Jackie Brown’s Modern-Day Setting Was A Challenge For Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro

One quality of “Jackie Brown” that does align with the traditional Quentin Tarantino film is that it is dialogue-driven. This posed the biggest roadblock for Guillermo Navarro considering the film’s realistic and modern-day setting. Navarro told American Cinematographer:

“The fact that this was a contemporary story had a lot to do with how I approached the style. Anything seen in everyday life is absent of the ‘magic’ of style due to one’s daily relationship to it. Interpretation is an ingredient one can sculpt with when addressing the future or the past, but not when dealing with a contemporary story that has strong doses of realism. This entire film takes place at locations everyone has a visual relationship to — such as a mall and an airport. There’s no interpretation that can cross the everyday vision of these places, so I had to take a very realistic approach. But being on location can be very difficult because [you’re] stuck with the space. Since the story is very dialogue-driven, it became complicated to execute some of the shots [in a visually interesting way].”

I understand Navarro’s point. I’ve seen movies in which airport and mall scenes were the most exciting scenes in the films. “Jingle All the Way,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger immediately comes to mind. But most of these movies were action or comedy movies that used the settings as prompts. Because Tarantino wanted to take a more realistic approach, the modern settings merely serve as backdrops for conversations and wasn’t glitzed with any of eye-popping aesthetics like, say the Jack Rabbit Slim’s restaurant in “Pulp Fiction,” for example.  

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