As a lover of cinema from across the globe, American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has eclectic tastes for pretty much every genre and filmmaker. Working in a video store throughout his youth, the young director gathered an invaluable database of knowledge of cinema that he has since utilised throughout each of his 11 feature films, from Reservoir Dogs to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Preferring to simply watch and learn from cinema instead of attending film school, Tarantino became a student of cinema in every sense of the word, building a love for every genre as he learnt from the masters of the art form. Speaking to The Talks about his ability to retain such knowledge, he comments, “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it”.
As a result, Tarantino has been able to become proficient in almost every area of genre, covering westerns in Django Unchained, war in Inglourious Basterds and even romance in the form of his screenplay for Tony Scott’s True Romance. In fact, there’s not much that Tarantino regrets at all, particularly as anything he wants to make he will get funding for. Though, with that being said, there was one project that evaded his grasp.
Speaking in a recent interview with Dana Carvey on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tarantino revealed that there is one Japanese action movie which he has long adored, wishing that he had helmed the cult classic.
“I’m a big fan of the Japanese movie Battle Royale, which is what Hunger Games was based on, well Hunger Games just ripped it off. That would have been awesome to have directed Battle Royale,” he told the host, praising the 2000 Kinji Fukasaku movie whilst slyly backhanding the Lionsgate franchise The Hunger Games.
Written by Suzanne Collins in 2008, The Hunger Games was popularised in 2012 when it was made into a Hollywood movie, placing Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role of a teenage girl who volunteers for a brutal death match ahead of her younger sister selected from a ballot. Highlighting how the tools of fear and consumerism can be used to control a population in real life, Collins’ story offers a critique of the exploitation of capitalist society, making money off the back of those less fortunate.
We would argue that the themes of the film differ from that of the 2000 film Battle Royale, a story that Tarantino insists The Hunger Games is based on, particularly as Collins claims she’d “never heard of” the film at the time, as stated to the New York Times.
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku and based on the 1999 manga, the brutal Japanese tale takes a harder line on the battle royale concept, though features a similar story about a group of young people forced to brutally kill each other as a punishment for the bad behaviour of the nation’s youth.
See the clip, below.