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A History Teacher Laments 'Django Unchained'

Liz Dwyer

U.S. History teacher Larry Miller teaches his students "that resistance to slavery was pervasive" and ranged from the "open rebellion of Nat Turner" to "the daily acts of resistance that included work stoppages, slowdowns, and slow poisoning of plantation owners’ families." But all that's absent from Django which, says Miller, "reinforces just about every stereotype I tried to challenge in my history classes."

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  • soke

    I think people enjoy attacking it as well of defending it. I am an artist not a historian. I know Tarantino is dealing as much with the history of film as with a period in American history. To put Tarantino in a box and say he has to strictly adhere to history is to take the art away from film. Regardless, a movie two hours in length will not satisfy history, ever! I agree Eric, it has spurred many great reactions and it's interesting to note when they are on point or not.

  • ericjohnson.ehj

    I just believe that Tarantino knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe he overlooked some historical facts; who really knows. But as any true artist should do, Tarantino stirred the proverbial pot. He got people talking about something deeply engrained within our country's history, which is greatly overlooked, and not part of everyday conversation.

  • bergman84

    AMEN! People love defending Django as a film and I (kinda) get it but I think there is a responsibility of the filmmaker to at least put something out that is historically accurate. More importantly, I think the bigger issue I have is with all of these slave narratives being constantly directed and written by White males. I read an interesting review on http://extrabutterreviews.tumblr.com/ about Django and a comparison between Django and Lincoln.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Why do you think so?

      • ericjohnson.ehj

        I agree with his perspectives, as far as social injustices, and the historical inaccuracies of the film. but as inaccurate as the plot may be, I don't feel the film is necessarily meant to be interpreted in absolutes - like most art, I consider it allegorical. Calling Tarantino a racist however, just seems a bit drastic. And given both Foxx's and Jackson's participation in the film, being two very talented, intelligent black men, discredit's not only their craft but their intelligence, if they were to work with Tarantino, given that he were racist.

        • soke

          Totally agree. The film is a work of fiction, purposefully absurd and anachronistic. Trying to hold it up to history is ridiculous. Saying there was no black resistance in the film is equally comedic as Candyland is ultimately blown to smithereens.
          And Tarantino as a racist??? Oy veh.

        • bergman84

          I get what Eric is saying but I will say that he knew what he was getting into and he knew the attention it would garner. I don't think he's racist I just think he didn't think this one through. He made a Spaghetti Western about one of the most contentious topics in American History and didn't even make it accurate. That is a problem in my book.