Golden Age

In his last film, Tarantino steps on the gaz direction 60’s Hollywood
and he awakens the dead.
Focus on a remarkably nostalgic film.

By Jacques Braunstein

Reading time 4 min.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood


In Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino brings Hollywood’s golden age to life a few monthes before the collapse of its Empire. He does so through the life of an actor of series a bit on the drunken side (Rick Dalton/ Leonardo DiCaprio) and his friend, stuntman  and jack of all trades (Cliff Booth/ Brad Pitt). Another world is arising: hippies hang out on the Strip, the actor is offered to shoot spaghetti westerns in Roma and the house next to his own is inhabited by Roman Polanski, new european idol of the industry, and his lovely wife and actress (Sharon Tate/ Margot Robbie).

As we might have figured out, the film is inspired from the murder of Sharon Tate by the Manson’s family, which the director revisits and blows up at the same time. What’s fascinating is the reconstitution of 60’s Los Angeles (and particularly of its traffic full of big shiny american cars and european race cars). But mostly the accumulation of films into the film, of series, trailers, reports, shooting scenes, posters and vintage artefacts that never look fake…

Tarantino can’t choose
between old and new Hollywood

Less chatty and efficient than Tarantino’s previous films (except in the final we won’t talk about), it’s a walk through the past and we like to hang out there. Especially as the version coming out today has been changed by the director who added up some scenes comapred to the original version screened in Cannes. Such as the one in which Sharon Tate drives a blach Porsche 911 on the Highways or the one in which Rick Dalton passes tests for The Great Escape. Tarantino can’t choose betwenn old and new Hollywood… Even though we suspect that the first one makes him even more nostalgic regarding the list of films to watch or watch again that he published along with the release of his film.

Yet, we associate Tarantino’s piece of work with New Hollywood and it’s even more charming to watch DiCaprio calling a hippie “Denis Hooper”, Easy Rider‘s director, considered as one of the films that revolutionized American cinema. And he also takes advantage of it to establish connections we would never have imagined. The director is crazy about cinema in theatres (he owns one in Los Angeles) and 70 mn film roll, which shows a certain interest and nostalgia for 50’s and 60’s shows like Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Green Hornet. By the way, his film The Hateful eight is proposed under the shape of a mini-serie (with 20 minutes more) on Netflix USA.

The end of Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood like the ends of Inglourious Basterds et Django Unchained have already been a topic of discussion. His detractors blaming him again to rewrite history. But the history will outlive Tarantino’s films, for better or for worse. The mission that the director ascribes to cinema is more global. To him cinema is here to fix life. Just like we take shelter in theatres in order to forget what’s wrong in our lives, in Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Los Angeles still has its colours of 1969, studios are always here and old and New Hollywood gather around a drink to imagine a dream cinema whose Tarantino is a child. And not the lonely virtuoso he is today.

See also

2 February 2021

Emile Brami (Louis-Ferdinand Céline et le cinéma)


Abel Gance, Roger Vadim, Jean-Luc Godard : they all dreamt to adapt Journey to the end of the night for the screen. But Louis-Ferdinand Céline's masterpiece, published in 1932, is…

16 April 2021

Olivier Babinet, co-director of Robert Mitchum is Dead


Somewhere Else and Dulac Cinémas join forces to bring you a weekly selection of films. This week, meet Olivier Babinet. The director, a former ad man whose latest feature film,…