Classic rock and roll of the 20th century stood firmly against the imminent commercialisation of music. With its own liberal philosophy demanding an end to worldwide greed, rock music insisted on a love for all humankind, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
The maintenance of such a philosophy along with the exploration of alternative, experimental music typifies the very best rock groups of all time, including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division and Prince. Similar rules apply when considering the very best films that portray the world of rock and roll, with an appreciation for the spirit, style and attitude of the genre a necessity in order to be considered among the greats.
In many ways, Quentin Tarantino can be recognised as eliciting this same counter-cultural energy, having consistently garnered a similar rock and roll following due to his stylish filmmaking techniques as well as his own love for classic music. Celebrated for his use of music in his films and his repeated combination of songs from the 1960s and 1970s, for Tarantino, the music choice begins whilst writing the script.
“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie,” Tarantino explained in a booklet that came alongside The Tarantino Connection, a collection of soundtrack songs from his films. Though when it comes to filmic inspiration, the director turns to Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s Performance, a film he notes as “one of the best rock movies of all time”.
His impassioned explanation of his love for Performance comes in the form of an indent that came before the film’s screening on Sky Indie during a curated season of Tarantino’s favourite movies. Elaborating on his appreciation of the film, the filmmaker comments, “This is the bad side of the psychedelic ’60s dream,” he said, before adding: “One of the things I’ve always loved about this film is James Fox’s performance”.
Continuing, he states, Fox, “Actually gives my favourite British gangster performance of that type, and what’s really interesting is I read an interview with James Fox where…he said that ‘he didn’t know anybody like this, this was a complete figment of his imagination’ how he built the character but it is actually one of the best British gangster, cockney killers in the history of cinema”.
For a director with such a great taste in music, and of course in cinema, the opinion of Quentin Tarantino is one that we hold in high esteem.
Performance has just leapt up our watchlist.