Sunday, 3 April 2016

Django Unmatched

Django Unchained is one of the best movies ever made.

It doesn't seem so at first. While you're watching it it just seems like a gleefully violent Spaghetti Western Southern crossed with homages to the Blaxploitation films of the 70's. Fun, but hardly a D&M.

Its true impact doesn't become clear until later, when you sit down to watch sentimental tripe like Cold Mountain and realise it's now utterly unwatchable – as it should've been all along. It's tough to give a shit whether Inman comes home to his girl when you know he's been whipping Lil' Jody for breakin' eggs. Likewise, you don't care how fond Scarlett is of Mammy, you just wonder how many days she's spent in the hot box. And you don't weep for a single life lost in Pickett's Charge when you know it's a whole army of Brittles commanded by Candies. This is the gift of exploitation cinema.
Could somebody who so ardently admires and emulates the exploitation movies of ages past really make a film on this subject that would do justice to the gravity of the material? Actually, watching Django Unchained has convinced me that to ask such a question is to frame the issue exactly backwards. Particularly when compared to "serious" movies about American slavery, Django Unchained demonstrates that there are some things so baroquely horrible that only an exploitation treatment can do them justice. Unless an artist is willing to get their hands dirty; unless they’re prepared to call a monster a monster; unless they feel no qualms about slapping the audience upside the head with atrocities, and rubbing their faces in rank, steaming piles of cruelty — unless, that is, they have the courage not to give a single shit about decency or good taste — then they haven’t a chance of coming to honest grips with something as grotesque as slavery the way it was practiced in the Americas. There is no way to face directly the ingenuity of evil that slavery fostered without being lurid and offensive, because the reality itself was lurid and offensive. To a disgraceful extent, people in this country are still in denial about slavery nearly 150 years after its abolition; we need commercial art about the Antebellum South that is full of rape and flagellation and castration and people being branded in the face. That’s what slavery was, and it’s high time we as a society looked that history in the eye. Amistad, Glory, and Roots aren’t going to get us there, whatever their merits otherwise; only something like Django Unchained can do the job. – Scott "El Santo" Ashlin, 1,000 Misspent Hours and Counting
Given that, and given Australia's own deeply shameful and ongoing history of race relations, there's only one question left to ask:

How do we get George Miller to remake Rabbit Proof Fence?

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