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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Question For The Class......Will There Ever Be A Black Revenge Fantasy Film Made A la Inglourious Basterds?

Although I have yet to see Mr. Tarantino's latest celluloid effort, I can appreciate the film's premise-A WWII Jewish revenge fantasy against Hitler. As a supporter of many of Tarantino's works, I will eventually chalk up a free weekend and check out Inglourious Basterds but the question remains......can a Nat Turner slave rebellion fantasy film (sans historical accuracy) be developed in a similar vein to that of Basterds? It is universally accepted (and rightfully so) that those of Jewish descent should expect a fantasy tribute against an evil Nazi regime but would it be perceived in the same way with people of color vs American slave owners? While perusing the cyber walls of Sergio Mims' Shadow and Act blog, it appears the notion of a Black revenge fantasy film has also been posited. Here's the entry in question, penned by filmmaker, Tambay Obenson of S & A:

Maybe my suggestion for a lynching retribution pic in the mold of Inglorious Basterds is inspiring similar ideas in others (See my initial post on the matter HERE).

I just watched Charlie Rose’s hour-long interview with Quentin Tarantino last week, accompanying the opening of Inglorious Basterds, and towards the end of the interesting conversation, Tarantino revealed his interest in making a film about noted slavery abolitionist, John Brown, but not in the traditional “dreary, solemn, historical” manner biopics usually take form.

With the $65 million international weekend gross for the counter-factual Nazi-scalping, WWII “men on a mission” movie, maybe there will be interest in other similar historically revisionist films. Why not the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade? Or, as previously suggested, a lynching retribution pic?

Apparently, Tarantino has mentioned his interest in John Brown previously, as a film he’d eventually like to make – possible his final movie, whenever that will be – claiming that Brown is his “favorite American who’s ever lived.”

As it happened, abolitionist John Brown was unsuccessful in his attempt to start a slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry in 1859; however that occurrence helped fuel the movement that started the Civil War. Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds version would then instead tell the story of Brown’s successful seizure of an armory, which would subsequently lead directly to the end of slavery, preventing the Civil War. Imagine the pitch session in studio exec suites! 2 weeks ago, it probably would have been laughed at and quickly dismissed; however, with the financial success of Basterds, the idea might be instantly greenlit and fast-tracked for a summer 2010 release.

As much as this type of talk piques my prurient interests, I suspect that the American public (Blacks and whites alike) just couldn't support such a film, even if presented in a pulpish Tarantino-esque sort of way. Does anyone remember, John Travolta's post Pulp Fiction film, White Man's Burden? Here's another film that asked the question (reminiscent of a Marvel What If comic)-What would happen if the racial positioning of Americans were turned upside down? Check out the 1995 trailer:

I remember thoroughly enjoying the film with the expectation that it was bound to be successful due to Travolta's tour de force in Fiction but the White/Black consumer audience just couldn't deal with the racial subtext. Will we see a lessening of this discomfort if a sepia toned Inglourious Basterds were to make it to the silver screen? The question remains....

Oh...and while you wait for such a film, take a gander at the first clip above...2003's Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property starring the Justice League's Carl Lumbly.

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