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Pulp Fiction (1994) - Quentin Tarantino

Related: Quentin Tarantino - American cinema - 1994

Pulp Fiction (1994) - Quentin Tarantino [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Pulp Fiction is a movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. It was released in 1994. The stories were written by Tarantino and Roger Avary.

Half film noir and half black comedy, Pulp Fiction weaves through the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles gangsters, fringe characters, petty thieves and a mysterious attache case. Following Quentin Tarantino's more traditional crime movie, Reservoir Dogs, the storyline is chopped up, rearranged and shown out of sequence, a technique borrowed from French nouvelle vague (New Wave) directors such as Jean Luc Godard and François Truffaut and from low-budget American crime films such as Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and Don Siegel's The Killers (1964). The highly stylized and fluid action sequences and deadpan dialogue was inspired by Italian neo-realist director Sergio Leone's famed spaghetti western pictures of the 1960s.

Originally titled Black Mask, the film won the 1994 Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino and Avary also won Oscars for the Screenplay in the same year.

The movie was moderately controversial, partly due to the graphic (but largely off-screen) violence and partly due to its perceived racism, as Tarantino and Jackson played moderately sympathetic characters who freely used the words "nigger" and "motherfucker". Later, in response, director Spike Lee made a point of challenging Tarantino's attitude towards race relations in his movie Bamboozled.

The success of Pulp Fiction spurred studios to release a slew of 'copycat' films soon after that tried to duplicate the film's formula of witty and offbeat dialogue, an elliptical/non-chronological plot and unconventional storyline, and gritty subject matter. Most, if not all of these films, did not fare well at the box office and were dismissed by critics as inferior and derivative, though the raver film Go received some acclaim, and Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was a sucessful transplant of the film's basic premise into the underworld of London. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulp_Fiction [Apr 2005]

Amazon review

With the knockout one-two punch of 1992's Reservoir Dogs and 1994's Pulp Fiction writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender. But Pulp Fiction was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that reestablished John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million) independent showcase for an ultrahip mixture of established marquee names and rising stars from the indie scene (among them Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, and Phil Lamar). It was more, even, than an unprecedented $100-million-plus hit for indie distributor Miramax. Pulp Fiction was a sensation. No, it was not the Second Coming (I actually think Reservoir Dogs is a more substantial film; and P.T. Anderson outdid Tarantino in 1997 by making his directorial debut with two even more mature and accomplished pictures, Hard Eight and Boogie Nights). But Pulp Fiction packs so much energy and invention into telling its nonchronologically interwoven short stories (all about temptation, corruption, and redemption amongst modern criminals, large and small) it leaves viewers both exhilarated and exhausted--hearts racing and knuckles white from the ride. (Oh, and the infectious, surf-guitar-based soundtrack is tastier than a Royale with Cheese.) --Jim Emerson for amazon.com

Pulp fiction

Pulp [...]

In both these cases, Pulp Fiction is showing generic situations with moments of the everyday pervading the narrative fabric. In fact, in postmodern terms, what the text is offering is the fourth stage of Baudrillard's 'four stages of real' - the hyper real.  As Baudrillard himself states in Simulacra and Simulations, the first to third stages are variations upon an 'appearance', whilst in the fourth stage 'it is no longer in the order of appearance at all, but of simulation.' Stage one's concept of 'real' is based on an appearance, hence appearing like a generic tale, whereas the fourth stage's hyper real presents the removing of this 'appearance' - this generic content - and showing moments of trueness, or as Baudrillard refers to them, 'simulacra'. This element of the hyper real is key to an understanding of Pulp Fiction, forming the theoretical justification for structural, thematic and textual details as will be discussed later. --Joe Allen, Hierarchies of Control in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/Articles-Summer03/AllenPulpFict.html, accessed Mar 2004

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