Quentin Tarantino considers the Confederate flag the “American swastika” – and feels it is “about damn time” people questioned its place in the American South.
His latest movie, The Hateful Eight, is set a few years after the American Civil War and puts the spotlight on strained race relations as a black Union soldier (Samuel L Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren) is thrown together with former Confederate soldiers – Walton Goggins as a South Carolinian sheriff and Bruce Dern as a General.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Tarantino said: “As we were making it, as the events of the last year and a half just kept happening, the movie became more relevant than we ever could have imagined.”
The United States has seen sustained racial unrest following the shooting of 18-year-old African American Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014.
Further incidents have stoked the fire, including the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, carried out by a white supremacist who had previously posed with the Rebel flag of the Confederate states.
Tarantino said: “All of a sudden, people started talking about the Confederacy in America in a way they haven’t before.
“I mean, I’ve always felt the Rebel flag was some American swastika. And, well, now, all of a sudden, people are talking about it, and now they’re banning it, and now it’s not OK to have it on f****** licence plates, and coffee cups, and stuff.
“And people are starting to question about stuff like statues of Bedford Forrest [the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard] in parks. Well, it’s about damn time, if you ask me.”
The director also addressed his notorious interview with Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy three years ago, when he lost his cool about a question suggesting a link between violence in his films and violence in real life.
Tarantino’s films, including Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs and now The Hateful Eight, include high levels of violence and brutality.
“I wasn’t going to give it to him,” he said. “But one of the things that backs up my point is that in the last 25 years, when it comes to industrial societies, hands down the most violent cinema that exists in any one country is Japan. Sometimes grotesquely so.
“And as we all know, they have the least violent society of all. It’s just right there.”