Quentin Tarantino did not only draw on Bande à part by Jean-Luc Godard. He was also marked by the Aristocats!
The frenzied twist between Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) in a diner scene in the heart of pulp Fiction has quickly become cult since its release in 1994. Who has not taken up, on a dance floor, the movements of the duo’s swimmers, mimicking holding their noses to dive into the water or swimming the crawl?
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At the time, Quentin Tarantino did not hide his inspiration: this memorable choreography to the tune of “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry was partly drawn from Keeping to himself, by Jean-Luc Godard, a film whose name he also borrowed when founding his production company. Many viewers also recognized similarities with 8 ½ by Federico Fellini. But did you know that you noticed the influence of Aristocats ?
Ten years ago, the filmmaker quoted BBC this classic Disney studios, released in 1971 at the cinema, as one of the major inspirations of this scene of pulp Fiction : “When Vince twists, I wanted him to be quite stiff. But when Mia twists, I was more imagining Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cat in The Aristocats.” Uma Thurman was therefore invited to dance on the model of Duchess!
Quentin Tarantino was looking for a certain fluidity in Mia’s dance, a side “feline” that the actress has perfectly transcribed. John Travolta also proposed to mix several dance styles, not to confine himself to a classic twist, which the director accepted. “I told him : ‘Listen, at 8 years old, I won a twist contest, I know all the versions. But in my opinion, you should add other popular dances of the time’“, he said in 2014 in the French version of Vanity Fair. “So I said to him: ‘I’ll teach them to Uma and when you want us to change gears, just ask.’“
And this is how one of the most famous choreographies in the history of cinema was born!
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