What is the course about?
This course is all about Quentin Tarantino’s filmmaking. We will uncover the workings of his unique cinematic style, examine how his writing style and narrative structures demonstrate a particularly literary sensibility, and discuss the implications of his treatment of violence, race, and gender within the context of both film history and society.
What will we cover?
Across the eight sessions we will address the following:
- Narrative structure and dialogue: how Tarantino’s chapter structures, often non-chronological, and ear for dialogue relate to a literary sensibility. And how, despite this literary sensibility, his works nevertheless work to emphasise the power of cinema.
- Interactions with world cinema: since his first film Tarantino has been accused of being a plagiarist, whilst many would consider his visual references to other films to be clever homages. Through a discussion of films from Japan, Hong Kong, and France, we will assess how Tarantino uses pre-existing cinema within his own works.
- Cinematic violence: how Tarantino employs cinematic techniques to communicate various levels of violence (realistic, aesthetic, and comic) and its effect upon the viewer.
- Race: Tarantino has often been criticised for his use of racial slurs, especially the N-word, in his screenplays. We will examine the extent to which these criticisms – and his defence against them – are valid by considering both the context of the films, and the films in the context of contemporary society.
- Gender: we will question whether Tarantino’s films empower his female characters or whether they instead reinforce the typical cinematic treatment of females on a thematic level, regardless of their wielding of weapons.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify interconnections between cinema and literature.
- Analyse how films engage in dialogue with other films.
- Explain how cinematic violence is communicated in ways that achieve different purposes
- Identify the various functions that race can play within films, and how this may conflict with attitudes towards race within society.
- Identify how the cinematic communication of gender is complicated by its historical treatment within cinema.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is at an Introductory level, and so no previous technical knowledge on cinema is required. The key skills one must have to make the most of the course are as follows: The ability and willingness to analyse films, exchange responses to scenes with other students, and to listen in an open and supportive way to the response of others.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
We will be analysing scenes from Tarantino films, and others, around which discussion will take place in regards to the topics listed above. It is recommended that students watch as many of Tarantino’s films as they can before attending the lessons, though those new to his films will still be able to engage in the discussion on the basis of the clips.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a pen and some paper for note taking.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please look at other film courses by checking Film Studies/History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details