By Jack Salvadori
It began as a rumour last year and petrified us all: a thunder that destroyed the peace of a clear night, an inconceivable idea beyond any cinephile’s imagination and a nightmare that quickly spread among film lovers. Now, the rumour has turned into truth. Quentin Tarantino, the most influential film director of the past 20 years, has announced his retirement.
Arguably, he has not retired yet, but as confirmed in his latest interview he has planned to stop after only two more films. But why does the greatest and most fanatic film buff want to quit his career? Firstly, he has achieved all the success he could possibly dream of: Palme d’Or, Academy Awards, and what he cares about most, the sincere devotion of all his fans. Tarantino began his career with nothing besides raw talent and a genuine worship for motion pictures. Originally working in a video rental shop for years, he had the chance to see (and study) ‘every’ possible film, and when he was not watching, he was writing his scripts. He craved to join that faraway world that he admired with so much desire and ended up changing it forever, crafting it in his own unique way and ultimately becoming the icon of our generation’s cinema. Thus, why does this man want to abandon such an inspirational presence that he achieved after such tireless effort?
Tarantino is not tired of making cinema, but he wants to become cinema forever. Just like the great authors that we associate with the concept of cinema itself, such as Kubrick, Hitchcock, Chaplin, Scorsese and Welles, he wants to be remembered as one of the supreme cinematic artists throughout history. As a matter of fact, he is and has been the key figure in the industry for the past two decades, but for him this is still not enough. Possessing a perfect filmography, Tarantino wants to remain the beacon of light for future generations to come, and in his opinion the only way to achieve this is by quitting his stellar career, without running the risk of jeopardising it. Overall he would have 10 movies to his name (an easy number to remember), not excessively long like most directors, but, considering the quality, significant enough to be near impossible to match. If we consider the ‘greats’ of the past, each director has at least one movie that was perceived as lesser compared to their major works. However, Tarantino has not experienced this yet and certainly does not want it to happen. Once establishing the unchallenged status of his 8 controversial, radical, ground-breaking and, ultimately, untouchable pictures, it is important to understand the significance of retiring at the ideal moment; whilst still at the top. Tarantino chooses quality rather than profits. If he were to continue to make films forever, he would inevitably end up producing a movie that would somehow be inferior. Of course, his fans would excuse him and wait for a new project, but he would never forgive such a downfall in his own career.
Tarantino likes to define himself not as a writer or a director, but as an artist – and wants to be remembered as such. Furthermore, he is not completely retiring – he only wishes to complete his career in cinema to explore new artistic fields. In fact, he has already comforted his fans by assuring them that he will not disappear, but rather work on different platforms, i.e. books, critiques, essays and novels. He may also work on the small screen via a TV series and could even switch to theatre, directing plays and touring across the world. Could you imagine a Tarantino-esque theatre production? I certainly cannot, but in any case, I would sit in the front row.
In the end, a big question still remains: will Tarantino actually be able to retire from cinema – to detoxify from his drug, that has us addicted too? Can his platonic love be inhibited by his historical ambition? The thought that ‘Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino’ will appear on the screen only 2 more times makes me shudder. For the moment, we can only wait with trepidation for his final films, and, if possible, appreciate them even more, bearing in mind that the ecstasy spread by watching a new Tarantino film is a feeling that will not last forever.
This article was published in our November 2016 issue.