Even though many people accuse Quentin Tarantino of stealing from other filmmakers, nobody can deny the fact that the American director has a burning passion for the world of cinema. Starting out as a video store clerk where he was introduced to all kinds of films which ranged from foreign cult classics to mainstream comedies, Tarantino has transformed into a global icon due to his famous projects like Pulp Fiction.
In addition to his memorable contributions to the history of cinema, Tarantino is also responsible for introducing American audiences to foreign filmmakers. Due to his periodic spotlights on world cinema, western viewers became familiar with Asian cinema. Tarantino acknowledged the brilliance of many contemporary Asian filmmakers, including the likes of Wong Kar-wai and Bong Joon-ho.
“It’s not just samurai films that I like — Ishiro Honda (Gojira) is my favourite science-fiction director,” Tarantino once declared in an interview with the Japan Times where he discussed his intense passion for Japanese cinema. “I even like — in fact, I’m quite enamoured with — the whole Nikkatsu (studio) roman poruno thing (’70s, big-budget adult movies).”
Adding, “I almost can’t believe that that existed in cinema! The way they did it in the ’70s, where they’re real movies with real actors. The woman who played the proprietor in Kill Bill (Yuki Kazamatsuri), she was a roman poruno actress. I saw a couple of her films and I thought they were fantastic! Even the fact that the genitals were blurred out actually made it work even more.”
Ishiro Honda was a pioneering Japanese filmmaker who was the co-creator of the famous Godzilla series which gained immense popularity as well as formed an indispensable part of cinematic history. Honda had a seminal influence on the kaiju (monster) genre, with many modern filmmakers borrowing from his unforgettable cinematic constructs.
In an interview, Honda recalled how he was drawn to cinema from an early age: “Sitting in a theatre watching a film up on the screen: that was what I lived for. I never once thought about leaving the world of film. When I got back from the war, I had spent much more time in the army than I had working in the studio. When I came back, I had to start over from scratch.”
“When I was coming back from the war, as the army was returning after our final defeat, we passed through Hiroshima,” Honda said. “Back then, it was said that, for the next 72 years, not a single blade of grass would grow there—and that really stayed with me.”
Continuing, “So I have a kind of hatred of nuclear weapons. It’s horrifying to make such terrible weapons and use them on one city and then another. It was that feeling, for me as a director, that meant I didn’t hesitate one bit to make Godzilla come alive in the film.”