Once upon a time the cinema

Quentin Tarantino is a genuine cinephile: someone who films from precise memories of the history of cinema, not to freeze them in a complacent nostalgia, but rather reviewing and reinventing them as a thing of the present. Your 2019 movie, Once upon a time in Hollywood, constitutes a model example of such an attitude.

There we revisited 1969, in the scenarios of the California “dream factory”, reconverted by the emergence of new protagonists linked to the growing power of television. The characters played by Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt are symptoms of this conjuncture: figures of a new time in which the legacy of Hollywood’s golden age persists, even if it no longer seems possible to recreate its mythological power.

Illustrating the elaborate critical awareness of the aesthetic and symbolic roots of his work, Tarantino has just released a “novelization” of his film, adopting the pocket format and look of traditional crime novels (“pulp fiction”). The book Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (HarperCollins) thus emerged as an expression of an ancestral love relationship – between the cinematographic narrative and the literary desire for writing.

Tarantino has given several interviews about this debut as a novelist, after all an extension of his work as a script writer: it was, in fact, as a scriptwriter that he has won two Oscars, with pulp Fiction (1994) and Django Released (2012). A few days ago, on SiriusXM radio’s “The Jess Cagle Show” he spoke of Sharon Tate’s memories (1943-1969) and her treatment as a character in Once upon a time in America.

Even if you don’t know the movie, the reader will know that Sharon Tate, then married to Roman Polanski, was murdered on August 9, 1969 by the Manson Family gang. And, especially for those who are not familiar with the film, I believe it is essential not to reveal how the character of Tate, played by Margot Robbie, appears as staged by Tarantino…


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