He has long been celebrated as one of Hollywood’s most esteemed legacies, and today – March 27 – Quentin Tarantino turns 50 years old. From his early start as an usher in adult film theatres to his dynamic breakthrough cinematic triumph, Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino has revolutionised the film industry. His brutally violent, non-linear, sound-energetic movies have roused controversy and drama on screens throughout the world. Added to this are Tarantino’s escapades as one of the most charismatic, brash, in-your-face personalities to direct Hollywood. Today we celebrate Quentin Tarantino with an ode to his master creativity and his fearless ingenuity!

Image: Levonbiss.com

Movies are my religion and God is my patron… When I make a movie, I want it to be everything to me; like I would die for it

Tarantino’s words describe his vigorous zeal for cinema. It is well known that Tarantino – a high school drop-out with an IQ of 160 – found the bases of his motion picture prestige at Video Archives, a Californian video store that curated rare, off-beat movies. He was 22 at the time, and claims he found inspiration in cinema from watching videos during his shift at the shop. However, his introduction to film began at a much younger age when the sixteen-year-old Tarantino would accompany a porn magazine magnate to whizz through the streets of California collecting coins from magazine racks. The young Tarantino also worked as an usher in an adult film theatre called the Pussycat Theatre in Torrance, California. Speaking on his time there, the director said,

I couldn’t care less about the [porn] movies and was totally bored by them

Four Rooms, image: collider.com

Four Rooms, image: collider.com

It’s rare to find an adolescent male who is bored by porn, but Tarantino has always been defined by his ability to surprise. He first shocked audiences in 1992 when Reservoir Dogs – a film that saw Tarantino producing a screenplay in three and half weeks and filming the entire movie in 35 days – electrified the Sundance Film Festival. The moment marked Tarantino as a brilliant writer and a superbly enigmatic director, which is shown in his characterisation of his movies:

My movies are painfully personal, but I’m never trying to let you know how personal they are

Pulp Fiction, Image: movpins.com

Although Reservoir Dogs failed to win any awards, Tarantino’s future works would birth a new era of Hollywood film. Few directors create movies that are still whispered almost 20 years after their release, but to this day Pulp Fiction resonates as a cult pièces de résistance and it garnered Tarantino his first Academy Award for Best Screenplay. The movie started a roll of film that would develop into one of the most innovative, avant garde, controversial film reels to spool audiences and critics alike. Four Rooms, From Dusk Til Dawn, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Inglorius Basterds… Each movie represents an artistic change in cinema. From spawning blood-splattered screenplays that draw laughter (see Marvin’s death in Pulp Fiction) to fearlessly inviting the wrath of Jews and historians by rewriting history in Inglorius Basterds (see Hitler’s fictional death), Tarantino has made the impossible and the inconceivable a very real experience. Longevity is a force which is becoming increasingly difficult to master, but Tarantino has embossed his name in cinema history books to the extent where he is written in the pages of the Collins English Dictionary:

Tarantinoesque (adj) – referring to or reminiscent of the work of the American film-maker and actor Quentin Tarantino (born 1963), known for the violence and wit of his films.

His latest release, Django Unchained, has been less publicly acclaimed than his previous works, but still managed to gift Tarantino the Best Original Screenplay golden statue at the 2013 Oscars. It also caught the attention of music fans who praised the film’s soundtrack. Diversely talented with an eye for the good stuff, Tarantino always finds a way to please his followers. Not many things are certain in Hollywood, and even less things last, but there’s one thing Tarantino can guarantee:

now, at the end of two decades in the business… I am here to stay

images: movpins.com, collider.com, Levonbiss.com

Words: Ra’eesa Pather