'Reservoir Dogs' director to open cinema to showcase blaxploitation and kung fu films

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Quentin Tarantino, the self-proclaimed geek director whose work is littered with references to the obscure cult movies that have inspired him, is to open his own cinema dedicated to his favourite films.

As fans of the film-maker play "spot the reference" in his latest blockbuster, Kill Bill, Tarantino has finally found an outlet where he can indulge his obsession with spaghetti westerns, "blaxploitation" and "chopsocky" kung-fu movies.

He is in negotiations to lease the vacant King Hing cinema in the Chinatown district of his native Los Angeles, which he hopes to transform into a showcase for the low-budget, ultra-violent films he grew up on.

Tarantino has long been open about his penchant for "borrowing" character names, lines of dialogue and even entire scenes from other films.

Reservoir Dogs, his first full-length movie, culminates with a "Mexican stand-off" sequence lifted straight from the climax of the classic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in which each of the surviving protagonists is pointing a gun at one of the others. The film is also said to have drawn heavily on City of Fire, a little-known Asian thriller - a genre that provided much of the inspiration for Kill Bill.

Should Tarantino open his cinema, it will give a hitherto deprived public the chance to see such long-forgotten "gems" as Duel of the Iron Fist, They Call Her One Eye, Lady Snowblood and Goke, Bodysnatcher from Hell. Also on the bill could be another of Tarantino's favourite schlock kung-fu films, Master of the Flying Guillotine, whose tagline at the time of its 1975 release read: "It's a mean machine - cuts your head off clean!"

Tarantino's efforts to find new audiences for his favourite films do not end there. He is in talks with the Hong Kong-based film company Celestial Pictures to set up a cable television station dedicated to cult martial arts fare.

News of the director's proposal to reinvigorate the neglected King Hing cinema on a diet of pulp "classics" has emerged in comments made to Variety magazine by George Yu, executive director of the Los Angeles Chinatown Business Council. He said: "Hopefully he'll sneak in a Kill Bill every now and then."

Tarantino is not the only famous film-maker who is reported to be planning to open his own cinema. Francis Ford Coppola, the Oscar-winning director of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now, is overseeing the renovation of the Uptown Theater in Napa, an Art Deco film-house.

Hollywood appears to have welcomed Tarantino's plans with open arms. Steven Gaydos, executive editor of Variety, said: "In reopening this cinema he will be going into an area of Los Angeles that a lot of his fans wouldn't normally venture into, and if they go there to watch some of these films, the knock-on effect may well be to help rejuvenate the area."

While Tarantino's cinema promises a new lease of life for his more quirky and esoteric favourites, it remains to be seen whether he will use it as an excuse to dust the cobwebs off all of them. Among his more mainstream influences are the second Indiana Jones film, The Temple of Doom, and Dead Poet's Society, where Robin Williams first vied for the title of Hollywood's king of schmaltz.

Additional reporting by Hannah Forbes Black

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