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Quentin Tarantino: what the Pulp Fiction director has revealed about the mysterious briefcase over the years

Quentin Tarantino: what the Pulp Fiction director has revealed about the mysterious briefcase over the years

Let’s find out together what Quentin Tarantino, the director of Pulp Fiction, has revealed over the years about the mysterious briefcase that plays a fundamental role in the legendary 1994 film.

Quentin Tarantino: what the Pulp Fiction director has revealed about the mysterious briefcase over the years

Pulp Fiction is one of those films that literally changed the history of cinema forever: the 1994 film, probably the masterpiece par excellence of the legendary director Quentin Tarantino, is chock-full of iconic quotes, memorable characters and some of the most colorful images in the history of the seventh art. However, one of the most discussed elements of the film that won the Oscar for best screenplay is undoubtedly the mysterious briefcase and its contents, which, to this day, remains unknown. This is a classic McGuffinto use a technicality, and is certainly one of the most successful in the history of cinema.

Harvey Keitel and Quentin Tarantino in a scene from Pulp Fiction

Harvey Keitel and Quentin Tarantino in a scene from Pulp Fiction

The briefcase that Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are tasked with recovering and delivering to their boss, Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), plays a key role in two scenes of the film in which, once opened, it is seen emitting a captivating golden glow. Over the years, Tarantino has explained why he never wanted to reveal what the contents of the briefcase were and this has pushed thousands of fans to formulate various hypotheses in a desperate attempt to discover what was hidden behind the golden glow of Pulp Fiction.

With the briefcase Tarantino allows the public to “make their own film”

Often the most intriguing elements of a film are not the things we are told, but what remains a secret until the end, and Tarantino is undoubtedly one of the greatest proponents of this theory. Mystery is a very common element in his films: from the invisible and ill-fated bank robbery in his 1992 film debut, Reservoir Dogs, to the fact that no one will ever find out whether or not Brad Pitt’s character in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood killed his wife. From this point of view, the briefcase of Pulp Fiction is probably the most legendary example of his filmography when it comes to secrets never revealed.

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) e Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) e Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction

In 2009, during the promotional tour of Inglourious Basterds, the filmmaker discussed this particular detail of Pulp Fiction con Charlie Rose: “I like the idea that in the film the briefcase is opened but that I don’t reveal what’s inside and that in the end it’s up to you to make guesses about what’s hidden inside. From that moment this becomes your film and, while watching, you reach the point where you yourself have to make that decision and establish what is hidden inside the briefcase”.

On the other hand, if I right now, right now, sitting at this table, told you what’s in it, then you would throw away your version of the movie and I don’t want you to do that. This is your movie“explained Quentin. After all, it’s quite refreshing to find that an absolutely brilliant and prolific talent like Tarantino decided to write one of his best films by attempting to give fans the opportunity to take the reins of the film, allowing them to add their own his own contribution to the universe he created.However, as he discovered over the years, the end result was not what he hoped for.

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Did fans appreciate Tarantino’s noble intentions?

John Travolta in a scene from Pulp Fiction

John Travolta in a scene from Pulp Fiction

As we have just established, the mystery of the contents of the Pulp Fiction briefcase is meant to be solved by the viewer and it is literally impossible to come up with the wrong answer. However, according to the director himself, this is a concept that seems to have escaped many of his fans; during a 2019 interview with BBC Radio 1, when he was asked to talk about the strangest theories about the briefcase that he has heard over the years, Tarantino stated: “Well, I don’t have a good answer for this question because, unfortunately, I had decided not to tell people what was in the briefcase so that the spectators could wonder about its contents, inventing it according to their imagination.”

But no one wants to do it. They just want to know what I think, what I think there is… but I don’t give a damn what I think. I want to know what other people think. A million people have asked me what’s in the briefcase, but I don’t think five people have given me their guess.“, concluded Quentin. According to what emerged from this interview, it is more than understandable to say that it is better not to ask Tarantino questions on this topic in case someone has the honor of meeting him in the future.

The countless fan theories about the Pulp Fiction briefcase

John Travolta e Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction

John Travolta e Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction

However, there are many people who have decided to accept the director’s challenge, trying to solve the puzzle: There exists, for example, an integer thread su Reddit in which users are invited to share their opinions on what the contents of the briefcase might be Pulp Fiction. While many theories are baffling and/or bizarre, others seem quite plausible and certainly all worth considering.

For example, a user claims that inside there is the loot from the tragic robbery of the jewelry store Hyenas, which would make a lot of sense, considering that, as confirmed by Tarantino himself, Michael Madsen’s character, Mr. Blonde, is Vincent Vega’s brother. Another fan instead believes that inside the briefcase there is the damned soul of Marcellus Wallace, which would explain why the combination is “666”. In support of this thesis, according to the user, there would be the fact that Wallace has a plaster on the back of his neck in a scene of the film: that would be precisely the point from which his soul was taken. One thing is certain, the photo you can see below shows what the real contents of the briefcase were during the filming of one of the most beloved films of all time:

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