Of course none of us can tell anything about a films influence on people
just by discussing the film. To do so you need to study the audiences'
perceptions and possible behavioral changes. This has been done for the
last 70 (!) years, mainly focusing on the alleged impact of media violence
on young or feeble minds. What have we come up with? Well, there's
scientific proof that violent kids prefer violent TV (which some
researchers claim is a causal connection - the other way around).
I really don't want to refer the complete discussion here (I've already
written a few pieces on the media effects research, unfortunately all in
swedish, and I'm getting fed up with the subject) but I strongly recommend
David Gauntlett's excellent review Moving Experiences: Understanding
Television's Influences and Effects. (London: John Libbey, 1995). The
conclusion of a review of the media effects research is quite simple: the
media might or might not influence us to some extent but the influence is
definitely not a major one. How big it ios and how it works? We don't know,
it's a too complex issue to be studied scientifically.
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