Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pulp Fiction analysis - part 19: Tarantino on Kubrick and violence in films


The theatrical release poster from Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (at left),[a] is reminiscent of Mia Wallace sucking on a cherry as she sits across from Vincent Vega in Jack Rabbit Slim's (above). The protagonist in Kubrick's movie, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 14-year old girl named Dolores Haze for whom his private nickname is Lolita.

Upon Mia and Vincent's return to the Wallaces' residence, Mia begins to dance to the song Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon. One thing that is being suggested by the way Mia is portrayed in Pulp Fiction, is that she is immature or incompletely developed in some way.

Lately we have been discussing connections between Pulp Fiction and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are known connections between other films created by Tarantino and Kubrick. For example, Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs corresponds somewhat to Kubrick's The Killing. Tarantino himself has commented on this, saying, "I didn't go out of my way to do a rip-off of 'The Killing,' but I did think of it as my 'Killing,' my take on that kind of heist movie."[b]

The seemingly senseless violence in some of Tarantino's films, such as that in Reservoir Dogs (above), are a 'homage' to the violence in The Killing, and to that in some of Kubrick's other films as well, such as A Clockwork Orange (left). This comprises part of Quentin Tarantino's way of saying that Kubrick's message was, that we as a society have become insensitive to violence in films, and to real-life violence as well. In fact, Tarantino himself is sending us this same message with his own films.

a. Image from the Wikipedia 'Lolita (1962 film)' page, LolitaPoster, licensed under fair use via Wikipedia. Source: Scope Advertising, e.g. Herman Zuckerman (design) and Frederick L. Hyman (copy). The photograph of Sue Lyon used in the poster was not in the movie but was taken randomly on the set as she was waiting for her next shot. Zuckerman and Hyman found the picture in a batch of publicity shots.
b. Hartl, John (October 29, 1992). "'Dogs' Gets Walkouts And Raves." The Seattle Times. Web. URL = http://web.archive.org/web/20090126084703/http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19921029&slug=1521437.


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