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August 1995, Week 3


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Ulf Dalquist <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Aug 1995 09:22:24 +0200
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I'm not sure I'm getting the question here. If it's supposed to be taken at face
value, the answer is, of course (M, Yojimbo, The Wild Bunch, Night of the Living
Dead etc.) YES.
But, what people seem to discuss is whether Kubrick and Ferrara have enough
artistic credibility to be allowed to show violence in their respective flicks.
This question seems to be based on the view that violence is OK in movies as
long as the director is considered high-brow, but repugnant in popular, low-brow
I thought the distinction between 'high' and 'low' culture were long gone.
It further suggests that the depiction of violence can have two functions:
1. Art (or, let's call it artistic or political 'statements')
2. Exploitation
That violence in movies can be both at the same time should be pretty obvious to
anyone who've seen *The Texas Chainsaw Massacre* or *The Last House on the Left*
Finally, it seems like people think that most violence in films are there for
commersial reasons. Mass communication  studies have shown that there is no
correlation between a TV show's popularity and the amount of violence in it
(Diener & DuFour 'Does Television Violence Enhance Program Popularity?' Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology vol 36 (19789 no 3 pp 333-341).
So the final answer to the question might be: Violent films are neither better
nor worse than non-violent ones.
Ulf Dalquist                Phone:  +46 46 2224266
Dept. of Sociology          Fax:    +46 46 2224794
Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN  E-mail: [log in to unmask]
'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.'
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