“You ain’t gonna get away wit’ this, Django”: Fantasy, fiction and subversion in Quentin Tarantino’s, Django Unchained

BLACK, Jack (2019). “You ain’t gonna get away wit’ this, Django”: Fantasy, fiction and subversion in Quentin Tarantino’s, Django Unchained. Quarterly Review of Film and Video.

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Abstract

From 2009 to 2015, U.S. director, Quentin Tarantino, released three films that were notable for their focus on particular historical events, periods and individuals (Inglorious Basterds 2009; Django Unchained 2012; The Hateful Eight 2015). Together, these films offered a specifically “Tarantinian” rendering of history: rewriting, manipulating and, for some, unethically deploying history for aesthetic effect. With regard to Django Unchained, this article examines how Tarantino’s historical revisionism provides a valuable point of inquiry into the ways in which “history” is depicted on-screen and, more importantly, how depictions of “the past” can prove useful for highlighting underlying contradictions, ambivalences and ambiguities in the “present”. Drawing upon Slavoj Žižek’s Lacanian approach to film analysis, it is argued that through a combination of fantasy, subversion and counterfactual possibility – most notable in the film’s final stand-off between its leading black characters – Tarantino is able to render the Real of U.S. slavery as an ahistorical antagonism. This antagonism highlights the ongoing trauma of these events in the present as well as the use of fantasy to explore their traumatic subject matter. Such historical fictions are not fixed to the past but, via an encounter with the Real, can be used to appraise the present.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group; Centre for Sport and Exercise Science; Department of Media Arts and Communication; Department of Humanities; Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics; 1902 Film, Television And Digital Media
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 15:31
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 15:31
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23969

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