Category Archives: Western

The question of authenticity again: Mandingo fighting in Django Unchained — was it true?

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Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of a slaveowner who deals in Mandingo fights.

☞ The question of authenticity in Django Unchained again. This time, it’s not to do with the profuse use of profanities or with the use of the N-word, but with Mandingo fighting. The controversy here reminds one of the debate on the authenticity of the Russian roulette sequences in Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978). Again, the question is how true should a movie be to history? Couldn’t a movie take liberties with facts in order to make the narrative more interesting?

“A key plot point of Quentin Tarantino’s western-blaxploitation-revenge movie is the supposed sport of Mandingo fighting, in which two (black) slaves fight in a bare-knuckle death match, for no reason other than the (white) slaveowners’ enjoyment. The search for the perfect Mandingo, or wrestler, is the vehicle Tarantino (who, of course, wrote and directed the film) builds the rest of his movie around. But a bevy of historians say it probably never happened.

One expert tells Slate (which says that “no slavery historian we spoke with had ever come across anything that closely resembled this human version of cockfighting”) that the very notion that Southerners would send off their slaves to die is logically flawed. Given the entire structure of slavery was based on economic expedience, it just doesn’t make much sense that a slaveowner would be willing to lose one of his strongest and healthiest men to death for sport.”

From HuffPost Entertainment: read more…

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If Spielberg uses foul language, would Tarantino be clean?

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☞ Oh yes… If Spielberg makes use of foul language in Lincoln, one can’t expect the language of Tarantino’s Django Unchained to be clean…

“Quentin Tarantino has never been one to shy away from controversial subjects in his film, be it via graphic violence or explicit language. His latest film, Django Unchained, characteristically, showcases both, but it’s the latter that has enflamed debate.

With the ‘N-word’ being used prolifically in the film, the detractors have been quick to air their political and ethical grievances. Spike Lee, talking to Vibe.com, said, “I am not going to see it (the film). I am not seeing it. It would be disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film.” He added in a post on his Twitter.com page, “American slavery was not a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It was a Holocaust. My ancestors are slaves. Stolen from Africa. I will honour them.””

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