Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★★

Rewatching this, I feel like I need to retract my previous assertion that Django is best read as Quentin Tarantino's fantasy of blackness. Yes, QT wishes he were black, obviously. But Chrisoph Waltz's character here shows that he's aware that that's impossible. Dr. King rather condescendingly tutors Django on the importance of not 'breaking character' while dealing with plantation scumbags like Don Johnson and DiCaprio, but when it comes time to actually engage with the horror of slavery, he can't do it. Meanwhile, Django is able to sublimate his urges and his horror in order to save his wife. He's seen it, he's used to it, and, most importantly, he feels no need to demonstrate his moral superiority at the cost of lives and freedom. Dr. King, like Robert Penn Warren in his famous and obtuse interview with Malcolm X, can't get it through is thick white skull: it's not about YOU. In Dr. King Schultz, Tarantino has created a symbol of every white person (including himself) who ever wished to cross the racial divide in order to cleanse themselves of the taint of racial privilege. It's a nice enough urge, maybe, but at the end of the day, it doesn't make much difference to the actual black people who are trying to live a life.