“I’m Not A Monkey”: Watch Quentin Tarantino Shut Down U.K. Journalist Who Asks About Tie Between Movies & Violence

"I'm Not A Monkey": Watch Quentin Tarantino Shut Down U.K. Journalist Who Asks About Tie Between Movies & Violence

Django Unchained” still hasn’t opened in the UK; in fact it’s one of four of this year’s Best Picture nominees that have yet to do so. It will, however, hit British cinemas in just eight days time, and Quentin Tarantino is over there at the moment to promote his new film which tonight has it’s London premiere. While doing said promoting, QT has so far come across as someone supremely confident in his own ability as a filmmaker, and unashamedly proud of the latest product he’s got to offer. In fact, it had all been going rather swimmingly, until he was interviewed by Channel 4 NewsKrishnan Guru-Murthy.

Guru-Murthy (who points out “this is a news program, not a film program…so we explore serious themes”) was intent on pressing Tarantino about his views on links between movie violence and real life violence, and QT didn’t like that one bit. “Don’t ask me a question like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question,” says Tarantino. “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.”

That’s about four and a half minutes into the interview and it continues on that track for the majority of the eight and a half minute piece, with QT steadfast in his refusal to go beyond his initial assertion that there is no link between real life and movie violence (something he’s already discussed on the press tour for the film). It truly is a fascinating watch, and it’s worth watching alone for QT quotes like “I’m shutting your butt down,” and “It’s none of your damn business what I think about that.” Oh, and watch out for the clearly worried PR’s hand popping into frame around the 7:47 mark, trying to wrap the interview up.

Frankly we don’t blame QT for refusing to answer a question that rather spuriously tries to connect his movie with real-life violent tragedies. If there’s any doubt about what Guru-Murthy and Channel 4 were trying to imply, just check out the tags accompanying the video their website – one of which reads “US guns.” We’re just surprised that Guru-Murthy (who it has to be said is a respected journalist on that side of the Atlantic) pursues it for quite so long, but kudos to both of them for standing firm throughout. Watch the video for yourself and see if you think Tarantino dealt with this the right way, regardless of whether you agree with his original (and we believe valid) stance.

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Comments

Chaim Paddaman

Tarantino is a monkey. He is Harvey Weinstein's monkey. He will dance, when Harvey tells him to. He is such a pussycat.

James

Overall a pretty good interview apart from Tarintino's tantrum. Tarintino looks a bit shocked at getting some serious questions; he mustn't be too used to that these days. One wonders if this wasn't a British journalist if he would react the same way.

Annie

The point of this confrontation was not about violence but about respecting someones right to not discuss an area of questioning. It is clear that the reporter wants to lay at the directors feet some association between his movies and the tragic violence that took place this year. I don't blame the director from shutting him down. He tried to respectfully stop the reporter and even continued after the confrontation. His point was NO means NO.

Mr_Qwertz

I feel like most people are not logically thinking through their answers when they try relating gun violence in movies to real life. Movie violence only shows you that guns are effective killing tools, in the same way a news program or any kind of entertainment does. It just lets you know theres an option to kill.

The problem isnt the gun violence itself but the mental jump it takes to say its okay to perpetrate gun violence on other people. Thats where good parenting and education come in: to show you why that mental jump is not valid. Millions of people watch violent entertainment but they know its wrong. That reporter isnt going to kill someone because he saw a movie do it, hes going to kill someone because there was a strong emotional component that comes from within and not the movie. That emotional component and lack of internal coping mechanism is what causes that specific type of gun violence, not portrayals of gun violence.

Callumq

Love his films, hate the person. Could he not have a serious discussion about something as topical as violence in films. You would think QT would be in his element talking peoples ears off on the subject. But instead we just get an arsehole.

An African American Male

Guru-Murthy demonstrated rare and admirable gumption for a journalist these days, as real critical journalism has been sadly diminishing over the years. Case in point: Tarantino himself had the audacity to refer to Channel 4's news program as “a commercial for his movie.” That’s how a lot of people feel about news these days, and with good reason. There should be more of him, and I personally hope that he keeps up the good work.

I saw “Django” the other night. I had to go see it, because some of my fellow black folks told me they enjoyed it. All I can imagine is that there is a demographic of certain black folks out there that appreciates Tarantino’s offer of a “cathartic” release of watching Django rise up and slay white folks. Which is disappointing. It’s especially disappointing because the film “Django” is such an inauthentic depiction of the slave era.

Sure there was violence in the slave era, and Tarantino delivered that. He’s good at that. But the dramatic impact of that violence and its potential authenticity is drastically offset by the film’s fallacious depiction of commonplace human empathy between slaves and their owners. In other words, throughout the film, slave owners and slave drivers generally recognize their black slaves as human beings; they’re commonly spoken to as if they’re human beings, and they’re listened to as if they’re human beings. In actuality, slaves were not considered human beings (not even legally), and were rarely addressed as or treated as such. And that’s the most horrifying aspect of the slave trade; that the slaves were not considered human beings. They were considered property, equivalent to horses, cows, dogs, or sheep. That’s what made slave traders, and the government that enabled their industry, monstrous. And that’s what Tarantino failed to depict in “Django.”

“Django” includes, for example, scenes where black slaves were eating at the table alongside their white master and his guests, listening in on the dinner conversation as if they themselves were his valued friends or even members of his family. As if the majority of slave owners would commonly tolerate the sight of a black slave eating at their dinner tables. My own mother (who is alive today, and who was born far after 1858 in which “Django” was largely set, mind you) wasn’t allowed to eat in the same restaurant with white people when she was a child, much less the same table.

“Django” includes ridiculous scenes wherein African slaves actually argue heatedly with their masters on the point of whether their master’s bidding should be done. As if such a thing were commonly tolerated by slave owners. Juxtaposed against this is the fact that in 1955, almost 100 years following the year 1858, a quiet young black woman named Rosa Parks was arrested by the police in Alabama when she refused to follow an order to give up her seat on a racially segregated public bus. To put this in perspective, the first human space flight occurred only 6 years later, in 1961.

Understand this: I am not proposing that the above-mentioned scenes in “Django” never before happened in the history of slavery. More to the point is the fact that the overall depiction of these scenes creates an inference that they were commonplace; and in this regard, Tarantino’s film supports and even promotes the notion that slavery wasn’t so bad, because slaves were at least regarded as human beings.

The reason this notion bothers me is because if we are to accept that slaves were at least regarded as human beings, then by logical extension we must reject the notion that the era of slave trade actually wasn’t so bad, and has little to do with the fact that—comparatively speaking—many black people in America today have failed to achieve even a nominal threshold with respect to education, financial sustainability, social equality and a sense of self-worth among their fellow men and women. And that’s just not true.

In the above interview, Tarantino expressly confirmed that the intent of the violence in “Django” is to provide the viewer (presumably the black viewer) with a cathartic release. In other words, through the fictional endeavors of the Django character he hopes to satisfy the sense of vengeance that he believes many black people possess for having suffered the indignity of slavery.

I don’t have a sense of vengeance to stoke… but if I did, it’s not likely that this film could satisfy it any more than “Inglorious Basterds” sufficed to act as a cathartic balm against the racial injustice that Jewish people went through at the hands of Hitler and which—to a degree—they continue to go through today.

And in either case, take it from me that Quentin Tarantino doesn’t understand black people as well as he purports to.

MJ

Tarantino has no obligation to defend himself to this self-righteous interviewer who clearly thinks there is a connection between movie violence and real violence. Nothing QT could say would change his mind. By the way, will I be watching the new Portlandia tonight? Absolutely not. Too much advertising on this page has turned me off it.

Made In Canada

Congrats to Tarantino. The reporter asked the question, Tarantino didn't want to answer it. End of story. To Robert , the comment before me who puts him down for how he looks…please, I'm sure no Daniel Craig yourself, go sit on a cactus sir!
For all the haters of violent movies… You better have never watched a violent scene and enjoyed it and post a negative comment here. Your comments are invalid.
Legalize Freedom! Take one away and before you know it the one that's important to you will be next.

bartek klimczak

I heard a really interesting quote the other day
'If there is no link between violence on tv and it influencing violent behaviour in real life why does tv advertising exist"

Robert

What a nob! How much coke must have gone up his nose before that interview? He looks totally wired, and like he hasn't showered for a week.

Alan B

I am in two minds about the interview as I thought both participants said very, very stupid things. Tarantino is actually right when he posits that the interviewer isn't really interested in what Tarantino has to say about violence, but is more concerned with getting the quote. Tarantino has talked plenty about violence in the past, so I am not sure how an 8 minute long interview can 'expand' the discussion, as Guru-Murthy posits. Tarantino has been very, very articulate about violence and cinema. But … he chose to do it in the more dickish way possible. Telling a 'serious' (marketed as one, but actually kinda an idiot) journalist that he is JUST there to sell the film and the interview is simply a commercial is an example of unchecked Hollywood ego: he's ostensibly telling Guru-Murthy, 'hey, don't you know I am a proper Hollywood director and you're just some British journo that no one cares about …' However, Guru-Murthy came across as both weak and arrogant, which is a deadly combination. His compliments were smug and insincere, and then he tries to defend his position as …. ummm, Tarantino owes it to his fans to talk about violence. Seriously? Guru-Murthy – who probably knows f all about Tarantino's fanbase – tries to speak on behalf of them, as if he knows more about them than Tarantino does. That's weak and desperate, and he backtracks constantly: Guru-Murthy says, "you must care very deeply that this film doesn't become, doesn't stand out from your body of work as one that is trashed by more people or anything like that"; Tarantino says, "It's not trashed by more people, what you are saying is not correct", Guru-Murthy says, "I'm not saying it is …" If he wants to defend his position, then he should defend it, not try to backtrack and show how weak he is. Over and over, Tarantino is impatient with the questioning, and the interviewer attempts to tell Tarantino about his own films or to explain Tarantino's social responsibilities or throw up his hands and say, 'hey it's just my job. I will ask whatever idiot question pops into my limited brain and it's my job to ask these questions'. I'm sure Tarantino is bored and impatient with a 'hey, I'm a serious' journalist telling him what a director's responsibility is. Tarantino is right, but is a dick about it; Guru-Murthy is an idiot but pretends that he isn't … which makes him seem like more of an idiot.

Jacob

Well Tarantino doesn't really have a stance on this video except for the stance of not telling the interviewer anything. But the whole argument that violence on TV and in the movies has no effect on society completely devalues the power of cinema. A filmmaker is crazy if he does not think it has a impact. That is not to say I think all violence in Cinema is bad, I just find much of Tarantino's to be indulgent in a way that speaks to the lowest parts of humanity. We are supposed to cheer and be happy about seeing things that would never be okay in real life. Why don't we show more comedy rape scenes? It is not real life you know? Don't get me wrong, Tarantino is a very talented and passionate filmmaker. However, as a student in film I know just because a filmmaker is talented does not make his films worth watching.

Simon

I didn't realise the guy was such a nob! I certainly will not be going to pay to say any of his movies again.

nightgoat72

Gotta say, QT came off like a raging jackass in that interview. I agree with him, but just refusing to discuss anything and spending all that time being abrasive and confrontational really does do anything constructive. If he's such a fan of "creating a dialogue" about slavery (which I think is kinda bullshit – internet comments sections rarely would qualify as something so lofty), why is he so adamantly against creating a dialogue about the psychology of violence, which is a pretty interesting subject regardless of your viewpoint?

I mean seriously, it would have taken less time and effort to just discuss it than it did to mount that whole frivolously hostile tirade.

DG

Joe's Coke Wizard comment below is the best comment of 2013 so far

JOE

Um… "I am responsible for people talking about slavery in America in a way that they have not in 30 years." Are we not burying the lead here? I mean, wow. I'm surprised the Coke Wizard didn't pop up in the background and do a little dance at this point.

Dan

Two things….
Channel 4 News is probably the most respected news programmes in the UK, and Guru-Murthy one of their leading journalists. It's not Entertainment Tonight, so he should have known who he was talking to when he agreed to go on the program.

Secondly, one of the key arguments gun lobbyists are using (and will push relentlessly over the coming months) , is that movies and video games are responsible for warping the minds of those who carry out mass-shootings – that the Aurora killings even took place in a cinema while the audience were watching BATMAN RISES makes this an easy position to adopt . It's therefore essential that a cogent and robust argument against this is articulated by both industries. Given that Tarantino is one of the US's leading filmmakers, making some of the most violent, popular and critically respected mainstream films, and at the same time is such an eloquent and intelligent man, it's of concern that he refuses to join the national conversation. His position needs to be stated again and again, or the public debate will be won by the gun lobby, who won't just ask people to google their views. And heaven knows what the implications of that will be for filmmakers. It's a missed opportunity here.

Jack

Who had the better freakout PTA asking to stp asking about scientolgy, or this?

serpico

Tarantino doesn't have to say shit. Modern media is inane, and worse, shameless.

ATTACHIEF

PS – In the still displayed by this video before it starts…QT, or Bea Arthur?
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2839582720/nm0037735

Don

The British media is worse then American media.

p-dub

I'm of two minds about this one. Yes, Tarantino has talked at length about movie violence for 20 years now. It's been a topic that's come up with just about every film save for maybe Jackie Brown. But at the same time he does come off as a bit of a jerk here and seems unusually abrasive towards the interviewer. I think a lot of that is probably frustration because he's been asked about it in probably every interview since the film came out. And there is also, once again, the fact that he's been asked about it for twenty years. Why aren't they interviewing the director of the new Texas Chainsaw 3D about his use of violence? That seems like a much bigger target to me in terms of a film whose sole existence is to get people into the theaters with the promise of excessive amounts of gore. At least Django Unchained is a story that is dealing with a lot more things than just showing blood. The violence in the film also has the context of history (the slave violence, not the western violence) and makes it clear when a scene is supposed to make you cheer or make you cringe.

But, Tarantino could have simply said "Hey, I've answered these questions for twenty years and I've already answered it a ton of times lately. I know it's being asked because of the recent shootings in the states but my film came out after that even happened and in no way relates to what happened there. You know I make violent films, they're rated R, they're made for adults, and I'd appreciate it if you could ask me about something else."

ATTACHIEF

That was…hilarious. But I would like to know why "I've said it all before" is a valid defense, when the same could be said about everything he *did* want to say in this interview. He could have at least tried to gracefully half-answer the questions while simultaneously steering the conversation around to what he did want to say, like any good politician knows how to do. Even before he got ticked off his answers were pretty lacking in substance…

Duddi

a) Q.T got pissed off by the provocative question and manners of the journalist
b) Q.T was high
c) Candid Camera

– …And Who has the right answer ???

berk

QT couldn't have used ANY OTHER metaphor than "slave/master"?

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