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Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino makes an emotive case for the cinema experience

In a new interview, the director also discusses his venture into the ‘debased’ world of film novelisations with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The coronavirus pandemic has not been good news for cinemas around the world, with moviegoers still facing ongoing restrictions and a general reluctance to return to public venues. Earlier in the pandemic, closures disrupted the entire industry, forcing delays to the releases of most films, or — in the controversial case of Warner Brothers — their simultaneous release in cinemas and online.

Now, however, Quentin Tarantino has joined the many filmmakers sticking up for the theatrical experience and its advantages over watching at home. Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Pulp Fiction filmmaker suggests that it’s only in theatres that you’ll find cinematic experiences that “you remember for the rest of your life”.

“TV’s fun, it’s good,” Tarantino admits. “I’ve carried memories that I’ve seen on television for most of my life. But it’s also a disposable experience.” 

Part of the cinema’s particular charm, he adds, comes from its communal atmosphere. “You go to see (a film) and maybe you’re on your own, maybe it’s in the afternoon, or maybe it’s with your date, or your wife, or whoever, and you sit down and you have an experience with a bunch of strangers.”

“Once the movie gets going, once the lights go down, you become a collective. There’s you by yourself, but then there’s all of you together. And then you start appreciating the movie in that way.”

“When you have a good experience — it’s not always a good experience — but when you have a good experience, those are the things that stay in your mind and you remember for the rest of your life,” the director goes on. “They become indelible snapshots.”

In the same interview, Tarantino talks about moving away from the director’s chair to pen a novel adaptation of his last film, 2019’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (the well-received book was released in June this year). Explaining the choice, he says that he was looking back over his favourite novelisations, thinking: “This is a debased genre of literature, but I’m all about debased genres of art that people don’t respect.”

“These are really, really fun,” he decided. “I should do one of these.” Initially, he had his eye on a book adaptation of Reservoir Dogs (his debut feature, which he also considered remaking for his tenth and final film), even getting two chapters into the story. In the end, however, the switch to Once Upon A Time In Hollywood stood out as the more logical decision. “People seemed to like it,” he says. “It was a success, people wanted to know more about those characters, and I have a tonne of material that I could never put in the movie.”

Besides novels (and rumoured stage plays), Tarantino also recently dipped his toe into the world of crypto, auctioning never-before-seen Pulp Fiction clips, scripts, and exclusive commentary as NFTs.

Watch the filmmaker’s new interview with the Late Show’s Stephen Colbert below.