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Unbridling the Western Film Auteur

Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations

Edited By Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls

According to Jim Kitses (1969), the Western originally offered American directors a rich canvas to express a singular authorial vision of the American past and its significance. The Western’s recognizable conventions and symbols, rich filmic heritage, and connections to pulp fiction created a widely spoken «language» for self-expression and supplemented each filmmaker’s power to express their vision of American society. This volume seeks to re-examine the significance of auteur theory for the Western by analysing the auteur director «unbridled» by traditional definitions or national contexts.

This book renders a complex portrait of the Western auteur by considering the genre in a transnational context. It proposes that narrow views of auteurism should be reconsidered in favour of broader definitions that see meaning created, both intentionally and unintentionally, by a director; by other artistic contributors, including actors and the audience; or through the intersection with other theoretical concepts such as re-allegorization. In so doing, it illuminates the Western as a vehicle for expressing complex ideas of national and transnational identity.


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3. Pastiche, Genre and Violence in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (Tom Ue)


Tom Ue 3 Pastiche, Genre and Violence in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds Abstract Quentin Tarantino has readily been conceptualized as a modern (perhaps post-modern) American film auteur. He has experimented with film as a motif, used it as a means to travel through time and space, and conceived of the medium as a way to construct narratives that are unpredictable to both the audience and the auteur. Tarantino’s oeuvre reflects his preoccupation, in particular, with Western tropes – from his use of music as character and his fascination with violence, masculinity and bromance to his more recent experimenta- tions with instantly recognizable Westerns such as The Hateful Eight (2015) – which he regularly combines with other genre elements such as Japanese samurai, mob films and war films. This chapter will examine Tarantino’s film Inglourious Basterds (2009)1 as a case study of the ways he uses his auteur status to render complex genre conventions, particu- larly those of the Western and film noir. Ultimately, Tarantino brings together countless and often contesting genre elements in a single film; in so doing he spurs the audience to consider their viewing practices as ethical and social processes. ‘Maybe they’ll make a film about your exploits’, Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) tells Fredrick (Daniel Brühl) in response to his account about being alone in a bell tower in a walled-off city where he hunted down soldiers, an event 1 All references to Basterds, unless indicated otherwise, are to the film and not the screen- play. I...

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