Quentin Tarantino has famously said that he plans on retiring after making his 10th movie, but why did he decide that and will he really stop after that? Quentin Tarantino has become one of the most respected filmmakers in the industry thanks to his peculiar narrative and visual style as well as his generous doses of violence, which are generally justified and part of the overall stories he likes to tell. His filmography provides one of the most prestigious portfolios in cinema history with his movies like Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and so on.
The promise of stopping making movies after he reaches his tenth project is not new, so much that it’s brought up every time he announces and promotes a new movie. Because of this, the “10 movies” plan has been put into question many times and has even been labeled as a marketing ploy to draw attention and create anticipation for his future projects. What lies behind it is the subject of the short video above from Evan Puschak, better known as the Nerdwriter.
“I like the idea that there is an umbilical cord connected to my first film, all the way to my last, and that is my body of work,” says Tarantino in one of the interview clips included. “A bad film on the filmography affects good films.” Being known not just as a prominent director but an obsessive cinephile, Tarantino can surely name off the top of his head dozens of master filmmakers who allowed their own bodies of work to be blemished.
“Artists don’t always notice when their skills are flagging,” as Puschak puts it. “Tarantino is leaving early to prevent crossing that line unwittingly.” Though speculative, this notion has hardly been contradicted by the director’s own words. Puschak writes about the power of the oeuvre — an artist’s body of work taken as a whole, even as an artwork in itself — in his new book Escape into Meaning. The content of this video reflects only the first section of that essay, a meditation on what it means to consider everything a creator has made as a piece of an interconnected whole. The techniques, references, themes, and obsessions that recur prominently in Tarantino’s movies make his filmography practically invite such an analysis, as well the question asked by Puschak: “Can a well-designed filmography bestow greater meaning onto the films that make it up?” No matter how many more works Tarantino will make, and whatever form they take, the whole of his existing oeuvre assures us that all of them will be thoroughly Tarantinian.