Django Kill is a surreal, gothic vision starring Tomas Milian as The Stranger, a half-breed bandit left for dead by his doublecrossing gang members. Rising from the grave, he sets about seeking revenge, aided by a pair of mystic Native Americans and armed only with a pistol and a supply of golden bullets. His quest leads him to a strange town called ‘The Unhappy Place’ where he is plunged into a bizarre world of gruesome torture, mindless violence, sexual depravity and unfathomable madness. Courtesy of Argent Films and in collaboration with the Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds.
Django Kill was created by Giulio Questi and Kim Arcalli as a crazy generic experiment. Questi defines the film in just three words: ‘sweat, dust and blood’. For the actor Tomas Milian, Django Kill is an ‘auteur film’: ‘It was like working with Antonioni, in a way, because Questi is a revolutionary intellectual. He has been an assistant director, a screenwriter, everything’. Seen today, Django Kill can be regarded as one of the genre’s masterpieces and it remains Questi and Arcalli’s best movie. A lot of the film’s success lies in its direction and editing. It was supposed to be a commissioned assignment but soon the duo ran wild and the result was something completely different and anarchic.
Questi remembers: ‘It was one of the many movies produced by one of those little filmmaking ‘adventures’, people producing the worst Roman cinematographic rubbish… an ex-bankrupt started producing, and when he ran out of capital he partnered with a butcher who had a lot of money.’ And this producer convinced Questi to do a western, which would be written by the director and his friend Franco Arcalli. ‘We had an idea so we began writing Django Kill immediately. It was a very intense job. It was a commissioned movie. Our creativity was born out of our desperation. We wanted to escape the genre. We had the intention to manipulate the genre in a pop art kind of way.’ Questi would also recall the historic-political origins that underpin the film. ‘It was a very authentic movie for me and that’s because I wanted to talk about my experiences during the resistance war in the mountains, when I fought in Valtellina.’
From Dizionario del Western all’Italiana by Marco Giusti (2007, Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori).
Translated by Marco Brunello and Lee Broughton.
BBFC Cert 15.