Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino

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Author: Quentin Tarantino

Category: The arts

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: W&N

ISBN: 9781474624237

RRP: $34.99

Now still on track to retire from being a film director, Tarantino is easing into his new career as a writer with his novelisation of Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and now Cinema Speculation, his first non-fiction effort.

Like everything else Tarantino has done in popular entertainment, it doesn’t follow any rules apart from those he sets for himself. It’s ostensibly a list of his favourite movies of the 1970s, with a chapter devoted to a film from each year.

But wherever he feels like going off track he does, making it as much a memoir about the formative movie-going experiences he had as a kid and a young man, as well as anything related to the film in question he thinks is important, all giving you an insight into the tastes and creative aesthetics his fans know about him as a director.

One such aside is an entire chapter on an old LA Times film critic Tarantino considers was the only real entertainment writer who ever ‘got’ the underground and cult movies he himself loved. Another, which closes the book, is a belated love letter to an African American family friend who – after taking a liking to Quentin when he was still a kid – took him to many of the movies he loves to this day.

If you’re a cineaste or even casually remember a lot of the films, actors and directors he’s talking about from the time, Tarantino further cements his status as the godfather of the movement. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of who was in what with who and where their careers went from there, even the goings-on behind the scenes at the studios. Owing to his current standing in the industry, he has the unique ability to pick up the phone and get the real story from some very big names who were there at the time, further augmenting his (and your) knowledge.

He makes such impassioned arguments about movies, actors, plots and directors and his own interpretations of their work that it’s hard not to get swept up with his enthusiasm even if you don’t agree. It’s a big book but it’s breezily written and easy to digest because of a very conversational style, and if you’re a film fan you’ll breeze through it in just a few sittings.

Reviewed by Drew Turney

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