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April 1994


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Tom Byers <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 15 Apr 1994 00:58:17 EDT
text/plain (33 lines)
Department of English, University of Louisville
Phone: (502)852-6770 or (502)852-6801. Fax: (502)852-4182.
What are the excised scenes? I saw MAN BITES DOG on video, but have no
idea whether I got it all. Bet others might be in same shape. I have to say I
found it disturbing, by the way. I'm not a squeamish viewer, but neither do I
believe that representations have no effect on us. I know that, as w/ the
list's discussion of RESERVOIR DOGS, there are often ways of looking at such
films in self-referential or film-referential terms that are significant and
that justify a look at the violence that is pretty distanced. But I also found
both films quite disturbing, and I wouldn't want to lose that part of my
responses. What does it say about us that we consume hyperviolent images as
entertainment, or that we see such films as cool & postmodern? I think BLUE
VELVET is a terrific and serious film, but my spouse was appalled when, on the
way out of it, we oveheard teenagers on their way in saying "boy, are we in
for a treat." I think these issues are quite complicated--not in terms of
censorship, but in terms of my own judgment of such films, which seems pretty
often pretty divided. I'd be interested in some discussion of how to think
about this split--or even of whether it's merely idiosyncratic on my part to
worry it. I hasten to add that I recognize that much average R-rated Hollywood
fare is reprehensible in ways that are different from & clearer than my
turmoil about these films. But I also still wonder whether things like
self-reflexivity aren't in part simply ways in which a SCREEN-L type
audience--or at least an audience in which I myself am implicated (I don't
want to assume that others have the same responses)--excuses, by
intellectualizing, an opportunity to groove on violence. It's very late & I'm
typing very fast, so please cut me a little slack if this seems not very
thought through--but part of what I'm saying is I'm not sure how to think it.
bitnet tbbyer01@ulkyvm; internet [log in to unmask]
Thomas B. Byers
Department of English/University of Louisville
Louisville KY 40292