One exiting development in some recent films is the seamless integration of globalization. Say what you will about Quentin Tarantino’s bloody new homage to kung-fu and spaghetti westerns Kill Bill Vol. 1 but it is as close to a movie can get to removing national borders.
It’s about as simple a tale as can be told, but Tarantino’s thrown in 70′s Hong Kong action star Sonny Chiba, music by Zamfir’s that would make a clown cry, the rhythms of The RZA, the wildness of the 5,6,7,8′s, and even boot walking Nancy Sinatra. The film is in English, it’s in Japanese, there are subtitles, then they are gone, and there’s even an Anime sequence. And let’s not forget Uma! There are so many competing influences you’ll probably have to see the film a few times to sort them out.
Part of this potent cocktail is the magic of Tarantino. “I hardly think I would have believed that in Kill Bill Vol 1, his delirious splatter opera of cruelty and revenge, Tarantino could manage a similar feat with Zamfir,” writes Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. “That’s right: the pan-flute guy. In Kill Bill Zamfir pipes out ‘The Loney Sheppard,’ a quaver of a ballad that sounds like the most haunting spaghetti Western score Ennio Morricone never wrote.”
It was filmed in Japan, China, Los Angeles, and Mexico (as Texas) too. When the final showdown in Volume 1 is entitled “Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves” you get the sense that this is no ordinary tea house and no ordinary showdown.
What Kill Bill does is go beyond the superficial appreciation of other cultures. It is not like going down to the local sushi restaurant or anything like going to the taco shack up the street to have a slice of culture.
No, it destroys those ‘gimme’ acts of globalization and culture the same way going to a McDonald’s in France tells you nothing really about America or France. It is more evolved than, say, simply mixing up culture like a bad fusion restaurant. It isn’t just combining Chinese, Japanese, and Westerns into a western stir fry-it is taking them, loving them, and creating something new altogether. It may be an all-new wholly original Quentin Tarantino world or glimpse of movie making in the future.
Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He is a senior writer at Enter Stage Right and the editor of “Dispatches” a website that serves up political commentary 24-7.