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Quentin Tarantino’s Genius Camera Lens

Quentin Tarantino, a super popular director, loves making neo-noir violence movies and expressing his uniqueness through the camera lens. In his magnificent movies, he employs techniques that make people exclaim, “Oh! It must be directed by Tarantino!”

Through his camera lens, he succeeded to take several awards such as Palme d’Or, Saturn Award, BAFTA Awards, and Academy Award for his movies. According to The Quentin Tarantino Archives, Django Unchained won a Saturn Award for the best writing and Pulp Fiction won an Academy Award for the best director and best original screenplay.  A series of his awards could bring him into the alongside other best directors. 

Tarantino’s movie styles are telling stories about the lives of criminals. Besides how thrilling these movies are, Tarantino’s doing his job very well. His movies are becoming world wide as well as his name. Not only as a director, Tarantino also takes a role as script writer, an actor, and a producer. He absolutely can do anything like an expert. 

Besides that, his iconic rule for creating movies also depends on the way he directs the cameras. He loves taking low angles, extreme close-ups, and his trademark foot shot. People would easily recognize his masterpiece into notice the shots that he usually used. 

Trunk Shot in Pulp Fiction (1994). Coutresy by PremiumBeat

One of his famous techniques for creating super intimidating movie characters is the trunk shot. Tarantino introduces his movies’ main characters by having them look down on the viewers as they open a trunk. According to Premium Beat, Tarantino might not be the only expert at using this shot for his movies, but since he re-popularized this kind of shot, it has been widely used in TV series and movies.

Tarantino uses the trunk shot to depict the characters’ bad behavior and to make people wonder, “What is he actually putting inside the trunk?” In short, he’s a genius at raising questions and intimidating viewers simultaneously. Through the introduction via the trunk shot, Tarantino also develops the characters to be more evil and raw, as seen in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown.

Cited from Premium Beat, the use of the trunk shot is essential to make the characters look big, strong, and powerful, as the camera captures them from a low angle. It creates tension and intimidation, ensuring that the viewers clearly understand that the characters shown are evil.

Trunk Shot in Reservoir Dogs (1992). Courtesy by Indie Wrap

According to Far Out Magazine, the first trunk shot appeared in a movie titled He Walked By Night, directed by Alfred L. Werker. A police officer checks a trunk to find a dead body. This shot is used to conceal the dead body from the viewer’s perspective. Before Tarantino appropriated this trunk shot as his technique, he drew inspiration from George Miller, Tarantino’s favorite director, in 1985.

Finally, Tarantino employed a trunk shot in his movie debut, Reservoir Dogs. The characters emerge from the trunk and look down at the dead police officer. Additionally, viewers speculate, “What’s in the trunk?” “Who’s in the trunk?” or “Why is it in the trunk?”

Tarantino implies the trunk shot to his other movie, Pulp Fiction. In Pulp Fiction, Tarantino depicts the characters looking at the trunk to see their weapons. On the other hand, Tarantino also employs the trunk shot in Jackie Brown. In Jackie Brown, everything is approached differently. The character delivers the line, “I ain’t riding in the Goddamn trunk for no minute, man!” to emphasize the detail of the shot and not only to be shown in the movie.

Foot Shot in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). Courtesy by Wiki Feet

Not only the iconic trunk shot, it turns out that Tarantino has several types of shot. According to Far Out Magazine, another Tarantino’s popular shot is known as foot shot. For instance, in his 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino includes numerous foot shots featuring the character of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). In another movie called Kill Bill, Tarantino also uses this kind of shot. 

Since then, people assumed that Tarantino has a weird obsession with feet. In contrast, his way of taking a shot of feet is very aesthetic and captivating. Despite how weird the shot that people may see and think, Tarantino doesn’t stop using the foot shot. 

Tarantino doesn’t have any reason for using foot shots. According to his interview in GQ Magazine, “There’s a lot of feet in a lot of good directors’ movies,” Tarantino said. “That’s just good direction.” Additionally, he claimed that foot shot is not only used by him, then he mentioned the names of Sofia Coppola and Luis Buñuel as directors who love using foot shot in their movies.

People could easily recognize the foot shot as a trademark of Tarantino’s movies. This type of shot could represent the characterization of each character and depict their behavior and habits. For example, if the characters’ feet are clean, it may represent rich, gentle, and kind characters.

God’s Eyes Shot in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003). Courtesy by X/@OnePerfectShot

Moreover, Tarantino also uses God’s Eye view in his movies. This shot represents the bird or God’s views to the scenes. This shot is taken in a very high location and shows what is happening in a scene widely and offers viewers a more comprehensive understanding of the environment or events taking place. In some cases, a God’s eye view can make things feel lonely or disconnected because the camera looks down from above, like it’s floating above everything.

God’s Eye view is definitely not only used by Tarantino. This is a common shot that could be used by any director. For instance, in the movie titled The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Martin Scorsese, he provides a broad perspective and reinforces specific themes within the story. In The Wolf of Wall Street, the God’s eye view is used to depict the extravagance and excess in the lives of the main characters, as well as to illustrate the moral downfall and corruption behind the pursuit of wealth.

Extreme Close-Up Shot in Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004). Courtesy by Quora

Lastly, Tarantino loves using Extreme Close-Up Shot in his movies. This shot is used for conveying the characters’ emotions and feelings. In addition, this shot is used to convey what directors want viewers to know and understand. 

On the other hand, extreme close up is a shot that shows the detail of an object. For example, in a movie titled Kill Bill Vol. 1, Tarantino shot the fingers of The Bride (Uma Thurman) while she tapped her fingers on a telephone button. The focus is only to the fingers as one object. 

Not only convey the characters’ emotion, extreme close-ups also invite the viewers to feel the story of the movie. Through eyes, fingers, feet, or lips, they convey a message and pull the viewers in to dive deeper into the story. Even though Tarantino’s movies are thrilling and terrifying, it is a genius when Tarantino prioritizes feeling and emotion to create a wonderful masterpiece through the screen.

By employing these types of shots, Tarantino has succeeded in creating magnificent movies. His films are visually stunning, even though the themes he explores are often bloody, terrifying, and thrilling. The uniqueness he applies to all of his movies makes his artistic style easily recognizable.

On the other hand, he deserves to be mentioned as a great director alongside Hitchcock, Scorsese, and Wilder. His innovative ideas for creating fabulous movies influence people to watch his films, especially when they want to understand deeper into Tarantino’s unique shooting style.

Petricia Putri Marricy
IG: @mricyls

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