Quentin Tarantino: «In «Pulp Fiction», I wanted to knock three films into one at the price of one!»

The miracle with a toast, black toilet curse put on a gangster, and other images and ideas of Quentin Tarantino«Pulp Fiction»

Introductory epigraph to «Pulp Fiction» sets up the audience to see a movie further on with a commonplace plot and the characters that have been met a thousand times. But immediately after the title characters of the typical genre of pulp fiction  gangsters, their girlfriends and corrupt boxers who should lye in the first round, etc.  stop acting like a typical crime film movie characters and begin to live according to real world laws. This focus  is one of the major cinematic achievements of the «Pulp Fiction»: the filmmakers shuffle familiar cliches so masterly that the film becomes completely unpredictable. Viewers are sure to expect every plot twist prepare a cliché but never know which one.


1. «Pulp Fiction»: a film with neither beginning nor end

There is neither beginning nor end in «Pulp Fiction». The film has a loopback plot: it ends with what is begins  from the robbery scene in cafe. But this is not an ordinary ring composition. First shots of the film  not the start shot of the history, while the second act according to the story, has not even started yet. Dramatic parts of the story  exposition, climax and upshot  are so much jumbled together that they hold the viewer in tension throughout the whole film to the very end (ie, the beginning).


2. Le BigMac: not a single word about the work

Violence in «Pulp Fiction» is perceived by audience, as a matter of course and goes without saying. Due to ironic distance bandits seem to be cute kids with their specific weaknesses. Among themselves, they discuss whatever they like, but not a boring job. Bloody background and talkative gangsters who are generally brought to the screen as severe silent people make the impression of absurdity. After Tarantino’s film this technique has become extremely popular in movie and opened the way for a number of films about killers with the pure heart.


3. The contents of the case: MakGaffin

One of the main secrets of the film  the contents of the briefcase, which is carried by gangsters to their boss  in fact, a typical Hitchcockian MakGaffin. Tarantino: «There is something that a viewer wants to be there.»


4. The preaching, which ends with a murder

During the film hero of Samuel Jackson utters a quote from the Bible twice. Before he commits a murder, he quotes the book of Ezekiel, chapter 25, verse 17.« And stretch out my hand to those who planned to destroy my brothers, and take great vengeance on them furiously punishing. And you know that I am LORD, when my vengeance upon thee. " In fact, in the original there is only the last phrase, quoted also inaccurate. Everything else is improvisation, which the gangster has performed for years in front of his future victims to make them frightened further.


5. Black toilet curse imposed on Vincent Vega

Whenever a hero of Travolta goes to the bathroom, something bad happens: the case of overdose happens to the heroine of Uma Thurman, inconsiderable robbery of a cafe, and finally he finds there his death.


6. Resurrection: a film where no one dies

The idea of resurrection  physical and spiritual is one of the main ideas of the «Pulp Fiction»: almost all the characters in the movie die either literally or figuratively. And almost all are resurrected  in one way or another. There can’t be any definite epilogue in «Pulp Fiction»: the death in the world of «Pulp Fiction» is excluded as the semantic existential factor.


7. «Pulp Fiction»: film out of time

The world where the characters of «Pulp Fiction» exist is purposely devoid of any specific emphasis of particular time. Film action can equally be applied to the beginning of the 80s and the early 90s. Or even to the beginning of the 2000s, which indirectly is confirmed by the scene where the hero of Christopher Walken, a veteran of the Vietnam War gives his father’s watch to a small Buchu. If we compare the age of on-screen hero of Bruce Willis (39 years old) with the date of the meeting (not before 1970), it becomes clear that the main action of the film takes place not in 1994 year but at the beginning of the XXI century. In this case, the episode with the family watch is not just a mocking joke, but a very serious challenge to fight with Time itself that Tarantino is a virtuoso to do masterly on the screen.


8. Death due to reading in the bathroom

Inattentive hero of John Travolta is the only character in the film, who lives on chance, believes in coincidence and does not believe in the Miracle (unlike the hero of Bruce Willis). Twice he escapes punishment, but for the third time he has become a victim of his addiction to waste paper books reading in the toilet. However, the fact that Vincent Vega dies in the middle of the movie, but then returns to the screen, gives a reason to think that throughout history he was actually neither alive nor dead. As Schrödingers cat.


9. Bruce Willis chooses Weapon: Samurai

It was Tarantino who first has shown that modern humans began to behave as if they were characters of mass culture, although, of course, before him it was widely known: America is a country of cinema, and its cinema images are more real than reality. However, when the hero of Bruce Willis chooses the weapon of revenge  a baseball bat, a chainsaw, a samurai sword, the audience roars with laughter, because each type of weapon has its own genre tradition. Baseball bat -is the traditional weapon of gangsters, a chainsaw  the subject of cheap horror films. Willis chooses not only the weapon, but he selects his own identity. Sword  the weapon of the Japanese samurai, to who he relates himself and his character, making a noble act rescued his enemy from his death.


10. Two miracles: the miracle of the shots and the miracle of the toast.

Poor shooter let the bullets miss the target, and the characters of Jackson and Travolta are still alive. This episode changes the life of the first, but it does not touch the other. Through faith in the miracle of God in the Divine Providence, the hero of Jackson survives at the chronological end of the story, and the hero of Travolta perishes. Because of this episode, Tarantino is often called the chief moralist of our time: in his world only the good guys stay alive. The fates of the characters are simple: Samuel Jackson repented, and John Travolta did not. The bullets missed the target and a toaster with toasts, which saved the hero of Bruce Willis  this is Divine Providence not just the accident. Tarantino currently holds the same view: «Watch my films  they almost fully correspond to the old Hays Code. Violence is not particularly the thing that Hollywood is worried by in those years. You can show any amount of violence if the bad guy is killed at the end, or admits his sins.»


11. Preaching that does not end with the death.

In the final scene the hero of Samuel Jackson, while pointing a gun to a robber at the restaurant, can not utter a religious sermon. After there happened a miracle to him, that made him stay alive, the gangster first realized the meaning of his speech. As the author explains, «this is the end of the movie.»

Translated by Julia Sergeeva

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