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Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino, 2003/2004

Uma Thurman as Beatrix/The Bride

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Intermezzo 10: Bettina

In her room overlooking the sea, she sitting on the bed and I in an armchair, we continued talking cinema.

̶  Say, she asked me, have you seen Kill Bill?
̶  Yes. One and two.
̶  Did you like it?
̶  Very much.
̶  That film threw me right back into my childhood!
̶  You were a ruthless killer, a girl hellbent on vengeance?
̶  Yes! I went to Lycée Saint-Louis de Gonzague. I was a débutante in a couturier dress and strapless bra. Went skiing in Gstaad. Hung out with a horde of cousins in Biarritz and Deauville.
̶  I see. You were a deprived child?
̶  Exactly!

The camber of her cheekbones, the arch of her eyebrows; the curve of her nostrils, the cut of her lips—a face of chiselled purity, serene and luminous.

̶  And how does Kill Bill come into it?
̶  Fantasy, Sprague. When I tried to figure out why I found this film such fun, I realized the Bride is everything I was in my adolescent imagination. To transgress freely, to be relieved of morality—that’s jubilation to a girl!

Subtlety and excess, intimacy and aloofness—beguiling, her beauty.

She continues:

̶ And her determination! That really moved me. That implacable will, drawn from her deepest self. The dignity and grace of her isolation.
̶ Her control of emotion?
̶ Yes, that’s part of it. The pitiless killing of Vernita Green. Her faithfulness to herself. Her vigilance—never lets her traumas return to defeat her. That’s what makes her touching.

I don’t want a somnambulist; she doesn’t want a supplicant: Is that why I feel her blood in my heartbeat? I say:

̶ Amazing, isn’t it, how a film with no obligations to reality can reflect reality so well?
̶ Yes. It’s pure cinema. It struck a chord in me, as a girl.

‘Philippe Ortoli’s book is simply the best book on Tarantino I’ve had occasion to read, in English and in French, and this by far.’ David Roche, Professor of Cinema, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Book review/synopsis (in French)