Author Topic: DJANGO UNCHAINED  (Read 66044 times)

Offline sherelled

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #105 on: December 30, 2012, 10:26:08 am »
Quote
I was thrilled to see this movie retire the “strong black woman” myth.  Because truthfully, most of us are tired of the struggle…not to mention the eye-rolling we get when we ask for help…which then disheartens us and toughens so many into: “Well, f*ck you, then…I’ll just do it my damn self”  -- which then perpetuates the “evil, black bitch myth.”

I’m just sayin’…

You wanna tame the shrew?  Be her hero. Be a Django...or a Barack. She may not be used to it, so she might need some convincing...and it may take some time.

But like Django and Barack, a hero perseveres.

Trust me...for every black man who’s willing to saddle up, there’s a black woman eager to get up on that pony and ride with him.

Watching Django and Brunhilde ride off into the sunset together isn't an image of black relationships we get to see that often onscreen.

I'm looking forward to the sequals.
This is such a good point. Our women (African American) need to really understand that they can make any man a hero. They do not have want and savior another's hero. If we had "make my man a hero course in college" the curse would be broken and we would have many more Barracks, Django's, Reginald Hudlins. We the elders of this generation need to change that stereo type. "Strong black women"If we want to be strong we need to breath life into our boys/men. We have the power. In that final scene of the movie. Django pranced his horse in pride and rode out in front. Hilde' smiled with pride and blushed. Then she picked up her rifle and said without saying "I got your back you are my man" :-*

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #106 on: December 30, 2012, 07:08:34 pm »
...In the coming weeks, as the box office returns tally up for Django, I'm hopeful that other studios will take note and immediately start greenlighting more black-hero projects, Western-themed and otherwise.
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline sherelled

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #107 on: December 30, 2012, 07:35:25 pm »
Agreed! Hype :o we see that the consumer wants and will pay for a good black movie. ;D

Offline Catch22

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #108 on: December 30, 2012, 08:44:00 pm »
Agreed! Hype :o we see that the consumer wants and will pay for a good black movie. ;D


Yeah, as long as Tarantino is directing it.   :(

Offline sherelled

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #109 on: December 30, 2012, 09:49:35 pm »
Django is no comparison to Roots. Roots was that era's movie for "blecks" and no I did not misspell it....Django is the movie for 2012 and it brings out some points I think some may have missed. The movie started out in Texas which was interesting. History tells us that Texas was late in realizing the civil war was over by six months thus the Texas Born and Raised people of color celebrate Juneteenth. There were so many subtle interesting things in that movie.  I am shaking my head at the back and forth of pettiness of who said what (lee vs terantino or vise versa). At this point the egg can be washed off of Spikes because he as smart as he proclaims to be should have watched it. And criticized it from a directors stand point. As opposed to generalizations. I think one of my favorite scenes was the end. When Django met Hilde at the gate and pranced his horse like "yeah" it's done. He began to ride off and she rode behind him gun drawn like yeah you my ninja and this here riffle got your back. We are in this together. Loved it.  ;D


*footnote: I did not like Roots back then and do not find the comparison is just.

Offline Tanksleyd

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DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #110 on: December 31, 2012, 02:07:20 am »
The Sam Jackson scene where he 'hugs' the Leonardo character will live forever more in infamy...such a valuable lesson.

But....Seeing Reggie's name in the opening credits was a personal thrill.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #111 on: December 31, 2012, 04:27:45 am »
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:

  Django America
Uploaded by Roger Ebert on December 29, 2012 3:58 PM | No Comments | No TrackBacks

• Omer M. Mozaffar in Chicago



Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (2012) is a very good Tarantino movie. Save for "Pulp Fiction," I tend to appreciate and respect Tarantino movies more than I enjoy them. "Pulp Fiction," however, was so entertaining that I did not want it to end. Such were my feelings with "Django Unchained." As a mash of bloody pulp cinema with great aspirations, it is as entertaining as anything I have seen from Tarantino. For Tarantino diehards it is as Tarantino-esque as everything else from him.

This is the story of an 1858 partnership between a German dentist-turned-assassin Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), seeking the help of the enslaved Django (Jamie Foxx) to track down a trio of bandits hiding somewhere with whips and pistols among the plantations. Their journey soon shifts to a scheme to find and free Django's wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).


The acting in this movie is outstanding. Jamie Foxx invokes the silent stern stare of Eastwood's nameless gunslinger, mixed with the confidence of a 1970s cop (though, on a side note, it is the damsel in distress, Broomhilda, whose surname is "von Shaft"). And consider that we are speaking of Foxx, who despite early moments in his career getting criticized for his portrayals of African American characters, has since earned nearly every possible media award. We are watching a hero in multiple ways.







I knew this movie would win me over in the first few minutes, watching Foxx step out of his shackles, throwing off his blanket as a newly free man. He has the slow, deliberate gate of a determined hero, and the scars of whippings. It is as though Foxx has captured the raw muscle of that powerful first scene of Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" into one quick slow-motion gesture.



But, Schultz himself, dressed in thick beard, long hair, fitted suit, polished tongue, and clever strategy, captivates us with his choices, shifting roles from liberator for Django to mentor to partner to servant to redeemer. There is a developing narrative from film to film with his roles. In "Basterds," his Hans Landa was a bloodthirsty, merciless killer, a Nazi, eventually hooked. Here, still a killer, he has a German Enlightenment conscience and moral code that he redirects through rationalization. Meaning, he is a bounty hunter, though he is killing killers; who cares if they might have reformed themselves.



And such delicious villains. While Don Johnson (Big Daddy) is the smiling Plantation Owner enjoying the comforts of a Confederate lifestyle, DiCaprio's sharp-eyed Calvin Candie takes his power to its brutal, logical conclusion. Johnson has that organic Southern dignity that somehow justifies the inhumanity in his field. DiCaprio, on the other hand, commands his place of Privilege at the top of a eugenically modified food chain, with the support of his servant Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson, of especially powerful tone, but distracting makeup). Candie not only runs his "Candie-land" plantation; he invests in African-American men as combatants for an after dinner, parlor room version of a "mandingo" dog-fighting league. I do not know how many different types of disgust - visceral, moral, etc. - I felt, while also wondering how different those fights were from the many boxing matches I have watched.









And, as a Tarantino film, it loads us with all types of excessively bloody violence. Maybe it is parenting or piety, but I no longer have the iron stomach to digest violence. It may be that if I screened "Pulp Fiction" again, I would not be able to complete it. But, in that film and in this film, Tarantino's play with violence seems appropriately fitting in our recurring, yet incomplete and inconsistent and at times dishonest national conversations about guns in America.



We find every type of violence in this film. Sometimes it forces us to cringe; I had to squint to obscure some moments, or look away during others. Sometimes the violence forces us to laugh because it gets so excessive that it becomes cartoonish. Sometimes, however, as a tale of vengeance it invites us to celebrate.



There is a moment when a horse gets shot in the face, and the audience gasps, and I started laughing at the absurdity. That the horse got shot was troubling, but we were all so accustomed to movie murder that the other shots hitting the humans should offend us, but of course did not generate such a response.



Not all the violence involves guns, for we have killer dogs, wrestling bloodsports, rapes, and, most of all, this is a film about slavery. The deeper problem in our culture is not the guns, but the culture of violence. Tarantino is both a contributor to our bloodlust, as well as a commentator on it. We might say the same thing, or more, about the violence in "Basterds."



But, watching this film, starting right from that moment with the blanket, this film taught me something seemingly obvious about our culture. While we say, in praise or repudiation, that ours is at heart a capitalist society, that is not accurate.



Deeper than the philosophy of business is that ethos of altruistic self-determination. Meaning, the people we respect in our culture are not so much winners or the wealthy, for we would then celebrate the Plantation Owners. We recognize their innate desire to be masters of their domains. But, we celebrate people (usually men) who seem to live the lives they choose to live, on their own terms, while in that process, they benefit others (sometimes at the cost of their own lives).



So, either you are selfish or selfless, and either you are a master, or you are a servant. It follows, then, that many of this film's comic moments involve men who have handed over their own self-determination. Ready to launch a raid, our plantation owners and dwellers struggle with their masks, blaming wives for poor craftsmanship. Much later, Samuel L. Jackson is Malcolm X's House Negro, at times earning cackles from the audience. Watching this film, I began to think about how many South Asian celebrities suddenly came to mind, who are so wealthy yet seem to choose to be chained.



Thus, that culture of mastery also gives us a hint about the roots of our problems of violence. This film loads itself with altruistic violence, if there can be such a thing. But in this film, we watch the clash between those who exercise their masculine mastery over others, against those who exercise their masculine mastery to serve others. Through this film's lens, then, a source of violence in our culture is an innate need to dominate or to refuse domination.



And that appreciation for self-determination also speaks to Tarantino and auteurism. Part of the appeal of Tarantino is that he seems to make his movies his way. His films mimic the movies we often ignore, featuring actors we've discarded, yet we call his films masterpieces. And, how rare is it that we see a movie, aside from documentaries, about American slavery? How bold is it that Tarantino chooses to speak to it!







It is not easy to assess Tarantino movies, except against each other. He is one of those auteurs using his own techniques to make movies that primarily attract his own following. How many American filmmakers are there on this very short list? Perhaps John Waters, Kevin Smith and Spike Lee, though none of these directors is very active today (at least as feature filmmakers). It is far easier to objectively assess something from Scorsese, Spielberg, or the Coens than it is to assess these auteurs.



But, there are those universals. This film is vastly entertaining. It had me continually asking what would happen next. You can rarely predict what will happen in this film, and you most certainly will want to know. And, that Tarantino dialogue remains so vibrant. In Spielberg's "Lincoln," our characters seemed to jump into soliloquies in every setting. It also happens here, though we do not notice it.



You may have noticed, also, that thus far I've avoided the more common questions explored in essays about this film, those related to slavery and race. "Django Unchained" is so captivating that it will generate a profit, and I hope that it will inspire more films about slavery, race, and their legacies. Otherwise, the conversation will end as soon as we shift to the next big movie. I know racism and bigotry all too well, but as a South Asian, this is a conversation I am part of only secondarily. Similarly, a major reason I have mostly avoided the conversation is that my colleague and dear friend Steven Boone has already written something better than I could have.



But, a lesser reason is that the conversation is selective. As is their wont, many bleeding liberals will jump in celebration of this film's social commentary, perhaps not noticing that while this movie has the prominent House Negro character, "Inglorious Basterds" does not have such a vivid, parallel character (nor would we want to see one). Of course, that is not nearly as absurd as the Tea Party Nation posting arguing that the Holocaust was worse than American Slavery, because the goal of the Holocaust was to kill, while the goal of Slavery was to keep slaves healthy and working. I hope that I do not need to express all the levels of bizarre offensiveness of these points.



Or, consider, that if we take the film's narrative to its fulfillment, then Django would now be the Wanted murderer, followed by another set of bounty hunters, and would, potentially, not be free. Of course, that would be the natural plot for a sequel. Or, we might notice the expected Liberal silence over the complete lack of any major sympathetic White American characters; the closest would be the German immigrant. Still, almost all the African American and White characters are a backdrop anyways. Or, moving the conversation on bigotry beyond "Django," we might notice the silence about the bigotry in Ben Affleck's "Argo." But, these are not complaints about the film as much as they are complaints about holes in the conversations.



More than that, however, these would be matters of bigotry, not racism. Thankfully, the film does thoroughly understand something that "Lincoln" did not explore, that the difference between racism and bigotry is that racism involves power and mastery, that the violence of slavery and racism is not only the physical subjugation, and not only the psychological dehumanization, but also the privilege exercised in the process.



So, despite how much I am praising this film's entertainment, and its complex exploration of slavery, race and privilege, I must say that I frowned, clenched my teeth, or held my breath every single time I heard the n-word, and every time I heard any of the enslaved use the word "Sir."




Offline sherelled

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #112 on: December 31, 2012, 07:22:49 am »
Quote
So, despite how much I am praising this film's entertainment, and its complex exploration of slavery, race and privilege, I must say that I frowned, clenched my teeth, or held my breath every single time I heard the n-word, and every time I heard any of the enslaved use the word "Sir."
I do the same when I listen (forcefully) to the latest Little Wayne recordings. I think he skips sir, may  have replaced it with ho or the b-word. And I am making light of the N word being used here. How ever I am a realist and the word is used every single day today. In board rooms,  on buses, restaurants. And I cringe every time I hear it too.  As a matter of fact I was called one just recently. So I understand. It is not one of our cultures niceties.

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #113 on: December 31, 2012, 09:23:53 am »
Let me get this straight. A movie that deals with slavery and for some reason "nigger" is being used "too much"? Seriously? I havent looked at the film yet but I am for real?
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #114 on: December 31, 2012, 03:19:54 pm »
huffington post:


Rodney Barnes.Award-winning writer and producer
Lincoln, Meet Django: Slavery's Latest Films Are Controversial, But Not Why You Think
Posted: 12/31/2012 1:05 pm

This December the Civil War Era got the Hollywood treatment as two tinseltown heavyweights (Stephen Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino) presented their drastically different takes on a period of American history very few like to visit.

Well, at least not in a critical way.

As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2009, Americans are "cowards" when it comes to race. This includes in films about slavery and the Civil War it spawned.

From fantasies meant to justify fears and glorify terrorists like Birth of A Nation, to sob-inducing, torturous "We lost the battle, but won... in spirit or something... in the end" flicks like Glory and Amistad, Americans -- and by Americans, I mean a lot of white people -- tend to like their racial dramas in two ways. One is the classic mold of "White hero saves damned, downtrodden dark people from other white people who are racist jerks," a la Cry Freedom or Mississippi Burning. The other is the almost always Oscar-worthy "Black people turn other cheek while foot is placed in ass over and over, but never raise a fist in retaliation because they're good, magical Negroes meant to cure us of our erectile dysfunction and high golf handicap."

The latter is still incredibly popular.

Surprisingly though, and possibly a sign of progress, Spielberg's Lincoln and Tarantino's Django Unchained are neither of those things, while still being somewhat related to those types of films.

Although, not always in the way you'd expect.

Spielberg's work regarding one of our most mythologized and celebrated presidents is technically fantastic, passionately acted and executed. It's so perfect it is almost a parody of a Hollywood Oscar-bait -- the method-obsessed Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, a screenplay by award-winning Angels in America scribe Tony Kushner, brought to you by the man who made both Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan.

It's the definition of a prestige picture.

There's just one problem...

Due to a glaring oversight, at moments, it falls into the "white savior" category of films.

Not because it's inaccurate, to say. It's more of a sin of omission. Former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, debated, befriended and challenged Abraham Lincoln to make the choices he made. At times Lincoln was reticent to "free" the slaves, wasn't sure about "equality" in the traditional sense of the word and Douglass was there in varying capacities to and for Lincoln, as such to ignore his existence in my opinion is reprehensible.

But Douglass was a no-show in Lincoln, despite his looming importance in Lincoln's presidency. This leaves the impression to those less informed about the Civil War period that it was Lincoln and Lincoln alone who "freed the slaves." This ignores that blacks and whites worked together to right a wrong, an example to us all of what can be accomplished when two cultures work together.

And this wouldn't be a "big deal" if it weren't for that fact this is the reductionist vision most Americans have of Lincoln already thanks to the most basic of compulsory public school educations.

At least the film got the aspect of "white people dragged kicking and screaming to the right side of history" right.

Getting history "right" was less of a concern for the purposely cartoonish Django Unchained -- Quentin Tarantino's controversial, slavery-era Spaghetti Western.

In a recent interview with VIBE Magazine, director Spike Lee said he wouldn't watch Django because it "would be disrespectful to his (our) ancestors." And even I, before seeing the film, wanted to agree with Lee. As I prepared to cut through Django with all the militant muster I could generate, a strange thing happened in the theater...

I loved the movie...

I really, really loved the movie.

Django is a ripe display of the pulpiest of fictions and uses 1858's slavery-riddled American South as the backdrop for a violent and oft unsettlingly hilarious revenge flick.

There is no movie about slavery quite like it.

It's a film that perverts a perversion by turning it into a cruel farce of those who thought there was nobility in owning (and treating) a man as if he were a horse.

While it recalls 1970s exploitation flicks Mandingo and Addio Zio Tom, it only references their most comically absurd and unsettling parts. And rather than become slavery-based torture porn, in Django every white person who is a slaver gets their comeuppance -- "Antebellum Die Hard" style -- with Jamie Foxx as Slave John McClane.

For example, there's a scene in the miniseries Roots where Chicken George has a chance to whip a white man, but takes the high road.

In Django, Jamie Foxx -- former slave turned John Shaft -- beats his ass.

The cinematic equivalent of a Rick Ross album title -- God Forgives, "Django" doesn't.

The film is a well-acted, directed and a cinematic and aural feast, yet Tarantino's Django remains hotly debated among black intellectuals. And when it comes to why this is such a lightning rod, I have a theory.

Black people have a complicated and frustrating with popular cinema as stereotypes -- the hallmark of lazy storytelling -- are easy to market and produce. But we, as African Americans, are also guilty of drafting our own inflexible standards and mythology, choking out individualism and creative freedom in the name of "progress."

Film is an art form. It is a form of expression. And it is a business. And I want my films about my culture to be honest. Not positive or negative, just honest. There are those who feel all slavery-era films should be of the same tone where a gospel choir plays in the background as the noble slave is whipped and defiantly refuses to cry... a story where the prospect of revenge would never enter his mind because he is chiseled and formed from the spirit of Mother Africa.

Well, that's boring.

And doesn't really reflect the much more complicated story of black slaves -- from Harriet Tubman to Nat Turner to the anonymous slave just trying to make it another day in hell.

All these stories deserve telling. And they deserve to be told in many different ways. And there's nothing wrong with one of those stories being about the slave who got angry, as there were most assuredly slaves who got angry.

That's Django.

And in some ways it's more honest than the raft of African American films that shine a light so brightly on our heroes it canonizes them to the degree that they are no longer real.

If Lee has any real challenge with the film it should be about how, due to virtue of Tarantino's whiteness (plus his marquee reputation), it was easier for him to get the film he wanted made while Lee has had to fight for everything from Do the Right Thing to Red Hook Summer.

Prestige in the form of Malcolm X and the commercial success of Inside Man, hasn't made it any easier for the auteur and that's well worth getting upset over.

But Django is not

Offline sherelled

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #115 on: January 01, 2013, 01:36:21 am »
Quote
And even I, before seeing the film, wanted to agree with Lee. As I prepared to cut through Django with all the militant muster I could generate, a strange thing happened in the theater...

I loved the movie...

I really, really loved the movie.

I love this response. Excellent  :D

Offline Magic Wand

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #116 on: January 01, 2013, 05:51:27 am »
So much venom and vitriol being spewed about the net over this polarizing film.
Question to the producer:  Did y'all anticipate such controversy?

My favorite line so far, from one of ATL's self-proclaimed conscious/intellectuals,
  "Now, if Madea were hanged in Django, maybe I'd go see it".
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Доверяй, но проверяй

Offline Magic Wand

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #117 on: January 01, 2013, 05:56:31 am »
This bears repeating:


You wanna tame the shrew?  Be her hero!
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Доверяй, но проверяй

Offline Magic Wand

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #118 on: January 01, 2013, 06:04:33 am »
and



For every Black man who’s willing to saddle up, there’s a Black woman eager to get up on that pony and ride with him.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 06:06:39 am by Magic Wand »
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Доверяй, но проверяй

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: DJANGO UNCHAINED
« Reply #119 on: January 01, 2013, 06:48:48 am »
Thembisa S. Mshaka:

The Cold Part About Django Unchained *Spoilers*
 

I saw Quentin Tarantino’s new one last night. More like experienced it. I purposely blocked out any reviews so I could watch it with as little chatter in the background as possible. Tarantino makes controversial films. He draws equal praise and ire–just depends on who you ask. Hate him or love him, he’s a bold visionary. I am not one for gore or bloodbaths but when it comes to much of Tarantino’s work, I just can’t look away. See: Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, and Inglorious Basterds.

 

So when I learned Tarantino was bringing his pen and eye to a film with a freed slave on a mission of vengeance to rescue his wife from a plantation, I was immediately checking for it. I had no idea what to expect, and was willing to put my squeamishness aside yet again. Then more details unfolded. Jamie Foxx was cast as Django. Check. Supported by Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz. Triple check. Then I saw that “The D Is Silent” trailer using James Brown’s “The Big Payback”. Check. It wasn’t until the cast appeared on BET’s 106 & Park the week of release that I learned longtime Tarantino collaborator Samuel L. Jackson was in the film–as a villainous house slave. Check (now that I had to see). I also found out that Reginald Hudlin (The Boondocks, Black Panther) a producer whose choices and voice I deeply respect was on board. Chiggy check.  It should also be noted that two women producers, Stacey Sher and Pilar Savone join Hudlin on this epic mission. There is also one woman executive producer, Shannon McIntosh. Always a big deal for this blogger when women run the show. CHECK!

Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired love story that takes place during American slavery. It is not about slavery, but slavery is depicted in all its twisted depravity, its horrifying brutality, and its utter insanity–all gnarled like the tree shaped scars on lashed backs throughout the film. Being the period piece that it is, Tarantino gets to let the n-word fly. Being the Tarantino piece that it is, so does the blood. Only this time, the slavers, overseers and profiteers all die at Django’s hand–a hand guided not by brute strength but with intelligence; driven by undying love.

But here’s the cold part about Django Unchained:

No Black director has yet to helm a major motion picture where slaves rebel–and live to tell about it with their soulmate as they ride off into the moonlight. Would this film have gotten the greenlight, the budget, or the marketing support it enjoys with a black director? Hellz no. Even with Tarantino writing and Hudlin producing, I still doubt it. Django Unchained brings into sharp relief just how unenlightened Hollywood continues to be. Now, this is neither Tarantino’s fault nor his problem. His job is to bring his vision to life, which he did to stunning effect here. I’m grateful he did. It opens a new generation of eyes to slavery in a fresh, albeit painful context. And in the absence of a national conversation about the 4-century long slave trade, the Middle Passage (what many call the African holocaust), the genocidal treatment of people of African descent under slavery for profit, and the heroic, at times equally violent efforts of those people to liberate themselves, this film is a damn good conversation piece. Had that conversation been undertaken, slavery in cinema may not be so loaded a subject that we can’t even watch a film in its totality without sweating the obvious. Yes, the n-word is splattered throughout. Yes, it’s hard to hear repeatedly from the mouths of white people. But it was typical of the period.

The flap over this being a “nigger”-filled Tarantino movie that mocks the peculiar institution is getting in the way of substantive critique and discussion. Yes, the film has comedic moments. But real talk, they are necessary–and kept me from crying as human flesh, Black flesh, was whipped, branded, hammered, hog-tied, torn apart by dogs. There is nothing funny about what the enslaved endured–but in my view, they are not the butt of a joke in Django Unchained. In fact, the lynch mob that was ostensibly the ramp-up to the Ku Klux Klan and the bumbling overseers were the ones portrayed as the ignorant criminals they truly were, despite the laws of the day being on their side. Waltz’s character Dr. King Schultz even uncovers Calvin Candie as the ultimate poser using The Three Musketeers. The punchlines aren’t there to coddle white moviegoers. Much of the laughter I heard from them was of the nervous variety. I’m sure they are used to feeling comfortable at the movies since their hero images pervade overwhelmingly. Oh well. Shoe’s on the other foot here. So go ahead, cheer along with the people of color when Django exacts his revenge.

Another cold part about this movie is The Hot Box (just wait). Tarantino literally strips Broomhilda, the character deftly played by Kerry Washington of everything but her dignity and virtue. That’s more than most of American media can say when it comes to portrayals of Black women, from directors both Black and white. She is even acknowledged for being smart because she’s bilingual, a rare quality in slaves, given their mother tongues are cut upon arrival.  I appreciated that for all the harrowing images of Broomhilda being tortured and humiliated, we also saw her radiant, in love, laughing, unspoiled–through her husband’s eyes. Schultz even has a chance to bed her, which would have been customary at this point in history–and doesn’t. Tarantino is putting many an image of Black relationships to shame with this film. The cold part about that? It takes having slavery as the context to get two award-winning, bankable Black lead actors starring as husband and wife in a big budget action film. In 2012. But I digress.

Other cold things about this film:

The complete and total bad-ass that is Jamie Foxx in this role. He lights up the screen with the keen brilliance of the trickster from start to finish. And yet, he gives us glimpses of compassion and vulnerability that are rarely available to Black male characters, who must usually be all funny, all womanizing player, all menace–or some nauseating mix of the three.

The unexpected and wondeful music choices, from the updated Django theme song to original music written by Foxx and performed by Rick Ross and an original song from John Legend. Tarantino is a music head with a great ear and this new approach of using original music along with existing material does not disappoint.

The sweeping panoramas, from the mountains of Yellowstone National Park to the arching trees on the plantation set in Mississippi but shot near New Orleans. Really great to watch Tarantino’s eye work with such scale; with the exception of Basterds and Kill Bill I & II, the film I’ve seen of his are usually focused on close, urbane quarters.

Leonard DiCaprio as Calvin Candie. It could not have been easy to drop into this character, even for one as seasoned as Leo. His big monologue (you’ll know it when you get there) is so raw, so full of molten rage, the hairs on your neck will stand up. So much for the Southern Gentleman. And that’s his own real blood on his hands from an unplanned lasceration during the take Tarantino kept in. WOW.

Thank you Mr. Tarantino for having the courage to make this film and take the heat. Thank you, Mr. Hudlin for lending your perspective and producing chops to this film. And thank you, Django–for giving the Hollywood slave his long overdue and much-needed revolutionary makeover.