ninety-nine percent

watching django unchained was nothing like the hobbit.
peter jackson gave us transformers in middle earth, as muebles pasayo put it.
i could only describe it as a visual enema.

but django, now that was a richer experience.
and the character played by dicaprio steals the show.
calvin candie. what an american portrait!

Picture 1

at one point he delivers a soliloquy about a family slave ‘ben’ who had served three generations of candies. during the soliloquy he delivers the movie’s money line, asking why, considering the odds and the ratios of white to black residents on his plantation, why don’t the slaves just kill the slaveowners? It is delivered with a fleeting reference to a short story by herman melville titled benito cereno. benito cereno has always been one of my favorite stories for its agonizing tension and its craft.

dicaprio as candie remembers how ben used to lovingly shave the elder candie every morning with a razor at his throat. of course that is the same predicament in which the chilean captain cereno finds himself as the narrator, captain delano, begins to discover the plot afoot on cereno’s ship.

razor to the neck

delano is no more or less racist than his contemporaries but the language is hard to read today due to its stereotypes and overtones. django takes stereotypes and overtones then microwaves them right into your lap. not just hard to watch but designed to make all audiences squirm. i looked away at least a dozen times, and i don’t consider myself particularly squeamish at movies.

but i kept coming back to candie’s remark about why didn’t the slaves just kill the white folks. there is a bumper sticker that says if the 99% vote then the 1% won’t matter. i guess those two mysteries will continue to bug me…


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