Excitement was high yesterday at the Glasgow Film Theatre, where a crowd of fans were waiting with their tickets to a special advance screening of Death Proof due to be attended by Quentin Tarantino himself. A longtime supporter of the work done by the GFT, which works to support independent film makers, Tarantino had specially requested to attend the event. However, a group of demonstraters who petitioned the fans while they waited wished to make it clear that he was not welcomed by them.
"We feel very strongly about the film being shown here at the GFT. We find it very surprising that they're prepared to show this film purely as entertainment," said Catherine Harper of Scottish Woman Against Pornography, who confirmed that she has seen it. "We do not think that it's acceptable to be having movies where women are stalked as prey and then tortured and murdered."
Asked how she felt about the strong female characters in the film and the way they take revenge on the murderous Stuntman Mike in the second half, Harper responded "I think that's spurious. The reality of women's lives is living in fear about these issues. We live in an image based culture and the ideas that are in these films will be in people's heads as entertainment. We particularly object to the Number One Rapist doll that Tarantino has made based on a character in one of these films."
The doll in question is an action figure based on Tarantino's character in Planet Terror, the second segment of the Grindhouse anthology which begins with Death Proof. So do SWAP object to Tarantino in particular?
"We're not against Tarantino. He's a pornographer like the rest of them, making huge amounts of money out of this, but the fact that it's getting critical acclaim in the film world makes us very worried." Harper said.
So how did the GFT, which Harper commended for its previous work in support of women's rights, feel about the demonstration? "We fully support their right to protest but we also support the GFT's right to show films which have been passed by the BBFC." said Head of Cinemas Allison Gardener. "We're delighted that Tarantino is coming back to the GFT. We've supported his work from the start of his career and we're happy to do so."
And what about the man himself? Arriving slightly late, having spent the afternoon signing autographs for hundreds of fans, Tarantino seemed daunted by the sight of the protests. "There's no shame on my movie," he insisted. "It's not me who should be ashamed. It's them."