The Western- Spaghetti and Sukiyaki

Django and Sukiyaki Western Django both fall under the well-known Western genre, and while they both take certain liberties in the plots, it is pretty safe to say that they follow the Western formula to a tee.

It is a common motif in Westerns for the main characters to be introduced from the back, their faces hidden. This is true of Django, Sukiyaki Western Django, and even in Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars. This is common because in Westerns, the protagonist is usually morally ambiguous and mysterious, following his own agenda. So it is part of the idea of keeping the mystery alive that the characters are introduced with their backs to the camera.

On setting, the two films definitely differ in extremes. In Django, the colors are washed out and the landscape is presented as dirty and desolate. The costumes vary in shades of brown, black, and grey, with the only noticeable variation being the red scarves worn by the small antagonist militia. The only refuge in terms of color and life (and pretty much everything else) in the entire film was in the saloon, where the women are dressed in gaudy, over-the-top clothing and walls are in similar fashion. In contrast, the costumes and setting in Sukiyaki Western Django are colorful and draw attention to themselves. This comes as no surprise, as the story focuses around the Reds and the Whites. The two warring groups have very distinct color schemes that they stick too. Also, along with the overt use of color to show allegiance, the costumes convey an effort to mix the clothing of traditional westerns with the designs and clothing styles of cultural Japan, creating a very surreal costume design.

Django is also very downplayed in its presentation. Physical movements are concise and unadorned with flourish, whereas in Sukiyaki Western Django, the whole point is to exaggerate, as it is a spin-off, satire, and critique of the genre. Dialogue, too, shows much difference between the two films. Django maintains its reserved style in its skimpy dialogue, favoring a monotone voice for the main character. Also, as many of the actors didn’t actually know English, the film was dubbed. In Sukiyaki Western Django, the dialogue is the opposite, with exaggerated inflections.

Overall, it is evident that Django attempts to stay true to the genre, while Sukiyaki attempts at creativity within the confines of the Western style.

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