Saturday 12 October 2019

Quentin Tarantino: American Fascist

"You can probably better appreciate Once upon a time in Hollywood if you know the real history of the Tate-La Bianca Murders".
That's one comment from an intelligent, educated person I know - who is however barely thirty years old.

Risultati immagini per once upon a time in hollywood

He's probably quite justified not seeing the one obvious cultural reference in the movie, or more precisely, its supposed central focus - the end of the 'innocence' of the sixties. 'Innocence' for lack of a better word. Maybe silliness, of simply the end of the early youth of many of the baby boomers involved. The lines of James Ellroy about americans losing their virginity on the ships crossing the Atlantic, forewording 'American Tabloid' come to mind. The sixties, a great time? Golden era Hollywood, something to really remember with fondness. Once upon.. has been repeatedly called a 'deeply nostalgic' movie. From a gen-x-er like Quentin Tarantino, who was probably in first or second grade when the real murders happened?. Maybe. But maybe there's more.
One of the first scenes is the clip from the fictional '14 fists of McCluskey' with DiCaprio burning a few Wehrmacht (i.e. nazi, even if that's not technically always correct) officers with a flamethrower.
Yes, a nod to QT's own 'Inglorious Basterds', but, think about it.. It's just at the beginning of the movie.. Couldn'it be that it's there to also say, to also state and confirm that the two protagonists, not to mention QT, are positively, definiteley and absolutely not Nazis, and very, very, very anti-Nazi?
Because, you know, the point of the movie is supposedely to show how great and cool were those movies wih masculine leads, always white, always in control, always completely and assuredly heterosexual. Yes, classic Hollywood leads like there were until the 'Easy Rider' era, but also - in a word - white aryan poster boys.
Look at DiCaprio (who has german ancestry), look at Brad Pitt. Blonde, white men.
Look at the main female lead. A very beautiful austrial blonde, playing a woman who in his time not only was in a class in itself, basically the nordic goddess class, many levels above Margot Robbie, who is handsome, sometimes extremely handsome, but not like this:

Risultati immagini per sharon tate 

A good quote from the movies is 'Don't cry in front of the the Mexicans' uttered by Brad Pitt's character at DiCaprio expense. Yes, comedic, yes, it sets the period. But isnt'it nostalgia for old WASP America?
Wait a minute.. Do you remember many people of color in OUATIH ? How many speaking parts can you count?
Actually, there is Ione asian character who has a relatively important part. It's the fictional Bruce Lee: an historical figure depicted in less than flattering tones, indeed, like a sort of pompous weakling. Easily beaten up the nordic, white blonde and invincible Brad Pitt.
Jews? Jews? Yes, you got two of them. First you have Mr. Schwar, played by (ah, that old trope about italians playing jews and vice-versa) none other than Al Pacino. An archetipal vulgar, scheming, merceneary askenazi, who could have taken from the pages of Der Stürmer. There's Roman Polanski: doesn't do much, but he IS played by an ethnic Pole: that is, a descendant of a nation of oppressors of the Jews.
There are no black charachters in the movie that I can rember. No LGBTQIXYZ charachters either.
Let's talk about the depiction of women: the only positive charachter of note, is the fictional Sharon Tate. Possibly, more intelligent and sensitive than the historical counterpart. The others are basically bimbos - for G-d's sake, there is a prolonged sceen in the Playboy Mansion - with Playboy Bunnies, or future breeders, like the maternal italian wife brought back by Rick Dalton. Women who dare to criticize their men are discreetly killed off-screen, I am of course referring to the boat scene with Rebecca Gayheart. Gayheart, mmpf!


The main twist in OUATIH is how history is reversed. Yes, in the end the ones to get brutally killed are the Mansonists. Or, in the eyes of DiCaprio's Dalton and his sideckick, just a bunch of hippies.
It's not really the crazy Manson and his acolytes to get the beating. It's the 60's counterculture to get whipped. It's the same counterculture which, half a century later, won hands down the cultura hegemony, in a Gramscian sense, at least west of the Oder-Neisse line. It's all those things that the counterculture represented to get burned to a crisp with a flamethrower, in the real world of the alternate Hollywood. The Nazis, in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are defeated only fictionally. In the real world, they survive, and thrive. 

Quentin Tarantino, American Fascist.