Auteurist Socio-Cultural Critique: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight as Historical Present

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Twenty-four years and eight films into his career, differing arrays of people are still drawn to Quentin Tarantino and his films. When viewers encounter “written and directed by Quentin Tarantino,” there are certain expectations that accompany these words. In his classic essay “What Is an Author?,” Michel Foucault claims “that an author’s name is not simply an element in a discourse (capable of being either subject or object, of being replaced by a pronoun and the like); it performs a certain role with regard to narrative discourse, assuring a classificatory function” (107). Following Foucault’s thinking, I associate Tarantino’s name with a particular style or mode of filmmaking, because audiences, no matter the racial or gendered dynamics, have granted Tarantino the opportunity to explore his representation of America. Most recently, by immersing a predominantly white male American audience in his depictions of United States society and culture, Tarantino’s films confront white America’s perceptions and epistemologies of American history.

Tarantino’s America is violent, seedy, and vulgar. His films take mainstream, white mainstream audiences into a world vastly different from their own comfortable spaces, through his use of traditionally unrelateable characters...