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August 1995, Week 3


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Molly Olsen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Aug 1995 11:56:42 ES
text/plain (46 lines)
In <[log in to unmask]> Simon
Vainrub <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>>        In that famous movie of the 1980's(The clockworck orange), we
>>see a very violent movie that talks about 4 crimminals, that commit acts
>>such as vandalisim, rape, and murder.
(stuff deleted)
>>        This movie is actually a critic to violence, and it also shows
>>an idea that could work with some criminals(parst of the rehab program are
>>effective in my opinnion).
>>        So there are movies that have a message even thoug they also
>have violence.
>>        What do you think?
>>        Simon
wlt4 @ (lang thompson) replied:
>*****  Clockwork Orange came out in 1971.  The "message" in the film
>seems to me more like an excuse to show the violence rather than a
>critique of it.  A similar strategy is used in Bad Lieutenant and the
>various "mondo" documentaries modelled after Mondo Cane.
I agree with your assessment of Bad Lieutenant -- maybe I missed the point but
the violence seemed to be the message.  On the other hand, I think A Clockwork
Orange has a clearer message, which is not exactly that violence is bad (it's
glorified by Alex's glee in his violent acts at first, and the audience can see
the humor in it as he does, but then when Alex is punished with institutional
violence any humor disappears and the violence seems oppressive rather than
liberating -- there's a lot more to this).  I see the message more as a look at
crime and punishment, with violence as the medium for both.  If you don't see,
or aren't moved by, the shifting portrayals of violence in the film, I suppose
it might seem like the violence was just gratuitous, but certainly you can see
the provocative moral ambiguity of Alex's crimes and his punishment, a
dimension that was missing in Bad Lieutenant and similar films.
Another consideration is that A Clockwork Orange was originally a book; do you
also think that the book was also an excuse to write about violence rather than
a means of conveying a message about violence, crime and punishment?
Molly Olsen
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