AFROPUNK

... the other Black experience

 

Okay: since apparently nobody elsse has, I'll post it up.

 

= What'd y'all think?

= Worse/better than expected?

= What do you think of Spike's/Katt'stance?

= Should white filmmakers be allowed or supported when dealing with such sensitive subject matter & vice versa?

= Is the media overexposing & overpraising this movie?

= What if a Black director had done this film? Could that even happen in today's Hollywood? What if Spike had shot this film, would it get the same support & unanimous accolades?

= Will this help expose more truths about slavery and Black history in the West?

 

The floor is yours, get dirty... 

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In addition to not being super impressed with QT's films, I really go to the movies to be entertained. I really have no interest in a fictional movie about slavery done by Tarantino. If I want to revisit slavery, I still haven't read all the books under Frederick Douglass' name on amazon. Seen some interesting articles which have only reinforced my opinion.Here's one...

http://gawker.com/5971346/the-django-moment-or-when-should-white-pe...

The Django Moment; or, When Should White People Laugh in Django Unchained?

Beware some SPOILERS in this piece.

To paraphrase Oprah, call it a "Django Moment." This is the moment when, while watching Quentin Tarantino's campy new slave-revenge movie, a person of color begins to feel uncomfortable with the way white people around them are laughing at the horrors onscreen. Though the film from which it stems has only been in wide release for less than 48 hours, if what I've heard in private conversations is correct, the Django Moment is already a fairly widespread phenomenon.

My personal Django Moment came when an Australian slaver, played by Tarantino himself, haphazardly threw a bag full of dynamite into a cage of captive blacks before mocking their very real fear that they might be exploded to nothingness. A white man behind me let out a quick trumpet blast of a guffaw, and then fell silent. My face got hot, and my nephew, who was sitting at my right, shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Throughout the film, I'd laughed along with everyone in the theater as a lynch mob of bumbling rednecks planned to slaughter the "fancypants nigger" Django, and when the villainous house slave Stephen, played pitch perfectly by Samuel L. Jackson, limped dumbly around his master's plantation, kowtowing to every absurd demand with an acerbic and foulmouthed loyalty. But for whatever reason, the dynamite in the slave cage was a bridge too far for me. What the fuck is he laughing at? I thought, and just like that, the theater went from a place of communal revelry to a battleground.

Just so we're clear, I really liked Django Unchained, and there's probably no other movie I'll discuss more with my friends—and friends of friends—over dinner in the coming months. I also don't think it's important for everyone in the world to have the same opinions about what is and isn't funny. God forbid, for instance, that Seth MacFarlane were forever allowed to be the one and only arbiter of comedy in the United States. Nevertheless, as Tarantino's latest continues making its bloody cultural ascent, it seems more important to recognize the difference in audience reactions to Django Unchained more so than, say, the difference in audience reactions to Love Actually.

Dave Chappelle once said that the impetus for him walking away from his hugely successful Comedy Central show was an incident in which he felt like a white employee was laughing maliciously at one of his more racially steeped sketches. "[S]omebody on the set [who] was white laughed in such a way—I know the difference of people laughing with me and people laughing at me—and it was the first time I had ever gotten a laugh that I was uncomfortable with," Chappelle told Oprah months after he'd quit the show. "Not just uncomfortable, but like, should I fire this person?"

Today, Django Unchained has me considering, like Chappelle did years ago, what exactly white people are taking away from a film in which a subject like slavery is treated with such whimsy and humor. Was my Django Moment just me being too touchy? And beyond that, did my tittering at some of Django's brutality or Samuel L. Jackson's pathetic moaning cause someone else, black or white, to feel awkward?

Relentless and over-the-top violence is a hallmark in most of Tarantino's work, but in Django Unchained, the gore seems different from the director's previous efforts. There is a wide gulf, for instance, between the ultra-bloody kung-fu fights from Kill Bill and the Django scene in which a pack of wild dogs tears apart a defenseless runaway slave. Also difficult to watch is Django's wife, Broomhilda, being whipped for attempting to escape her plantation, and then being branded on the face. Even Tarantino's other recent take on monstrous ethnic oppression, the WWII drama Inglorious Basterds, had but one scene—the tense opener—that rivaled the hideousness of Django's ugliest moments, made all the uglier because they actually happened.

Considering that some of the real-life, well-documented tortures inflicted upon nonfictional slaves were much worse than the ones shown in Django Unchained, it's almost impossible to not feel self-conscious when Tarantino asks you to rapidly fluctuate between laughing at the ridiculousness of Django's characters and falling silent with shame at the film's authentic historical traumas. It's in this disunity that the Django Moments arise. One moment you're laughing at Mr. Stonesipher's unintelligible bumpkin drawl; next you're wincing as Stonesipher's hounds shred a man limb from limb. (In my theater, one man in front of me scrambled out during this scene and only returned when it was over.) You smile as plantation owner Big Daddy attempts to figure out how to treat a free black man better than a slave but worse than a white person, but then you grimace while watching the vicious slave master Calvin Candie exalt phrenology, the bullshit pseudoscience many racists continue to cite as "proof" that blacks are biologically inferior to whites. And since Django runs close to three hours long, at a certain point you start to catch yourself laughing where you shouldn't or—worse, even—hearing others laughing at something you don't find funny at all. Eventually, you begin to wonder if you're being too sensitive, or if the movie and everyone else around you are insensitive. Then you start to consider whether any of that even matters.

The tradition of gleaning strength from self-deprecation and gallows humor is prevalent in oppressed cultures. Be it Jews or blacks or gays, there is comfort to be found in picking at your own failings and defeats before others get the chance. But Django Unchained inverts the tradition throughout the film: Tarantino is white, and there are few laughs to be had from seeing slaves tortured over and over again. Beyond that, black viewers are themselves offered times to provide their own Django Moments, such as when I cracked up after Django blasts Calvin Candie's feeble, widowed sister in the guts with a revolver, sending her flying out of the frame, or when, directly in earshot of my nephew's white high school classmate, I giggled at Django saying his dream job was to get paid to kill white people.

After watching Django slaughter every white person in sight, I felt strange as I exited the theater alongside the rest of the mostly white audience. I wanted to pick out the dude who had laughed at the dynamite in the slave cage, but I also hoped nobody had been too put-off by my delight at an unarmed white woman getting more or less executed. Still, the unease I felt walking out was probably my favorite part of Django Unchained: On the one hand, you're unsettled by the behavior of the characters in the film; on the other, you're also unsettled by how you and everyone else in the theater reacted to those characters. Were you laughing with the movie, or was the movie laughing at you?



Compound Egret said:

In addition to not being super impressed with QT's films, I really watch movies to be entertained. I really have no interest in a fictional movie about slavery done by Tarantino. If I want to revisit slavery, I still haven't read all the books under Frederick Douglass' name on amazon. Seen some interesting articles which have only reinforced my opinion.Here's one...

http://gawker.com/5971346/the-django-moment-or-when-should-white-pe...

The Django Moment; or, When Should White People Laugh in Django Unchained?

Beware some SPOILERS in this piece.

To paraphrase Oprah, call it a "Django Moment." This is the moment when, while watching Quentin Tarantino's campy new slave-revenge movie, a person of color begins to feel uncomfortable with the way white people around them are laughing at the horrors onscreen. Though the film from which it stems has only been in wide release for less than 48 hours, if what I've heard in private conversations is correct, the Django Moment is already a fairly widespread phenomenon.

My personal Django Moment came when an Australian slaver, played by Tarantino himself, haphazardly threw a bag full of dynamite into a cage of captive blacks before mocking their very real fear that they might be exploded to nothingness. A white man behind me let out a quick trumpet blast of a guffaw, and then fell silent. My face got hot, and my nephew, who was sitting at my right, shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Throughout the film, I'd laughed along with everyone in the theater as a lynch mob of bumbling rednecks planned to slaughter the "fancypants nigger" Django, and when the villainous house slave Stephen, played pitch perfectly by Samuel L. Jackson, limped dumbly around his master's plantation, kowtowing to every absurd demand with an acerbic and foulmouthed loyalty. But for whatever reason, the dynamite in the slave cage was a bridge too far for me. What the fuck is he laughing at? I thought, and just like that, the theater went from a place of communal revelry to a battleground.

Just so we're clear, I really liked Django Unchained, and there's probably no other movie I'll discuss more with my friends—and friends of friends—over dinner in the coming months. I also don't think it's important for everyone in the world to have the same opinions about what is and isn't funny. God forbid, for instance, that Seth MacFarlane were forever allowed to be the one and only arbiter of comedy in the United States. Nevertheless, as Tarantino's latest continues making its bloody cultural ascent, it seems more important to recognize the difference in audience reactions to Django Unchained more so than, say, the difference in audience reactions to Love Actually.

Dave Chappelle once said that the impetus for him walking away from his hugely successful Comedy Central show was an incident in which he felt like a white employee was laughing maliciously at one of his more racially steeped sketches. "[S]omebody on the set [who] was white laughed in such a way—I know the difference of people laughing with me and people laughing at me—and it was the first time I had ever gotten a laugh that I was uncomfortable with," Chappelle told Oprah months after he'd quit the show. "Not just uncomfortable, but like, should I fire this person?"

Today, Django Unchained has me considering, like Chappelle did years ago, what exactly white people are taking away from a film in which a subject like slavery is treated with such whimsy and humor. Was my Django Moment just me being too touchy? And beyond that, did my tittering at some of Django's brutality or Samuel L. Jackson's pathetic moaning cause someone else, black or white, to feel awkward?

Relentless and over-the-top violence is a hallmark in most of Tarantino's work, but in Django Unchained, the gore seems different from the director's previous efforts. There is a wide gulf, for instance, between the ultra-bloody kung-fu fights from Kill Bill and the Django scene in which a pack of wild dogs tears apart a defenseless runaway slave. Also difficult to watch is Django's wife, Broomhilda, being whipped for attempting to escape her plantation, and then being branded on the face. Even Tarantino's other recent take on monstrous ethnic oppression, the WWII drama Inglorious Basterds, had but one scene—the tense opener—that rivaled the hideousness of Django's ugliest moments, made all the uglier because they actually happened.

Considering that some of the real-life, well-documented tortures inflicted upon nonfictional slaves were much worse than the ones shown in Django Unchained, it's almost impossible to not feel self-conscious when Tarantino asks you to rapidly fluctuate between laughing at the ridiculousness of Django's characters and falling silent with shame at the film's authentic historical traumas. It's in this disunity that the Django Moments arise. One moment you're laughing at Mr. Stonesipher's unintelligible bumpkin drawl; next you're wincing as Stonesipher's hounds shred a man limb from limb. (In my theater, one man in front of me scrambled out during this scene and only returned when it was over.) You smile as plantation owner Big Daddy attempts to figure out how to treat a free black man better than a slave but worse than a white person, but then you grimace while watching the vicious slave master Calvin Candie exalt phrenology, the bullshit pseudoscience many racists continue to cite as "proof" that blacks are biologically inferior to whites. And since Django runs close to three hours long, at a certain point you start to catch yourself laughing where you shouldn't or—worse, even—hearing others laughing at something you don't find funny at all. Eventually, you begin to wonder if you're being too sensitive, or if the movie and everyone else around you are insensitive. Then you start to consider whether any of that even matters.

The tradition of gleaning strength from self-deprecation and gallows humor is prevalent in oppressed cultures. Be it Jews or blacks or gays, there is comfort to be found in picking at your own failings and defeats before others get the chance. But Django Unchained inverts the tradition throughout the film: Tarantino is white, and there are few laughs to be had from seeing slaves tortured over and over again. Beyond that, black viewers are themselves offered times to provide their own Django Moments, such as when I cracked up after Django blasts Calvin Candie's feeble, widowed sister in the guts with a revolver, sending her flying out of the frame, or when, directly in earshot of my nephew's white high school classmate, I giggled at Django saying his dream job was to get paid to kill white people.

After watching Django slaughter every white person in sight, I felt strange as I exited the theater alongside the rest of the mostly white audience. I wanted to pick out the dude who had laughed at the dynamite in the slave cage, but I also hoped nobody had been too put-off by my delight at an unarmed white woman getting more or less executed. Still, the unease I felt walking out was probably my favorite part of Django Unchained: On the one hand, you're unsettled by the behavior of the characters in the film; on the other, you're also unsettled by how you and everyone else in the theater reacted to those characters. Were you laughing with the movie, or was the movie laughing at you?

The writer has points. The main thing I'll say is (don't tell anyone) you have to give qt uh...credit for making a film that through the controversial subject & scenes, forces you to take a stand for or against him.  I paralell it to Spike Lee in his heyday: eachf ilm was a controversial event and you were either for or against him

I wasn't sure what I expected from that movie since I had really no idea what it was really going to be going in. As mentioned as the referenced article, I certainly did have some Django moments where things just were really uncomfortable and I couldn't really look too much at the screen for a moment, especially the hounds tearing a man apart as well as other moments that just were way in my face. However, I can't say that I didn't enjoy some parts of the movie. Still closer to the end, I got took out of it completely with the sheer amount of weird stuff that was going on when all the mass killing started. 

I have rather mixed feelings about it, probably not something I'd want to see again though.

Mari & CE, first of can I thank y'all for posting here.  Honestly as much hype & controversy that is going on in the blogosphere about his movie, I expected more of the highly opinionated & respected film afficianados of AP to jump on this quicker.  Maybe everybody's elsewhere; so much for my promotion & marketing skills, ha.  It's cool,  they're just being fashionably late...

 

I was caught in the early film nerd hype as opposed to Mari who was spared all the pre-release rumours & talk.  I came in completely biased and came out more entertained than I expected.

 

Personally it was fun playing "Name That Undervalued Character Actor From Way Back".  Don Stroud (Sheriff) from Murph the Surf, Tom Wopat (Marshal) from Dukes of Hazzard, Don Johnson (Big Daddy) from Maimi Vice, Dennis Christopher (Calvin's lawyer) from Fade To Black,  James Remar (1st slave holder with James Russo & Butch, Candy"s gunman (Uhh excuse puncutation mistakes, pc is trippin' ).  Wearing a bowler like Butch Cassidy? No coincidence

 

The young sister who played Django's guide on Big Daddy's plantation did her supporting part well, it could have been a real wack "yessah massa" role if she didn't bring an underlying interest & curiousity to the part.  Same with the sister hostess at the Cleopatra Club brothel with the poofy dress, she played it as someonewho doesn't love her situation but is happy not be in a worse spot  like the field slaves,  "comfort women"of  the house or the losing Mandingo fighters.  The conflicting levels of 3rd class servitude under slavery were subtly done.

 

There was also an undelying relationship of how the oppressing whites truly depended on the slaves for labor but also for our advisory skills.  Django as he learned more from Dr. King Schultz ("Dr King" was no accidental name) but later taught Schultz how to "play dirty" and fool Candie.  How Stephen, the house slave played brilliantly by Sameul L. Jackson, was really the smarts behind the throne; played ignorant bootlicker to the public but was much more aware of what was happening than he showed.  References to Alexandre Dumas ,D''artangan & the 3 Musketeers which was heavy.  This all goes into the true hidden history of the "Moor advisor" who stayed close to European royalty after their fall from power after conquering most of Europe but that's a whole different convo... 

 

I'm the opposite of a QT groupie.  In fact at a time back during the Pulp Fiction hype I wanted to get at homie and give him a physical "lesson" because of the disrespect he showed in his filmsto t Black characters (percieved or real by me).  But whether because of his artistic overindulgence and diadactic trivia processing, his flicks are for from boring.  some betbter than others, as much I hate to I give him props here on this one. 

I can definitely see how finding all the actors would be entertaining, I certainly did not expect Don Johnson to show up in the film for sure. And the moments that you point out were pretty interesting takes on how different levels played out. In any case, I'm glad to have commented since I didn't really have a good way to articulate how I felt about the movie coming out of it. 

Thanks, gracias, merci, obrigado... you're comments are greatly appreciated!

Add on & tell a friend, it's movie debate party, ha!...

I loved it and yes here too was mostly a white audience who laughed at some scenes.  It bothered me at first for 'a second' then Irealized it's a 'Tarantino' dialogue and they were Tarantino fans.  However that era was quite brutal and it was shown, a sea of all kind of emotions came over me during the film and I reveled in the end, knowing that there were some real Django's in those days.  It felt good to win in the end.  I left feeling great, I don't care who made the movie really, just that it was made, pretty close to my own vision. I don't mind to much someone white wrote it, hell they helped with the underground railroad, we built a lot of this country, I'm alright with it, though of course in the back of my mind, I do wish a person of color would have done it first, I would have. I think it would expose more truths about slavery and white people 'some' can see how really nasty and ugly and hateful they are and how utterly stupid they look with all that hate.

Anybody trip out on the german guy being  a sort of protaganist?, that usaully doesnt happen but im glad it did.

and oh i liked the movie but at the same time i felt like "mmm, is this some ploy to stick it me for being black" by tarantino?,

I've honest always wondered about that guy and his true motives in making his films, Is it to be tabboo or is he being malicious in secret by simply 'hiding it in plain sight'?

have not seen this and don't want to. same typical recipe for black people in Hellywood. if spike lee did this movie, i would see it, i'd be a little pissed, but i would see this movie. WE BROWN SKIN PEOPLE WITH TIGHTLY COILED HAIR ARE ALL!!! not just pims, hoes, broke down, rusty, ghetto, low income, struggling, ignorant, drug dealer, molested, fat black mother f*ckas fryin chicken, flat,........WE ARE ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, ALL KINDS OF CULTURES, WE CONTRIBUTE MORE THAN ANYBODY WANTS TO ADMIT. Hey Quenton, create a movie about poor white life, white hoes, white hungry children, white ghettos, crystal meth yanking the souls out of white folks. Hey Quenton, create a movie about rich black people and their white maids and white cooks. HEY QUENTON, move out da way, I WANNA TO SEE FOREST WHITAKER MOVIES AND MICHEAL JAI WHITE MOVIES. in fact, I WANNA SEE INTERNATIONAL FILMS BY MEN AND WOMEN OF MANY COLORS AND CULTURES. F*CK THAT, CAN AN "AFRO-PUNK" MOVIE MAKE IT TO THE TOP!!! oh yeah, hey quenton.....what is slavery? no, really bitch, what is slavery? hey speilberg, do you really want me to thank lincoln for "freeing the slaves". REALLY? if absolutely no one has a right to touch me, grab me, slam chains around my wrists, ankles and belly and force me to do CRAZY ASS THINGS, why would i thank anybody for ending slavery? "SLAVERY" SHOULD HAVE NEVER, NEVER, NEVER HAPPENED, NEVER!!! no such thing as SLAVERY, but there is a such thing as HUMAN MENTAL & MORAL ILLNESS AT THE HIGHEST OF LEVELS. i am free, we are free, have every right to be free, we are free, .......but somebody didn't like that, and here we are today....calling it slavery.

I can't wait for this to come out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b801utyll-M

 

That cast is crazy!  Idris, Rosario, Isaiah, M.K., Bokeem, Giancarlo, Erykah, and more in this western?!  That's what I'm talkin' about...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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