People who have known me for quite some time know I am a huge fan of Spike Lee. Most of my favorite movies are Spike Lee joints. In my opinion Spike Lee does amazing work when it comes to filmmaking. He also does an amazing job at telling the story of African Americans from all different facets of life. So when I was watching an interview he did with Vibe earlier this week the interviewer asked Spike if he would speak on the new Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained his response resonated with me.
He said: “I can’t speak on it …I’m not gonna see it. I’m not seeing it. All I’m gonna say is it would be disrespectful to my ancestors to see that movie. I can’t disrespect my ancestors. Now that’s me. I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody but myself.”
I respect Spike as a filmmaker. I appreciate his candor. He rarely ever holds his tongue. I understood his response. I understand the seriousness of recognizing our ancestors and honoring them. His response almost compelled me to take a similar position. However I was intrigued and wanted to see how Quentin Tarantino would approach this story of a slave getting revenge.
There will be NO SPOILERS in this review. If you are expecting some super political extra emotional movie about the African Holocaust/Slavery, this is definitely not the movie for you. Quentin stays true to form. He delivers the story of Django in the form of a spaghetti western. What’s most interesting about this film are the moments when the audience is left to decide if they should laugh or be offended. Leonardo De’Caprio and Samuel Jackson play their parts to perfection.
I appreciate the way Jamie Foxx approached the character. There is a sense of dignity that he manages to maintain in the midst of this film that makes it quite believable. I couldn’t stop looking at Kerry Washington without thinking about Olivia Pope…HA!.. Sorry…I wonder how she is gonna help Huck out of this latest jam…….ANYWAY…Overall it was a very good film but the depth of my experience was realized after the movie was over.
As I walk out of the theater there is this feeling of…”What did I just watch?” Another thing that I noticed was the eye contact I was getting from other black men as if they had felt the same way that I did. I could tell who just saw Django by the look they had on their faces.
The story of The African Holocaust/Slavery in America has NEVER truly been dealt with. I know why Spike Lee feels the way that he does. Ultimately this is a movie. The last person I would expect to tell the story of The African Holocaust/Slavery properly would be Quentin Tarantino. With that being said I look forward to Spike Lee providing us with something that will speak to the hearts of the world, evoke change and restore the sense of dignity we have lost in our community. It is up to us to tell our stories.
We were free before freedom was given to us.
Oh Yeah…I give “Django Unchained” 4 stars out of 5. 🙂
I want to know what you think? Did you see the movie? Are you going to see it? Leave a comment below.
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Just saw the movie today. I actually enjoyed it and I didn’t find it disrespectful at all. I thought Quentin Tarantino stayed true to his craft, while also telling a story about a specific era as honestly as he could.
I totally agree with that. I think Spike has good reason to take the position he has. Quentin can only do so much. I dont think he was taking the entire history of slavery on his shoulders.
Spike needs ta chill and stay consistent to his own craft,I just saw “Red Hook Summer” and it was more like Red Hot Garbage,comparable to an afternoon special from the early eighties,atrocious…Conversely,I haven’t seen “Django” as of yet,but I’m anticipating the screening…QT is a formula based producer much like GangStarr was w/how they formatted their discography…”if it ain’t broke”…He started w/the many variances of the mob lifestyles,went Asian w/ the same concept in the “Kill Bill ” series and then cinematically culturally “bi-polar”,w/”Inglorious Bastards”,(which btw, was a smug take on an Italian film from 1978, “The Inglourious Basterds”),what person of Ashkenazi heritage wouldn’t revel in watching Nazi’s brutalized period,let alone brutalized by a group of Jewish U.S. Soldiers. Fastforward 3 yrs., now what African-American can resist seeing “Django Unchained”? White America’s strange mix of curiosity, ignorance,and guilt concerning anything Black will lure them to the theatre in droves. Resulting in a confused awkwardness when the film hits those quirky chords of satirical truth concerning racism,not knowing whether it’s politically correct to laugh aloud or not. (so sad,so dry) Being children of immigrants they only truly ever believed in the commercial promise of America. To hell with the founding of the nation on free labor. “I never owned a slave” is on their tongues as quick as “nigga” is on Paul Mooney’s… I digress, but I know QT gets it,he’s dangerous in that he’s not afraid, as the child of an Italian immigrant’s son,to NA NANANAAA the status quo…bombarding Suburbia w/the very gun violence that has most recently plagued their communities,w/ a healthy dash of Chattel Slavery ta boot…Spike Lee insulted me,my senses,my ancestors and my time w/that juco film school caliber trash “Red Hook”…Tell him to get off of QT’s “D”! …doesn’t he know it’s silent…(pretentious prick),hahahahaaa
Lets be fair about Red Hook Summer…It wasnt Spikes best film…but take into consideration that it was filmed in one week with a small budget in Redhook …with unknown talent.
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The movie itself was good. However, the usage of the word “nigger” left me unsettled at times. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson all did very good in their individual protrayals. To me, the film was a blend of dark humor, action and drama. And I say drama due to the protrayals of slavery. Nat Turner by todays standards would be controversial figure. However, what he did was similar to Django with the only difference being Turner was an escaped slave who turned to carnage onto the slavemasters. I’m pretty sure many people left out of the theater feeling mixed feelings based on the blend of genres Tarantino invoked in this film.
Nigger was gonna be used in a movie portraying and Ex Slave as a bounty hunter. It was Dark Humor…even the phrase Dark Humor is racist…lol. Tarantino did an Awesome job. We still have to tell our own stories.
Great insight & perspective. I want to see this so I can judge for myself. I would rather make that decision & assessment afterwards on my own. Not Spike (with all due respect).
I cant wait to read what you think about it after you see it.
I have not yet seen the film, but I am going and as I’m a marketing director for a professional Black theatre here’s my take. Quentin Tarantino is an artist. He created a FICTIONAL story that is a period piece, so to unveil the conflict and justify the actions of Django, Quentin had to reflect the times. That is his only commitment to telling the slavery story. I truly understand Spike’s perspective and agree with you Precise, WE HAVE TO TELL OUR OWN STORIES. So, as long as you understand you are going to see a classic Quentin Tarantino film, you will enjoy or at least appreciate the art of the film and hopefully will be compelled to support authentic Black cinema, theatre, and the arts. (Look for Kathy Hughes’ indepth and frank interview with Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx on TV One)
There is reality and there is fantasy and when it comes to movies, people need to understand the difference between the two.
If you attend the movies looking for true history, you are in the wrong place so you might want to look up your documentary guide to see what filmmaker you might find that went on a fact finding quest to present his or her doc.
Afterwards, one could debate or argue whether the facts were true or false pertaining to the documentary or filmmakers position to convince us that the doc was based on facts.
As for DJango, its a movie, a fantasy, a character who just so happen to be African American much like Superfly, The Mack and other superficial characters.
This movie has no relevance with reality because we all know all to well based on the facts behind the history of America, Django is just that, a superficial character, heck even Samuel L. Jackson proving to be much wiser then master at times with sash mouthing and second guessing masters orders was a superficial character. Oh and let us not forget the so called hooded racist and that whole halarious fiasco.
The bottom line is this movie has nothing to do with our African American ancestry but more to do with another superficial character added to the ranks of hollywood characters. People seriously act like somewhere in the middle of this entertaining and make believe movie, there is some bases for serious racial debate,boycotts, protest or sit ins based on the N word, yeah the N word, the same word three and four years old say more then 100 times before 8 am on ones journey to work in the mist of urban America, the same N words comedians say 1000 times in their first act followed by their second third and fouth act, the same word friends and associates shake each others hand and grin with pleasant greetings on the basketball court or while at the party on any given night, the same word America claims to hate but has yet to outlaw or enfore the laws currently on the books for those who make the choice to use it.
Spike Lee has a point from a serious perspective but only if QT was trying to past this movie off as a doc, a based on a true story or an accurate account of African American history. He did nothing of the sort, in fact, this movie could clearly be rated with scary movie 1 and or 2 as satire, and who or what group of people has not experienced satire in America.
Q.T. made a movie, it was entertaining, action packed, funny and a whole lot more. It was like star wars, et and others. It was worth watching for that brief moment when it seem like a Django could be a historic figure or character in the minds and hearts of those seeking a heroe even if a make believe one, but that was only until exit time came when many of us walked toward the exit, knowing reality from fantasy without a doubt and that Django like many hollywood characters over the years is nothing more then a make believe character created to entertain us and if that is what QT left us feeling as we made way to our cars and back to our true reality. I would have to say with all honesty that as a filmmaker, I think QT did his job. Is’nt that what filmmakers do, entertain us with make beleieve, that is unless they produce fact finding documentaries or based on a true story movies at which time they always make the claim that the story is true. When filmmakers are trying to teach us or inform us of history as in the case of Spike Lee with Malcolm X and other movies based on facts, there is no question that African American history must be respected and the filmmaker must produce his project from a responsible perspective, but a QT movie. Please, are you kidding me? Are people really looking for this guy to teach them or inform them of history African American or otherwise. Oh God we are in trouble as African Americans.
There would have to be something seriously wrong with anyone who takes this man serious or his films serious with respect to history, especially after watching Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and all his gory, bloody messy stuff that appear more like someone who wrote these scripts after a long night with a heavy dose of meth or acid then any serious filmmaker Give me a break..
The real question when it comes to the movie Django is , is the movie reality or fantasy and do you know the difference? And may I remind you that it is your responsibilty in this highly intelligent society to know the answer to this compound question. Peace!!!!!!
I tend to be careful when labeling something fantasy when it comes to media. Whats so important to remember is that no matter how fictitious something may be it always has a way of penetrating our subconscious. The fact of the matter is that this is a Quentin Tarantino movie and there are some things that come with that. Overall I like the movie and I cant wait to see what Spike has to offer.
I totally agree, this was a great movie and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. However, the responsibility of how one receive this movie as fact or fantasy belong to the viewer or the audience as a whiole. I believe as I am sure Spike Lee or some of our other serious filmmakers would prove is that we must know our history and we must know the importance of our history without looking for hollywood to teach us our history. I personally believe that I could view this movie as entertainment, knowing that even though I enjoyed it, it did touch on some serious issues at times. However, I think the reason for this was due to QT lack of knowledge or respect for those characters the same as he lack knowledge about other groups with movies that regardless of how entertaining touch on some serious issues. You stated it best,”there are some things that come with QT movies and his crossing the line with people is one of them. Are we an acceptuion to this rule? I think not. I will leave you with this. Spike Lee, you, me, it does not matter. One thing is for sure. One must know ones history well enough to know the difference between fantasy and reality as well as when one feel offended or not. The fact that we must debate the issue based on the views and opinions of a hollywood filmmaker is more then enough for concern. I also can’t wait to see what Spike Lee has to offer. Meanwhile the fact remains, you could present your own history with respect for it or you could sit by and wait for someone else to present it and complain when they did not do the job you did not do even when you more then most had every opportunity to do. Don’t wait on hollywood to tell you who you are. You should already know. Peace!!!!
I also am conflicted with this movie. It’s painful that it was written by a man who wasn’t of African descent. Also it is interesting in America because it probably couldn’t be written by a man of African descent. Just based solely on the fact that he (Django)kills everyone. In fact the reaction of Minister Farrakhan was 1 of concern verses applause. Concerned that post Obama election has left a large amount of guns in the hands of white America and to aggravate them with the movie that shows the slave rising at this time in history is a concern. Thus my confusion- is this a trick to continue to separate the races or is it just a simple movie