Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quentin Tarantino's Imminent Retirement

This week, Quentin Tarantino released more information about his upcoming Western, The Hateful Eight. Production on the film was postponed indefinitely earlier in the year by Tarantino when a confidant leaked the script for the film to the general public, but the famed director seems to have changed his mind, deciding to move forward with the project. Casting speculation has proven to be generally accurate, with actors such as Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Walter Goggins, and Channing Tatum being officially or almost-officially attached to the project. However, the buzz surrounding The Hateful Eight mainly concerns Tarantino's assertion that he will retire as a director after his 10th film, leaving two more to go after The Hateful Eight. Tarantino's recent comments raise an issue that has often plagued filmmakers, musicians, and other artists: is it better to burn out, or to fade away?

I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f*cks up three good ones … When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty.
Tarantino's recent interview with Playboy reveals that his retirement plans are based on mostly on his concern over his artistic legacy. I think there's a lot that's admirable in Tarantino's belief that a director's body of work must stand as a whole at the end of his or her career. A student of film history, Tarantino must be a strong believer in the auteur theory. He also stands by all of the films he's done, and hopes to retire proud of every one that he makes. However, as his audience, I'm sure many of us would love for him to continue making films until he is completely out of ideas. Tarantino acknowledged the possibility that he may go beyond ten if he feels like he has a strong enough artistic reason to do so:
If I have something to say, I’ll do it. I haven’t made any gigantic declarative statements. I just don’t want to be an old filmmaker. I’m on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. Even if it’s old and I’m washed up, I’d still want to do it. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something.
Whatever Tarantino ultimately decides, it's clear that the movie-going public is excited for The Hateful Eight.

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