I saw yesterday Tarantino‘s Django Unchained. The film deals approximately with the same historical period as Spielberg‘s Lincoln, but what a difference!

Spielberg and Tarantino are without any doubt two of the most important American directors today. Both come from the let’s call it commercial cinema like let’s say both had remarkable blockbuster successes which translated into financial success enabling them to produce and direct everything they dream. Both use this success to explore with their personal craft tools, style and talent – various genres which they change and put their own imprint in. Both made films about the Second World War and about the Holocaust, and now about U.S. history, and the horrors and abolishing of slavery.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/

 

Concerning the movies about the Holocaust and the Second World War I think Spielberg and Tarantino are tied at the highest possible level. Schindler’s List was impressive and Saving Private Ryan is simply  the best war movie I’ve seen, while Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds rewrites with a Tarantinesque chutzpah and expressiveness  one of the final pages of the history of the Second World War.

Lincoln and Django produced me completely different reactions. Spielberg appears to wish to say by all means that ‘I can do serious films’ and the result is Lincoln – a rhetorical film, in which characters make speeches even when they are in bed with their wives, a film in which I miss the thrill of discovery and emotion and the fluency of the story telling I love in Spielberg. On the other hand Tarantino tackles that time in history in Django with his usual boldness and lack of complex, he uses violent action cinema and makes a deep reverence to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. The result is a sparkling film that is both  fun to watch and passes the message.

 

(video source The JoBlo Movie Network)

 

This is certainly a violent film, but maybe I should say something about Tarantino’s violence (on screen) the way I see it. The exaggeration and complete lack of realism in the violent choreography of Tarantino’s movies is his way of saying – do not take me too seriously. There is something more in this film however – the introduction creates the message of abhorrence towards slavery in a manner at least as efficient as Lincoln’s speeches in Spielberg’s movie.

There is a lot of good cinema in Django which makes the film enjoyable also for the passionate of quality cinema. Jamie Foxx‘s rendition of Django, the liberated slave who turns into a professional killer in order to save his wife is dark and compassionate at the same time.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are a fabulous pair of suprisingly bad guys, and Tarantino himself and Franco Nero show up in minor but memorable appearances. And the story telling … well … it’s good like in the good Spielberg movies.

Django is my preferred 2012 film about the period of abolition of slavery.