I call up Proulx’s The Films of Quentin Tarantino on my iPhone, and ask him to walk me through the process of making it.
VIDEO: Proulx's tribute to Quentin Tarantino
“I did this one before I had DVD ripping software,” he laughs. “I shot it using a camera on a tripod.”
The montage starts with the “Our Feature Presentation” title card that Tarantino himself cribbed from some dusty reel to use at the beginning for Kill Bill. Then, more clever self-reference: a finger presses PLAY on a tape deck ... a reel-to-reel leaps to life ... another finger presses the volume button on a remote control ... a jukebox selects a record and sets it spinning as Steven Wright does his Reservoir Dogs DJ monologue over Bobby Womack’s soulful blaxploitation classic “Across 110th Street,” which was used to such great effect in Jackie Brown.
Proulx weaves together slow motion tracking shots that linger on the mugs of Tarantino’s hard-bitten anti-heroes — Harvey Keitel’s Mr. White, Bruce Willis’s Butch — before shifting sensually to his femmes fatale: Abernathy, O-Ren Ishii, Mia Wallace.
The montage continues, subtly teasing out minor themes of Tarantino’s work, such as the fetishization of raw steel: Zed’s motorcycle keys, the swords brandished by Butch and the Bride, the cigar-chomping duck hood ornament from Death Proof.
“And,” Proulx says as a rhythmic succession of toes wiggle to April March’s go-go beat, “there’s the foot fetish thing.”
Finally, Tomoyasu Hotei’s bracing wide-screen guitar instrumental “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” jolts the viewer with blaring horns. Pistol after pistol is leveled then fired. The denizens of Tarantino’s demimondes run in terror and peel out of parking lots and flip open secret suitcases.
“The action stuff is easy,” says Proulx of the director’s dynamic sense. “He has a lot of movement. There’s movement in every shot And this song is easy to cut anything to.”
But harder, safe to say, than Proulx makes it look.