It was already announced that that American director Quentin Tarantino will be closing the 67th Festival de Cannes. He being at the festival was more like a superstar's appearance rather than a director's. It was on Friday, 23rd May, that Tarantino held a press conference. His presence was significant in many ways. It was on the same weekend 20 years ago that Pulp Fiction's won the Palme d'Or. Tarantino was 31, the Festival 47. Time magazine called it, “Pulp Fiction at 20: When Cannes Was Cool”. Tarantino was at Cannes paying homage to Italian director, Sergio Leone, who has influence is noticed strongly on his films. And also, Pulp Fiction was the only film in the festival that was projected in 35mm, not in digital format. In front of one of my personal heroes, I was overwhelmed to find myself asking questions to Tarantino. And he was answering! Often called, “the man who can't stop talking about films”, Tarantino was at his best, answering only to the point. Here are some of the best parts of the press conference.
Q. Pulp Fiction is going to be shown in 35mm, which in a way is asserting your position on film-stock. What are your thoughts on that?
A. As far I am concerned, digital projection is the “Death of Cinema”, as I know it. It is not about shooting your film on film or shooting your film on digital. The fact that most films now are not presented in 35mm means that the war is lost. Digital projection is just “television in public”, and apparently the whole world is OK with “television in public”. But what I knew as cinema is dead.
Q. 20 years ago, you were a young director who won Palme d'Or. Now, after numerous awards, you are a director that people just take you for granted that you will make a great film. Do you feel pressure making a film?
A. Frankly, it is not a pressure I ever feel because to me pressure should always be there. I want people to expect a lot from me. I want people waiting with great anticipation for my next movie. I felt the same way from directors I loved when I was growing up. When Brian De Palma would come with a new movie, for the whole first two weeks before the movie opened, I would count down the days. You know, the week before Scarface opened, that was “Scarface week”. Five more days to Scarface, four more days to Scarface, then I would start having Scarface dreams. When a new De Palma movie would open, I would go see the first show, the first day and no one would come with me. I just had to see it by myself. Then I would ruminate about the film all day. Then I would go watch the midnight show of film with some friends. That kind of excitement for a filmmaker is one of the things that keeps filmmaking alive. I don't consider that pressure, I consider that a luxury that I actually have people who like my work and are waiting for the new one. I wouldn't want it any other way. The opposite of what you're talking about; is that I am making a movie and nobody cares. That would be horrible.
Q. You don't seem to make an original score for your movies. You borrow music from other movies, why is that? And how does Ennio Morricone affect you thinking of music?
A. Yeah! I usually don't do an original score because basically I don't want to hire some composer who I have never met before or entrust them with the soul of my movie. I don't trust anybody that much. So, I choose the music – it is my choice. I am not waiting in the eleventh hour for somebody to show me the soul of my son – I am choosing the soul of my son. And my feeling towards Ennio Morricone is pretty evident by how many tracks I have in my movies. I haven't stolen them, I have paid for every single one of them and he has sold them to me. So, there is no stealing involved – I pay for them.
Transcribed and Interviewed by Zia Nazmul Islam