Archive for August 18, 2022

Cox’s Orange Pippins: A Fistful of Djangos

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2022 by dcairns

DJANGO & DJANGO is a documentary about Sergio Corbucci by Luca Rea. You can see it on Netflix.

It’s not bad. It chooses to examine only Corbucci’s westerns, which is wrong — at least giving the viewer more of an inkling that he made other kinds of films, some of them successful, would have been good. But it has a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and decent amount of archive interviews with SC. The clips from the westerns are well selected.

The three main talking heads are Franco Nero, who is affable but doesn’t have a huge amount to tell us, Ruggero Deodato, former AD to Corbucci, who is invaluable in giving us first hand accounts of the man’s character and strong insights into his films, and Quentin Tarantino, who gets the lion’s share of the screen time. The movie begins with Corbucci’s role as an offscreen character in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (and his expanded role in QT’s novelisation) and ends with his influence on DJANGO UNCHAINED. So it’s very much a film about Tarantino too.

QT is enthusiastic as ever — on his new podcast, The Video Archives, this enthusiasm reaches exuberant heights as he’s joined by old pal Roger Avary, and the fanboying becomes quite tolerable, even adorable, as it’s a way for these two eternal adolescents to express their affection for one another. Hearing Tarantino hold forth alone — with the “awright?” tic adding to the hectoring effect — can be wearing.

As autodidact, Tarantino’s tendency to mispronounce names and words should be forgiven, though there’s a CREW, somebody could tell him it’s not “Doosio” Tessari, or “Caliglia” — though stepping in the path of QT’s gush could be perilous. The weirdest one is “tenter tantrums” or possibly “tenner tantrums,” which is spoken so many times there can be little doubt that Tarantino really believes that’s the expression. He’s known to be a very bad speller — I think that’s the secret behind INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS’ title — possibly dyslexic, so having seen the phrase written down wouldn’t necessarily disabuse him of his misconception.

But we do get evidence of a critical mind. It’s not just sadism and fannish worship. While Alex Cox sees SONNY AND JED as horrible and problematic, symptomatic of Corbucci’s increasing misogyny, Tarantino performs a mental flip on it, recasting the protags as the bad guys — Charlie Manson and Squeaky Fromme — and Telly Savalas’ relentless, maimed hunter as another of Corbucci’s martyred heroes. That seems workable. Of course both interpretations are very much in character, with Cox being concerned about sexism and Tarantino welcoming in the darkness. So there are insights, if you can take it.