More on Django

From Jeffrey Wright’s superlative interview on Sway in the Morning where he gives his take on Django. It gave me another reason not to  see the film.

Wright analyzes the film’s power dynamics with trenchant flair:

“Why does the film need a German character at its center?”

“Why is the central battle not between Django and the plantation owner, but between Django and the Uncle Tom figure?

“Why are the black characters except for Samuel L. Jackson’s two dimensional in conception and, therefore, in performance?”

It’s the exact same issue I have with Scandal and Deception. Even with sorely needed black female leads at the center of these projects  —

Pause, commercial interruption.

It is outrageous that there hasn’t been a black female lead on a network show since the 1970s!

Diahann Carroll as Julia

D*mn …

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

— their and our ultimate concern is for the President or for the dead young white woman. I.e., someone other than themselves.

Many viewers have celebrated Django’s concern for his wife, but as far as I can tell, she remains a beautiful cipher.  Nothing Like a Man or even Love Jones were probably more daring and true to life about black love than this film.

The struggle for and over black images continues.

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About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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5 Responses to More on Django

  1. I have debated since learning of the film, whether to go or not.
    I decided I would go, for i do not like making judgements without experience. Today, I seem to have lost any interest in seeing the film. I have no interest in hyped violence and vulgarity. Obviously, I see almost no movies in recent times–after having bee a film loyalist when I was young. I like a good story, as well as any, but , as of today, Nope.

    • liftingasweclimb says:

      Thanks for writing, Gwendoline. I read the script and decided to leave it at that. My objections to Tarantino’s work go well beyond this most recent venture. I heart Denby on this:L http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/01/django-unchained-reviewed-tarantinos-crap-masterpiece.html

      And really agree about the violence and vulgarity. Gratuitious, lazy, uninteresting as well as offensive.

      Best,

      • I forgot to mention my feelings about the phrase “crap masterpiece.” Parsing that is a trip, noun or adjective, “crap,” simply is. I’ll reserve “masterpiece” to a higher elevation. One critic of the article suggested that unless a critic is able to produce “superior” material there should be no criticism. There’s that old “freedom of speech” principle. If you pay your money, you have the “right” to respond to the affects. I am reminded of a student in my “Social Problems” sociology class who wrote on my evaluation that he didn’t like the course, “It was nothing but problems.” Well? Also, my having them study the research on social problems did not mean I knew the answers. (They didn’t like the possible solutions, “too liberal” for them. I suggested that was why they were in the class–to discover the answers. One can only r teach if someone is willing to learn. Tarantino? ???

      • liftingasweclimb says:

        Lots of smart stuff here Gwendoline. I didn’t realize that you teach as well. It certainly provides a different perspective on the zeitgeist.

        And I’m tired of defending the role of criticism. The debates make its purpose and necessity clear as far as I can tell.

  2. Thanks, liftingasweclimb. I accepted the role of being willing to “think.” That’s all. I no longer teach, formally. I try to do that entertainingly in my writing. I do have occasional “gigs,” as tomorrow to a local women’s group. I hope the ladies are also pleasantly entertained. You know, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down;” the medicine being the unvarnished facts of the story.

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