Thursday, January 17, 2013

Django Unchained.....Controversy?

    Recently I saw Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino, one of my favorite directors of all time (Kill Bill, anyone?). When I went to go see this movie, someone commented that they heard the movie was racist. I asked why, assuming the presumed racism was due to the story line - the plot, if you haven't heard, is about a slave seeking revenge on a plantation owner - and, to my surprise, the commentator felt it was racist against black folks. Of course, I became even more intrigued, having to see the film by one of my favorite directors, to uncover the mystery, racist or not?

    Besides the uncomfortable use of the "n" word, I enjoyed every minute of it...all 3 or so hours...and apparently that's not the only undeserved criticism this film is receiving. Spike Lee, for instance, thought the film depicted slavery as something other than a serious matter. Strange, coming from an outspoken black man...
    I felt as I watched the movie, that it was made very tactfully, balancing the humorous aspects and uncomfortable language with historical accuracy. Even when showing Django's wife being whipped, the film was careful not to over-do the abuse, cutting the scene before it became too intense or unnecessary. Not only that, there were many levels of slavery depicted, the "Uncle Tom" character of Samuel Jackson, which was both humorous and sad, women of color being used as sexual objects or maids, workers out on the field, slaves being used for personal amusement (such as fighting and killing), and not to mention the accuracy of the punishments that were chosen (like the hot box).

    I also believe that the language is a necessary component of the film, used to show the degradation through the use of the "n" word and as a commentary of how it is used currently. Due to the time period and the nature of what the film was depicting, it would be inaccurate to not have that word spoken at all, and the use of that word during that time was constant and common. The only inaccuracy of the film is the plot point, so I think it is entitled and justified to use the "n" word, and I speculate Spike Lee is probably being touchy about a white man doing a film of this nature.
    When I saw the movie and it was over, I was relieved to notice I was the only person not of color in the theater and everyone who saw it spoke highly of the film. To sum up this movie, I think it's about time a black-centered movie such as this receives the kind of attention it has (won 2 Golden Globes) and that white directors are starting to see the necessity of depicting people of color in uplifting, empowering roles. Just as my opinion of women in film, just because film-makers are doing historical pieces, doesn't mean we need to keep rehashing the second-class citizenship of women now. So, to show a movie about slavery and to rewrite history.......I say, finally. We don't need to keep depicting the pain of black people, put them in empowering roles. Good! I'm glad Django killed Leonardo DiCaprio... well actually he didn't, but he killed alot of his we just have to work on getting more black actors Golden Globes...

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