The 'Fesser and the cinetrix finally saw Kill Bill Vol. 1 tonight [it was free, still my favorite price]. And yes, the gore, the fixation with Uma's feet, the general excellence of Go-Go--all present and accounted for, as the reviewers promised.
In the film, the protagonist, The Bride, travels from one Asian city to the next via the fictious carrier Air-O. This is an airline with such a liberal carry-on policy that passengers can travel with their samurai swords at their sides--not even under the seat or in an overhead bin. [Guess the threat of items shifting during flight becomes a little more compelling when there's the risk of even a sheathed sword clocking you on the head.]
All this air travel got me to thinking. What do you suppose Air-O's in-flight movie would be?
A strong case could be made for the Sonny Chiba oeuvre, sure. Yes, yes, of course the Shaw Brothers kung-fu flicks. Thank you, honorable representative from the nation of film geeks. Get back to me once you've kissed a girl. Speaking of geeks willing to show off their extensive... knowledge, you can't whirl two feet in any direction, with or without the aid of wires, without someone pointing out that Kill Bill's plot is similar to Truffaut's excellent 1968 revenge noir The Bride Wore Black. Well, duh.
But I'd like to suggest another film that should have Air-O passengers ponying up for headsets: Jean-Luc Godard's 1966 Made in U.S.A. Maybe Vidiots has a copy? They're hard to come by. The cinetrix was fortunate enough to catch a private morning screening of this elusive title at Anthology maybe seven years ago.
It is virtually impossible to glean the plot of Made in U.S.A. or follow the dialogue, although Godard said he intended to make a version of The Big Sleep [itself famously shambling] with Anna Karina as the detective. Female in a male role, intentionally incoherent narrative, numerous references to other movies, a bright color palette--sound familiar?
OK, you can chalk up these resemblances to coincidence. But what to make of the direct steal from Godard's film in the early sequence in which the Bride tracks Vernita Greene to her Pasadena home, looking to right past wrongs? In the midst of the deathmatch, Vernita's young daughter arrives home from school. The two battling women attempt to pass off their destroyed surroundings as the work of the family dog and their relationship as that of old friends.
Here's the thing. Every time Vernita [or indeed anyone in Kill Bill] says the Bride's real name, some [extra-]diegetic sound covers it up and makes it impossible to decipher. The same thing happens in Made in U.S.A. In her search for her ex-boyfriend's murderer, Anna Karina encounters any number of people who tell her who the murderer is. And every time, Godard throws a gun shot or other sound effect onto the soundtrack, obscuring the killer's identity.
Trust me on this one. Remember, Quentin named his production company A Band Apart, a play on Godard's film Bande à Part. I'm just saying.