purchase one of Calvin Candi’s Mandingo fighters.

There are many memorable dramatic (and surprising to me) scenes in Django Unchained.

  1. In one scene: Dr. King, Django and Calvin Candi are all together watching a Mandingo fight. Calvin’s Mandingo is fighting another slave owner’s Mandingo slave at a gentleman’s club.
  2. At the end of the fight, Calvin orders his “victorious Mandingo slave” to “finish off” the other Mandingo slave:  Calvin’s Mandingo slave has beat up the other slave.  Calvin’s slave is given a hammer and told to hammer the other slave’s head in.  He reluctantly does so.
  3. When Dr. King and Django first arrive at Candi land, they are told by Calvin Candi, when he learns that Dr. King speaks German, that he has a German speaking woman house slave.
  4. Django is riding a horse when Dr. King and Django arrive at Candi land.  At Candi land no-one had ever seen a black man on a horse before.
  5. Calvin Candi tells his head black slave, a man who runs the household, played by Samuel L. Jackson, to prepare a room for Django in the main house.
  6. The slave who runs the house complains that they will have to burn the sheets and covers if Django sleeps in a room in the main house.
  7. Calvin Candi petulantly replies that the sheets, covers and blankets that will be touched by Django belong to him (Mr. Candi) and he (Mr. Candi) can do whatever he wants with them.
  8. Calvin orders his men to bring the German speaking slave (Broomhilda) to speak to Dr. King in German.
  9. The men fetch Broomhilda.
  10. Movie viewers are shown Broomhilda imprisoned in an partially underground metal “hot box” the size of a coffin as a punishment for trying to run away.
  11. In another scene the viewers are shown the victorious Mandingo fighter up in a tree surrounded by barking dogs.  It turns out the Mandingo fighter had tried to run away and had been tracked by those dogs who are now trying to eat the Mandingo fighter. The fighter explains to Mr. Candi that he doesn’t want to fight anyone anymore.  Mr. Candi replies that he (Mr. Candi) paid $500 for the Mandingo fighter, that the fighter has fought on three fights and Mr. Candi should get at least five fights for his $500.00
  12. The Mandingo fighter comes down out of the tree.  The dogs are let loose.  They grab the fighter and tear him apart and then eat him while he is still alive.
  13. In another scene Mr. Candi explains to Dr. Schultz and to Django that blacks are naturally servile and a mentally inferior specie of human being.
  14. Mr. Candi pulls out a skull he keeps of a deceased black man. He cuts the skull open and points to the part of the interior of the skull against which the brain would lay.
  15. There are some ridges on the skull at that portion of the interior of the skull. Mr. Candi explains that the presence of those ridges prove that black people are servile have low mental capacity.
  16. Prior to this demonstration, viewers have been told, several times throughout the movie, that Calvin Candi does not speak any foreign languages.
  17. Shortly after that demonstration, Dr. King asks Mr. Candi how it came about that Mr. Candi gave the names Mr. Candi gave to his Mandingo fighters.
  18. Mr. Candi explains that he got the names he gave his Mandingo slaves from novels written by Alexander Dumas.  He further explains that Alexander Dumas is his favorite author.
  19. Dr. Schultz then asks if Mr. Candi is aware that Alexander Dumas was a black man?
  20. Prior to that happening, Mr. Candi and the head of his household agree that Broomhilda is worth $300 or $350.  Immediately after that, Mr. Candi told Dr. King that Mr. Candi would crush Broomhilda’s skull if Dr. King did not pay Mr. Candi $12,000 to purchase Broomhilda.  Things get violent after that.

One would have to be very dense to not notice that Mr. Candi was not as intelligent as the black man in charge of Mr. Candi’s house/household staff, the black man played by Samuel L. Jackson.

At all times during the movie, Django acted in an intelligent and appropriate matter and exhibited a high degree of reasoning power as did his wife Broomhilda.

ALEXANDER DUMAS

Mr. Tarantino did not have Dr. Schultz mention to Mr. Candi anything about Alexander Dumas other than the fact that Alexander Dumas was black.

In real life, Alexander Dumas’ father Alex Dumas was born to a black slave mother and a white fugitive French nobleman in present day Haiti.

Alex Dumas was sold into bondage but made his way to Paris, where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

When the Revolution broke out, he joined the army at the lowest rank – yet quickly rose, through a series of legendary feats, to command more than 50,000 men.

Because of his success and unwavering principles, he ultimately became a threat to Napoleon himself.

Alex Dumas’ story is a story which took place in the modern world’s first multiracial society.

The stories in Alexander Dumas’ books The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers are based on the life led by his father Alex Dumas.

Alex Dumas fearlessly lived up to his beliefs.  Fear did not stop him from doing anything.

THE BEST ACTORS WANT TO WORK IN MR. TARANTINO’S FILMS

Some of the best actors and actresses want to work in Mr. Tarantino’s films because they agree with Mr. Tarantino’s values, respect Mr. Tarantino’s honesty, respect his bravery and want to be one of the messengers who deliver the message in his films.

In Django Unchained, the actors understood every ideological aspect of what the movie is about, agreed with the powerfully presented message that the institution of slavery in the United States was awful and wanted to join Mr. Tarantino in delivering a powerfully delivered message that blacks are not genetically stupid, that given an opportunity they have as much ability to acquire knowledge through study or experience as any other race of people.

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

In the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, 150 years ago this week, President Lincoln freed the slaves only where he had no power – inside the Confederacy where slavery was legal and protected by the Confederate Army.

Slavery existed because of state laws, and the president had no power to declare a state law unconstitutional. Nothing in the Constitution as it existed in 1863 made slavery unconstitutional.

President Lincoln based his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on the grant of war powers to the president in the Constitution.

President Lincoln claimed that slavery was enabling the rebels of the South to carry out their war, he maintained that abolition was “warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity” to save the government.

A key part of the Emancipation Proclamation was its invitation to freed slaves and other African American men to enlist in the Union Army.

More than 180,000 black men served in the Union Army, the great majority of them emancipated slaves.

More than one-fifth of the nation’s adult male black population younger than 45 fought for the Union, about 10% of the entire Union Army.

QUENTIN TARANTINO’S MINDSET AND AMBITION

In the interview published in the December 2012 issue of PLAYBOY, Tarantino said he is always trying to prove that he belongs in Hollywood.

He is always trying to top himself.

He is trying to make big, bold, vital movies that move his artistic journey forward.

He would like to be thought of as one of the premier directors of his time, at the height of his powers, with his talents at his fingertips, with something to say, something to prove, trying to be the best he can be.

QUENTIN TARANTINO’S ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: DO BLACK PEOPLE GENETICALLY LACK INTELLIGENCE?

If one defines intelligence as the ability to acquire knowledge through study and experience, the message unambiguously delivered in Django Unchained is that black people are highly intelligent.

The message Tarantino, and all the actors in this movie, deliver(s) is that “intelligence” is not a genetic trait.

EMOTIONAL AND INTELLECTUAL REACTIONS TO DJANGO UNCHAINED

I like Django Unchained because, whether I agree with the message/information/argument communicated by Tarantino, Django Unchained will provoke public discussion of difficult current subjects such as the value of human life, whether government regulation of social conduct and providing social welfare is a good idea and whether government regulation of our theoretically free market economy is necessary.

In its own way, Django Unchained speaks to the issue of whether affirmative action makes sense.

I like Django Unchained because watching Django Unchained will cause some people to examine their unexamined assumptions.

In that regard, Django Unchained will cause many people to think about the validity of their assumptions about ownership of property, property rights and human rights.

Django Unchained will influence people’s state of minds on social issues such as the proper role and size of government and the regulation of business and social conduct by government.

Django Unchained will provoke discussion about the existence of racial stereotypes and about what people believe about racial stereotypes.

Django Unchained will inevitably cause some people to examine their racial biases if they have any.

THE AMERICAN DREAM

The “American Dream” is a state of mind.

The “American Dream” is about freedom and opportunity, opportunity and freedom for everybody.

The “American Dream” does not demonize success or endorse the grant of special favors or special “entitlements” to special groups based on ancestry, ethnicity, race or color.

The widespread viewing of Tarantino’s Django Unchained will accelerate society’s realization of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream that someday all children will be treated the same regardless of the color of their skin and we will someday live in a world where people will not be judged on the basis of the color of their skin but instead will be judged on the content of their character.

CONCEPTS OF THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE, HUMAN RIGHTS, PROPERTY, OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO HAVE A LAISSEZ FAIRE FREE MARKET ECONOMY, AND HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE AND PREPARING PEOPLE FOR THE REAL WORLD

The commonly held belief of the characters in Django Unchained is that nobody has the right to tell you what to do with your own property or to tell you what you can and cannot do with your own property.

As a result, in Django Unchained, Calvin Candi, without any compulsion, asked his Mandingo fighter to bash in the head of the other Mandingo fighter with a hammer without anyone questioning Mr. Candi’s right to do so.

Mr. Candi had a young beautiful black slave woman whipped and put in a metal box the size of a coffin as a punishment for trying to run away, without anyone questioning Mr. Candi’s right to do so because she is his property.

Mr. Candi had his dogs tear apart the flesh of a black slave and ate that slave alive, without anyone questioning Mr. Candi’s right to do so because the black slave is Mr. Candi’s property.

At the beginning of the movie, shortly after Dr. Schultz has “freed” Django, Dr. Schultz asks Django if Django would like to join Dr. Schultz in the business of bounty hunting.

Django asks Dr. Schultz to explain bounty hunting, to tell him what bounty hunting is.

Dr. Schultz tells Django that bounty hunting is like the “slave trade” — money for flesh — except in the slave trade money is paid for alive black people and in the bounty hunting trade money is paid for dead white people who have been shot and killed by bounty hunters who will collect a cash reward for having done so.

After hearing this explanation, Django replies “Being paid for killing white people, what’s not to be liked about that.”

All of the violence and inhumanity portrayed in Django Unchained makes sense in the context of the story being told because Django Unchained is a satire.

Django Unchained is a satire created by a master of the film making art in which shockingly dramatically memorable graphic scenes are employed to create a visualization of a way of life.

This visualization of a “way of life” is presented to viewers for the purpose of compelling to consider their own mind sets about the value of human life, human rights, property rights and government regulation.

After viewing Django Unchained, when, and if, people think about the value of human life, the concept of ownership of property and whether it is appropriate for government to interfere (regulate through the promulgation and enforcement of regulations) in the functioning of a so “market” economy in society they will have inscribed in their minds the graphic horrific scenes of what happens in the unfettered free market economy portrayed in Django Unchained.

In Django Unchained, Tarantino evokes raw emotions about the sense of entitlement Calvin Candi has obtained through the process of being born into wealth and privilege which allows him to take “advantage” of the existing social and economic system without any compassion and without putting any value on human life or dignity.

The emotions people have in response to the despicable conduct of Calvin Candi  explains and demonstrates how off-putting it is to many people for anyone to act as if they are better than someone else, whether they believe they are entitled to be President of the United States as a birthright because of the “stature” of their family or believe that they are entitled to be admitted to a particular high school or to be admitted to a college or university or to be given a particular job or promotion as a birthright they are entitled to because of the color of their skin.

Django Unchained highlights in it’s graphic gritty scenes the American dream that merit will be rewarded.

Copyright (c) 2013 Gary S. Smolker

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on January 2, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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