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Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Debuts at Cannes

At last, Sharon’s story converges with that of Rick and Cliff. Until then it’s all easy and breezy, and not especially urgent, with lots of yammer, walls hung with exploitation-film posters and amusingly foregrounded shots of bare female feet. Then abruptly the mood and tone shift with a visit to Manson’s lair at the Spahn Movie Ranch, a bravura sequence with soaring crane shots, galloping horses and a chattering Lena Dunham (!) that fills the movie with dread. When Dakota Fanning bares her fangs and a squeaky rodent announces her name before it’s uttered, the film feels headed straight toward hell — and you’re not sure you want to ride along anymore.

Joan Didion famously wrote that “many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the ’60s ended abruptly on Aug. 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brush fire through the community, and in a sense this is true.” I wonder what Tarantino might think of that sentiment; not much, I imagine, given that one day he would grow up, live in Los Angeles and chase a dream of Hollywood. He would have been 6 when Tate was murdered. The sympathy that he shows for her isn’t surprising, and neither is the adoration expressed toward Polanski, who’s largely a marginal character but also symbolically important.

When Rick enthuses about Polanski, it is hard not to hear Tarantino’s voice in the character’s excitement. For a long time, Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) seems like a near-cartoon of a familiar Hollywood success story: the wildly talented director with a beautiful actress-wife and a wide open future as well as a string of fabulous critical and box office successes. In some ways, Polanski reads like a tragic variation on

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/movies/quentin-tarantino-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood.html

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