[WATCH] DANCE FOR ME: THE ‘FEMME FATALE’ IN ‘DEATH PROOF’

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One of the most-missed and blatantly obvious “homages” Quentin Tarantino has paid over the course of his illustrious career is the barroom dance scene in DEATH PROOF in which sultry Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) pops a quarter in the jukebox, cranks up some sax and basically grinds on Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) right there in front of everyone. A lot of folks don’t realize this is taken almost grind-for-grind from a Brian DePalma movie, and that’s because it’s not a very good Brian DePalma movie: FEMME FATALE.

This other film, starring Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn, is a neo-noir about a con woman trying to go straight and the usual trappings that come along with such things, and it’s not bad – it’s a very plausible if a tad flimsy and clichéd erotic-thriller starring two very beautiful people – it’s just not a good DePalma movie. You can get the same thing but better in BODY DOUBLE. This however, isn’t the point.

The point is, one of the clear highlights of FEMME FATALE is the dance scene between Romijn and Banderas, and it was that element Tarantino wanted to mimic in DEATH PROOF, that kind of open manipulation and display of seduction as power. And though Tarantino’s version involves less stripping, the intention is just the same. To illustrate exactly how similar the two scenes are, editor Candice Drouet has woven them together into a reflective braid, one moving in and out of the other and vice versa. As usual, Drouet not only succinctly proves her subject, she does it with a technical style and grace that is nothing short of hypnotic. Play this one loud.

And careful, this is probably NSFW for most folks.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist