Friday, August 23, 2019

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood - Out of Time

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. Brad Pitt (Cliff Booth), Leonardo DiCaprio (Rick Dalton) and Al Pacino (Marvin Schwarzs) prepare a deal at Musso & Frank Grill. Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. On location with Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. DP: Robert Richardson.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder playing Scott Lancer, Nicholas Hammond as director Sam Wanamaker, Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy playing Johnny Madrid Lancer.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. Julia Butters as Trudi Fraser.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood / Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.
    US/GB/CN © 2019 Visiona Romantica, Inc. D+SC: Quentin Tarantino. Original negative: 35 mm, 16 mm and 8 mm. 161 min
    Full credits: see Internet Movie Database.
    Released by Columbia Pictures, a Sony Company.
    US premiere 26 July 2019.
    Finnish premiere 16 Aug 2019, released by SF Studios with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Timo Porri / Saliven Gustavson.
    4K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi ISENSE, Helsinki, 23 Aug 2019.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is a new kind of a Tarantino film. It is the portrait of a loser, a has-been. It has general relevance as a picture of a world we knew vanishing abruptly from around us. An experience we are all too familiar with.

"Out of Time" by The Rolling Stones is one of the most poignant selections on the soundtrack of Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, set in the year 1969, fifty years ago.

Quentin Tarantino tells the story of a has-been, alcoholic actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his personal stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) facing the final days of old Hollywood.

New Hollywood is represented by Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate, expecting a baby. A promise of the future is also the child actor Trudi Fraser.

The Hollywood studio system had been in the doldrums throughout the decade, but television was booming, European film industry was in great health at Cinecittà for instance, and Hong Kong saw the growth of the third largest film industry in the world. All this is reflected in Tarantino's movie.

Big changes went on in Hollywood. The Production Code Administration (PCA) was abolished in 1968. A new youth culture and counterculture arrived, including a new kind of popular music. The Vietnam War, increasingly perceived as bad, reverberated deeply: it shook the image of the Good American.

In the popular culture of the 1960s, a new kind of protagonist became dominant. The anti-hero and the good-bad man had been present in the cinema since the beginning.

But in the 1960s there was a new edge to the anti-hero. James Bond and Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name were brutal and callous characters, cardboard figures without a pretense of psychological nuance and complexity.

There was a meta approach, a pop approach in films with such protagonists. They were beyond plausibility, realism and authenticity. They were beyond parody because they were about metamorphosing clichés. In a new way they were about themselves.

Which did not prevent them to be about the human condition, too. Popular cinema painted a ridiculous caricature of the world during the Cold War.

Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth are "all left out", "obsolete" and "out of touch without a doubt" with this fundamental change in popular culture, to quote the lyrics of "Out of Time".

A pop art approach is a source of Tarantino's sensibility, and in this movie he covers the seismic change when a new approach took over.

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