the memories of Quentin Tarantino, ‘Film Meditations’ (Reservoir Books), have arrived in Spain this Thursday, January 26, and among the filmmaker’s many anecdotes, some with recognizable names from Spanish celluloid are included, such as those of Pedro Almodóvar or Luis Buñuel.
For example, regarding the filmmaker from La Mancha, Tarantino puts Almodóvar as an example of freedom when shooting, focused on the beginning of his film ‘Matador’. In that first scene, which the director of ‘Reservoir dogs’ now considers “inconceivable” due to censorship, a character masturbates before a montage of bloody images from other ‘slasher’ movies.
“The recklessness shown by Pedro Almodóvar was an example. As I watched my heroes, the mavericks of 1970s American cinema, capitulate to a new way of working just to keep their jobs, Pedro’s temerity ridiculed the calculated concessions of all of them“, he has defended.
Tarantino in fact compares his “film dreams” with the way the filmmaker from La Mancha shoots, highlighting the connection between “the unpleasant and the sensual.” “Sitting in a Beverly Hills arthouse (…) I became convinced that there was a place for me and my violent reveries in the modern film library.“, Explain.
In addition, Tarantino reiterates the “courage” that Almodóvar showed in the face of censorship at the time. “I remember when I was working at my Manhattan Beach video store, Video Archives, I would talk to the other employees about the kind of movies I wanted to make and the things I wanted to do in those movies. And he gave as an example the opening scene of ‘Matador’, by Almodóvar“, he explains in the memoirs.
In this way, he continues his story, assuring that the other employees responded by telling him that they would never let him make such a type of film. “To which I replied: ‘Who the hell are these people to stop me? Those people can go to hell,’ “he asserts in the text that is now published in Spanish.
“I had grown up in the seventies, a time when anything went, and the eighties, on the other hand, were characterized by the need to play it safe, like that horrible decade of Hollywood cinema, the fifties. The eighties were even worse“, laments the creator of ‘Pulp Fiction’, reflecting on censorship.
BUÑUEL: A CATHOLIC PURGATORY ON EARTH
“In the fifties, it could be argued that it was a repressed society that imposed restrictions on Hollywood (…), but in the eighties the restrictions that Hollywood applied to its own product were self-imposed. There is no censorship more severe than self-censorship”laments the director.
There is also space on these pages for other relevant names in Spanish cinema, although Tarantino does not dedicate too many words to them. For example, the filmmaker Luis Buñuel appears on two occasions, always cited as a reference: on the one hand, as an influence for Polanski’s cinema and on the other as an example to talk about a novel that “seemed like a Catholic purgatory on Earth, a destiny like something out of Buñuel”.
GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL AND THE ATTACKS OF LAUGHTER
The other Spanish director named is Jess Franco, as one of Tarantino’s influences. In ‘Meditations on Cinema’ there are also memories for other important Latin American celluloid artists such as the actor Gael García Bernal, who told him an anecdote about the “laughter attacks”.
“At the world premiere of ‘Once upon a time…in Hollywood’ Gael García Bernal told me that this had happened to him and Diego Luna when Brad Pitt, in the restaurant’s parking lot, uttered the phrase: ‘Don’t cry in front of the Mexicans’. She said they laughed so hard, and for so long, that Gael’s girlfriend started getting mad at them.“, he concludes.