Quentin Tarantino is the king of homages. And Kill Bill: Vol. 1 might be his masterpiece.
We've had over a century of movies made. Thousands of movies and TV shows exist. And even more books, comics, and media around them. If you're going to be a director in today's Hollywood, it's okay to borrow and steal shots you loved from the masters.
You originality can come from how you homage them and the story you present. So get stealing!
No one is a better living embodiment of this strategy than Quentin Tarantino. He's one of the best modern voices in cinema because he consumes so much it adds layers to everything he does on screen. Lucky for us, Vanity Fair peeled the layers of Kill Bill back and exposed the 58 references to other media Tarantino hid within the story.
Check out this epic video from Vanity Fair and let's talk about some of the references after the jump!
What's going on in Kill Bill?
This revenge movie really plays into the kung fu movies of old while feeling current and fun. Kill Bill finds a way to both feels like a cartoon and a very serious woman on a mission movie. That's not easy. but it does so by accessing so many different mediums and putting different ideas on screen.
I picked out my four favorites to talk about because mentioning the other 54 seems like it might take a while. That's what the video was supposed to do.
First up, Tarantino's homage to Bruce Lee. While Tarantino has had some tough weeks with Bruce Lee's family, this movie truly showcases his love for Game of Death and the outfit. It's the most obvious homage on the list but nevertheless, it's the best.
While Game of Death is about a tournament, Kill Bill is about the stages you go through to get revenge.
The movies are different, but the intensity of the Bride and Bruce cannot be denied. Who doesn't love some bleeding eyeballs?
This clear tribute to City of the Living Dead takes on the Italian horror movie and gives it a twist.
What I love the most is how he uses the same hue of fake blood to get it right. It's not just about the framing but the details. This really speaks volumes about the details Tarantino wants to get right. It can't just be blood. It has to be the right blood.
When it comes to cinematography, Tarantino has always had a deep respect for the past. This opening shot, mirroring Citizen Kane, pleases my inner film nerd.
The silhouettes are poetic. They add a layer of seriousness to a movie that will show you the Pussy Wagon in a few short scenes. Tarantino uses these shots to remind you he's a student of the film world and his bride, like Kane, has one thing on her dying mind. Except hers is not a sled.
It's killing Bill.
Lastly, my favorite thing about Tarantino, in general, is that he's a massive nerd. And so am I. I grew up watching Star Trek with my parents, so seeing a movie built around a proverb from a fake race, on a movie made from a TV show...kinda makes my nerdiness turn up to 11.
Look, I don't know when it got hard or when you started hating life, but some of you need to hear this:
Making movies and TV is fun! you can write anything, you can let your imagination go wild!
Tarantino always seems like he's having the most fun of anyone out there He's writing about the things he cares about and sharing them with us. What's better than that?
What's next? Learn Tarantino's signature shots!
Quentin Tarantino has been making films for over three decades and in that time he has created one of the most recognizable cinematic styles in the industry. But how? He uses pretty much the same shots that every other filmmaker uses: the POV shot, tracking shot, and extreme close-up. How does he manage to infuse his unique filmmaking flavor into his compositions?
Click the link to learn more!