From The Washington Post
Uma Thurman was on the last days of filming the vicious revenge fantasy “Kill Bill” when the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, told her to perform a driving stunt herself. Told by a crew member that the car wasn’t safe, Thurman balked. Tarantino was “furious, because I’d cost them a lot of time,” Thurman told the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd in a devastating interview published over the weekend. QT, as he’s known to his fans, finally reassured her that the car was safe and the road was straight, but not without a dose of intimidation. “ ‘Hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way,’ ” he threatened, “ ‘and I’ll make you do it again.’ ”
She complied. Then she proceeded to crash the car, resulting in what she says is permanent damage to her neck and “screwed-up knees.” Thurman’s recollection of her “dehumanization to the point of death” was part of a larger story that included coercive, violent encounters with “Kill Bill’s” producer and Tarantino’s chief champion, Harvey Weinstein. Her experience provides yet another glimpse inside a particular brand of toxic masculinity: a deference to auteur-worship that, as Thurman’s case demonstrates, can have literally deadly consequences and is just as unhealthy on-screen as off.
Since the accusations of harassment and criminal sexual abuse against Weinstein and the ensuing cascade of similarly unsettling allegations broke last fall, filmgoers have been invited to consider — and reconsider, and re-reconsider — how or whether to separate the art from the artist. But Tarantino’s alleged behavior on the “Kill Bill” set for two specific scenes, during which he also reportedly spit in Thurman’s face and choked her with a chain, suggests we’ve been asking the right question in the wrong way. The problem isn’t separating the art from the artist, but the compulsion to conflate-and-inflate the two, accepting weak, substandard and otherwise objectionable films simply because they bear the signature of filmmakers garlanded with awards, consensus critical esteem and the respect that accrues with an established oeuvre.
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