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Page 3 Profile: Quentin Tarantino, director of Django unchained


So the director of spectacularly violent cult classics is back?

Over his 24-year Hollywood career, Quentin Tarantino has certainly gained a reputation as America's bloodiest director. His latest film, Django Unchained, is no exception. And, like Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Bastards before it, his homage to the spaghetti western has quickly divided opinion.

For many it has proved too violent, and too openly racist, to be an enjoyable cinematic experience. On hearing that the film used the "N" word more than 100 times, rival director Spike Lee tweeted: "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honour Them." One of Tarantino's stars, Samuel L Jackson, has also objected to parts of the script.

So it's been a rocky start for Tarantino's latest?

That's not the half of it. Hollywood executives had already been forced to cancel the movie's premiere after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was considered too violent to be celebrated so soon after 20 children and six adults died in the shooting.

Not one to keep silent, the 49-year-old director drew a barrage of criticism when, reacting to the news, he told reporters that the issue of Hollywood's portrayal of violence was beginning to tire him. "I just think, you know, there's violence in the world, tragedies happen. Blame the playmakers," he said. "It's a western. Give me a break."

So Django Unchained was a box office flop?

Not at all. In fact, the film is proving hugely popular among African American cinemagoers. According to one survey, black people initially made up 42 per cent of the audience. It was the second highest-grossing film at the US box office last weekend, securing $30.7m, just behind Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We'll see in two weeks how it performs here.