Hey! This is the person who wrote the Django article. I am just bringing it to my personal blog because the other one is for the magazine I make and it is only supposed to contain things that go in it. If this conversation is interesting, perhaps I will put it in! Anyways I should probably add comments to the blog, but I did not realize that I would get any responses. Anyways thank you for reading and commenting back, I appreciate it. So I have a few more points that we can discuss.
Racism- I am not trying to argue that this film is not empowering to African Americans and Django. I know that him and the doctor were friends. This is confirmed by the pain he feels when he dies as you mentioned. I think that they have a deep connection that we do not necessarily see on the surface. My issues that I have is that Django NEEDS a white man to free him from bondage. Tarantino goes to great lengths to show us how strong Django is and smart and talented etc. but still he cannot be free without a little deus ex white man. I think their relationship is very much equal and not based on race, but I still have problems with how it comes back to the reliance on his white friend. Perhaps the last shootout is all Django, but I argue that this was made possible by the messianic death of Herr Schultz. I take a little bit of issue with his death as well because I think Django could have been fast enough to stop the guy with the shotgun, but that is a different story. Have you seen Gran Turino? As I mentioned it has an even more dramatic death like this. This is the same reason I dislike films like Avatar and many others, the white man always has to show the way for the less enlightened people. Do I think this was Tarantino’s intention? Probably not. But it seems to show a very deep rooted racism in our culture, in my mind. I think the film could have been about an hour thirty personally. Django gets freed takes his slave driver’s gun and horse and clothes, intimidates people to find the whereabouts of his wife, and then has the showdown at the mansion, taking on all the white folk. I think this would even justify some of the violence in this film more. Consider that this was some sort of fantasy film where a black person was aided by an angel or Jesus or the ghost of Abe Lincoln who is depicted as white, and throughout the journey he was continued to be aided by this white divine intervention until that supernatural being destroys itself for the black man at the end. This story is a lot less empowering than a man doing it all on his own. As you said yourself, it is Django’s story, yet sometimes i feel that it is really the doctor’s story. I cannot directly call up any particular film theory that deals with this trope, but I know the literature is out there.
Sexism- I am really glad that I got a female’s opinion on this, as I cannot ever truly view a film as a woman, because I am a man. Regardless I think we are at a point in filmmaking where women ought to be given a little more credit. I agree completely that women were not treated well at this point in time and the film is right to depict it as so. That being said, this film is nearly all free of women. What I found particularly sexist was the ineffectiveness of the few main women in the film. The sister obviously has some amount of power or control like DiCaprio, but we do not see her exercise it once. She makes one statement that she does not want to see Hilde’s back at the dinner table, and this is as close to empowered as she gets. No this film is not called Broomhilda, but that does not mean she has to be ineffective. Why not have her pick up a gun and aid Django? Instead she is recaptured. Obviously she does not have the training that Django has accumulated, but she still could do something, especially at the end when she sits on the horse outside. She has her man fight her battles for her. Who was oppressed continually by the residents of Candy Land? Her or Django? He gets revenge for her and she is satisfied with that. Not that Django shouldn’t get some retribution too, but he has been living pretty well for the past few months. All I would need to see to really change my mind is one shot of her picking up a gun, or stepping on her fallen masters’ wounds. She must have wanted some kind of revenge. This would obviously not warrant a name change to the film, but would show that Hilde has gained some sort of power over her oppressors. Again as I stated in my original review, the fact that Hilde and Django went through nearly similar ordeals and he came out strong and she came out at least somewhat weak, shows me a decent amount of sexism that is deeply rooted in our culture.
I know that you did not want to disrespect my opinions, as I can see from your well thought out response. I do not really think that I can change your mind and that is not my intention, rather I would just like to fill you in on my opinion a bit more thoroughly. Again thank you for reading and I will definitely respond again when I have the time! In the meantime I encourage you to follow my other blog wtulsthevox, which will hopefully be featuring many more critiques and lots of other good stuff that perhaps you will have a different opinion on as well. I am always willing to have a good constructive argument.
I have a small disclaimer before you read this. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. However simply lauding it for its merits does not create a proper discourse for what is wrong with not just the film, but Hollywood as well.
Racism- What could have been the most empowering film ever for African…
I have to disagree with you about the racism and sexism.
On racism: Django needed the good doctor because he was the one who showed him he can be more. He boosted his confidence in himself and taught him how to live in this world. Not only that, he was kind to him. They were partners, and I like to think they were friends. When dr. Schultz was killed it caused Django pain. It was more than just a white man helping a black man.
On sexism: the women were background in the movie because they weren’t particularly necessary to the plot. Yes, Broomhilda was what Django sought, but ultimately she wasn’t important to the story. Women In general weren’t important to the story, and I AM a women who has argued in favor of women many times in the past. Django Unchained is about DJANGO, otherwise it could be called Django and Broomhilda. But it’s not. It’s Django’s story. The women in this time and place were treated poorly and were not respected as highly as men, so that was what was shown.
I’m not trying to disrespect your opinion, I’m just saying what I feel and what I saw. I will gladly argue with you about symbolism and themes and whatnot, I love a good (friendly) argument.