There is no director working today that is quite as eccentric and culturally adored as Quentin Tarantino, a truly strange filmmaker with an eclectic taste in world cinema. Often inspired by the vast landscape of independent cinema, Tarantino has been known to borrow soundtracks, visual motifs and more from the likes of directors Toshiya Fujita and Sergio Leone, as well as composer Ennio Morricone.
Tarantino has a particular love for Japanese cinema, often citing the violence of Takashi Miike, samurai classics of Akira Kurosawa and modern classics of the late Kinji Fukasaku among his very favourite films and directors. So enamoured is the director by the Japanese culture that he took a small role in Takashi Miike’s film Sukiyaki Western Django in which the director appears as a Clint Eastwood-inspired gunslinger.
The allure of the hypnotic role was simply too good for Quentin Tarantino to turn down, as he explained in an interview with Reuters upon the release of the film. Speaking to the publication, he stated, “I’ve always loved Japanese films so much, and so it’s always been a desire of mine to actually work in a Japanese movie for the Japanese film industry — to see what it’s like, and the differences because I always just embrace stuff like that. But to actually do it with what I consider one of the greatest directors living today, Miike-san, is actually a dream come true”.
Appearing in Sukiyaki Western Django wouldn’t be the filmmaker’s only appearance on Japanese TV screens, however, with Quentin Tarantino also appearing on the small screen in a bizarre commercial. What is the advert for you ask? The release of a new Tarantino movie? A new line of movie memorabilia? No, the product that Quentin Tarantino helped to endorse was a small speaker in the shape of a dog.
Whilst we’re not entirely sure what exactly is going on in the surreal commercial, what we can make out is Quentin Tarantino sporting a black Hakama whilst throwing kung-fu style shapes in someone’s living room. Presumably showing off the capabilities of the speaker itself, ‘Dance of the Knights’ by Sergei Prokofiev plays before a phone call comes through the speaker that seems to be from Quentin Tarantino’s girlfriend, prompting him to run out the room.
It’s certainly a strange role to see the iconic director portraying, though it does fit in line with an outlandish personality that often sees him showing up in the most unlikely scenarios, displaying an eccentric personality. Such can be illustrated by his mental introductory speech that saw him welcome George Romero to the stage at the 2009 SCREAM awards. “Heart-stopping violence, explosive bloodshed, undead flesh-eaters and dismembered ghouls. That’s right! I’m talking about all the shit we love in film and all the finer things in this goddamn life!” he shouts on stage to the cheers of the baying crowd.
Take a look at the strange Japanese commercial below and marvel at the acting of one of Hollywood’s finest ever filmmakers.