On Monday night, Quentin Tarantino was the recipient of the Museum of Modern Art’s annual filmmaker tribute. During the evening’s festivities, he was asked to name his most personal film and had no trouble deciding on Kill Bill. While fielding various hypothetical questions from The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Zakarin, Tarantino also discussed the age at which he thought film buffs should be introduced to his films. Although all of these films are rated R—and known for their brutal violence and risqué language—Tarantino believes that prospective fans should get started at a relatively early age. “I wouldn’t pick 17 as the starting point,” he said. “12, that’s the starting point.”
In a strange way, both of these anecdotes trace back to Tarantino’s mother Connie. Early in the writer-director’s career, he told several interviewers about her willingness to bring him to adult-themed films when he was a child. Before Tarantino turned 10, his mother had already taken him to see some of the most disturbing films of the era, including Deliverance, The Wild Bunch, and Carnal Knowledge. Compared to those very serious films, Tarantino’s colourful, generally lighthearted work would probably go down easy for most young filmgoers. At the very least, Tarantino knows that he would have had no trouble digesting these films in his youth.
While some may be surprised that he listed a stylized genre film pastiche as his most personal film, Tarantino has hinted in interviews over the years that The Bride might be a metaphorical tribute to another single mother: Connie. In this reading of Kill Bill, The Bride is Tarantino’s hard-working mom, doing whatever it takes to make sure her child is all right. I guess this makes Tarantino the B.B. character—his decision to make the character a girl discourages this reading, but Tarantino may have just been masking his intentions—and Bill is the illegitimate father Tarantino never met. It’s not a precise mirror of Tarantino’s story, but it provides a useful context through which to experience the film, particularly if you’re clued-in to other aspects of Tarantino’s biography.