An analysis of his drastic decision and his ultimate purpose
It began as a rumour last year and petrified us all: a thunder that destroyed the peace of a clear night, an inconceivable idea beyond any imagination for a cinephile and a nightmare that quickly spread among film lovers. Now, the rumour has turned into truth: Quentin Tarantino, the most influential film director of the past 20 years, has announced his retirement.
Alright, he has not retired yet, but as he confirmed in his latest interview, he has planned to stop after only two more films. But why does the greatest and most fanatic film buff want to quit his career? He has achieved all the success he could possibly dream of: Palme d’Or, Academy Awards, and what he cares about most, the sincere devotion of all his fans. He began his career with nothing else besides raw talent and a genuine worship for motion pictures. Originally working in a video rental shop for years, he had the chance to see – and study – ‘every’ possible film; and when he wasn’t watching, he was writing his scripts. He craved to join that faraway world that he admired with so much desire, and he ended up changing it forever, crafting it in his own unique way, ultimately becoming himself the icon of our generation’s cinema. Thus, why does a man want to abandon such an inspirational presence that he indeed managed to achieve after tireless effort?
However, Tarantino is not tired of making cinema; rather, he wants to become cinema, forever. Just like the greater authors that we associate with the concept of cinema itself, such as Kubrick, Hitchcock, Chaplin, Scorsese and Welles, he wants to be remembered as one of the supreme cinematic artists in history. As a matter of fact, he is and has been the key figure in the industry for the past two decades, but, for him, this is still not enough. Having a perfect filmography, Tarantino wants to remain the beacon of light for future generations to come, and, in his opinion, the only way to achieve this is by quitting his stellar career, without running the risk of jeopardising it. He would only have 10 movies under his name (an easy number to remember), not excessively long like most directors, but, considering the quality, significant enough to be nearly impossible to match. If we consider the ‘greats’ of the past, each director has at least one movie that was perceived as weak compared to their other major works. However, Tarantino did not experience this yet, and certainly does not want it to happen. Once asserted the unchallenged status of his 8 controversial, radical, ground-breaking pictures, publicly perceived as untouchable cult classics, it is important to understand the significance of quitting ‘at the right moment’, when he is still at the top. Tarantino choses quality rather than profits: if he would continue to make films forever, he would inevitably end up producing a movie that would somehow be inferior. Of course, his fans would excuse him and wait for his following project, but he himself would never forgive such a downfall in his career.
Tarantino likes to define himself not as a writer or a director, but, pragmatically, just as an artist, and wants to be remembered as such. Reason for which, he is not completely retiring: he only wants to finish his career in cinema to explore new artistic fields. In fact, he has already comforted his fans, assuring them that he will not disappear, but rather work on different platforms, i.e. books, critiques, essays and novels; he also may work on the small screen with a TV series, and could even switch to theatre, directing plays and touring across the world. Could you imagine a Tarantinesque theatre production? I certainly cannot, but in that case, I’d sit in the front row.
At the end, a big question still remains: will Tarantino actually be able to retire from cinema, to detoxify from his drug, who addicted us too? Can his platonic love be inhibited by his selfish historical ambition? The thought that “Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino” will pop up on a screen only two more times makes me shudder. For the moment, we can only wait with trepidation for his next (final) two films, and, if possible, appreciate them even more, bearing in mind that the ecstasy spread by watching a new film by Tarantino is a feeling that will not last forever.