Django Unchained – 2012


The Message

The deeper meaning of the film is sometimes misinterpreted with the idea that the film denies the integrity of what happened in the past. For instance, making it seem unrealistic that there was no actual hero in the past that would rescue their wife. But perhaps there was once a hero but the story was never told, instead of regarding it as a fairytale movie of a black man in a cowboy attire. (Reed, 2013).

  • The Truth

Perhaps Tarantino’s main message was to appeal to the present, and not just what had happened in the past. The blacks were at the bottom in regards of equality and social order and are still at the bottom even today. He shows an emphasis on things that had happened years ago are still present and people are living in a cycle of humanity.

This film is about racism with the support of slavery during the pre-Civil War in America. It is an historical fantasy of postmodernism revealing Blaxploitation in western genre. Not leaving out the obvious scenes of violence, brutality and inhumanity.

The great amount of violence used in the film is questioned as is it really necessary to reveal this to current viewers that already know the history of the slaves. Which comes down to showing the audience how brutalized the slaves were carried out and people can relate more or sympathise when it is visualised rather than read or spoken from word of mouth. The audience can experience it for themselves.

There is also a question towards the use of language. Tarantino makes use of the n-word ‘nigger’ in his films. Some critics such as Spike Lee, perceive Tarantino as a racist as how he structures his characters. The question of, if the n-word was not used, is it possible that Django Unchained would have lost its actual meaning that Tarantino is trying to send to the audience. However the most unique question to ask is why does a film such as this exist? Why is there a lot of controversial and hype around this kind of film?

The answers to the above questions can be answered: the reason why there are constant debates and questions surrounding a film like this is because people have been and still are living in a racist society. Racism has been an ongoing battle for many decades and it continues to drag along in the mud. It is not only an ‘American’ racial issue but a worldwide racial issue (Reed, 2013).

  • Racism

Looking closely at the whites in this film, there is a scene in which an offensive slave owner, Calvin Candie, offers his guests dessert; a slice of ‘white cake’ with the notion that he only prefers white cake and only associates himself with white people. In this scene, Candie is surrounded by white women, eating white cake and has a white house which becomes a mask of who he is, a white racist.

At the end of the film, Django makes it clear to get rid of every white slaver and destroys Candie’s perfect white house. The explosion of the white house indicates the rage and loss of the slaves and black people that revenge is paid back to those that overruled them and took advantage. The whole slavery system is bound to come crumbling down. Although, it is not over entirely for black people and other races that are oppressed but an individual or group of activists always seem to step up and fight the battle of racism (Reed, 2013).


*Reed, A. Jr. (2013). Django Unchained, or, The Help: How “Cultural Politics” Is Worse Than No Politics at All, and Why? Available: http://nonsite.org/feature/django-unchained-or-the-help-how-cultural-politics-is-worse-than-no-politics-at-all-and-why



Since it is a celebration of a woman’s month, lets look at one of the films that embrace the victory of women. Alice in wonderland.


Alice shows the interpretation of not an ideal Victorian young woman but rather a rebellious, confused and unpredictable teenager. During this Victorian period, Alice’s character would have been seen as a disgrace and disrespects her tradition. The author, Carroll, poses intentions to show how women can either choose their own paths or to conform to what society (Victorian) finds acceptable. Auerbach also identifies Alice as not the presentable example of a Victorian girl. (Carroll, 1968: 63).

Alice is more intrigued in the fantasy world and is uncomfortable with the classic appeal of looking formal and secure. She has little memory of her childhood which seems to be wiped out and she believes that whatever she can remember is from a dream as it is too unreal to believe. She is confused and lost in the beginning of her journey but eventually overcomes obstacles that make her a new version of what a woman is.

The Victorian world was rather boring and formal for Alice’s imagination; the fantasy world excited her and is different from what she knows. She feels stagnated in a world of submissiveness that her mother tries to prepare her for and to marry like any other Victorian girl. The decisions she makes from abandoning the altar and following The White Rabbit leads her to the unknown and her rise of curiosity builds up once she falls in the hole. She shocks the crowd that she left behind, which is not seen as appropriate for a female to reject and question the “male domination”. Making her own decisions expose the truth that females are capable of thinking and doing as they please just like men do. (Rickard, 2010).

Despite the actions of Alice rebelling against Victorian society, she is conscious of this and reality hits her once she makes sense of what is happening around her with her friends in Underland. She becomes conscious and determine to continue the journey that seems dangerous and more suitable for a male figure. Instead she shows the growth of female consciousness from feeling inferior, lost and uncertain to bravery, ambition and self-confidence.

There are some stereotypes throughout the story. The Victorian society chose to not acknowledge that women are capable of acting and thinking for themselves, they had to conform to what the male species wanted or desired. Females were rather thought of as weak and less important. Society has played a role in carrying on the tradition of being submissive and turning it into a norm. At the end of the day women have the decision to both act and think with their own desires like Alice or to be what society expects them to be. (Thessayist, 2011).


Rickard. E.  (2010). Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is Almost a Great Feminist Fairytale. Available: http://www.genderacrossborders.com/2010/03/21/tim-burtons-alice-in-wonderland-is-almost-a-great-feminist-fairytale/

Thessayist. (2011). Alice In Wonderland- Reinforcing Victorian Gender Stereotypes. Available: http://www.articlesbase.com/literature-articles/alice-in-wonderland-reinforcing-victorian-gender-stereotypes-4569416.html