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September 2001, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 15 Sep 2001 18:55:53 -0400
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>Has someone published on or at least begun to study the cinema of
>terrorism?  Is a genre forming, or at least a stock set of characters and

Left off your list is "Arlington Road" which I'm reminded of everytime one
of the hijacker's neighbors mentions how nice they were (which fits into
the mass murderer "nice and quiet" stereotype and assumes the FBI has
correctly identified the right people).  It's also interesting that the
"Die Hard" movies are always described as about terrorism when they really
aren't, at least for the first and third where terrorism is only a
smoke-screen.  But then the distinction between terrorism (political goals)
and not-terrorism (personal goals) would be a key point of any study of its
representation.  (A case could be made, for instance, that some of the
events in the Harry Potter books are terrorist.  Somehow I think the movie
version(s) will betray the books.)

Below is a post about the original topic that I wrote on Wednesday and then
had second thoughts when I saw other mailing lists turn into bitter
flamewars over trivialities:

Many commentators on and witnesses to Tuesday's events have used movies as
a frame of reference, most often "Independence Day" but also "Armageddon"
and "The Towering Inferno" when they mention specific instances though
phrases with "Hollywood" are also common.  (I though of "The Siege" but
only saw one article mentioning that.)  I've noticed that people involved
in events like crashes, disasters, violent crime, etc often invoke movies
as well.

My question is how recent an occurance this is and whether it happens
outside the US.  I also wonder whether using movies as references might be
more common as a result of increased news focus on "everyday" people not
used to speaking on the media.

>scenes to be used in various other genres as needed, and if so to what
>end?  (off the top of my head I'm recalling the bomber at the beginning of
>To Live and Die in L.A., the Gene Simmons character in Wanted Dead or
>Alive, the Tommy Lee Jones character in Blown Away, the Brad Pitt character
>in The Devil's Own, the Bruce Willis character in The Jackal (remake), the
>CIA bombers in The Long Kiss Goodnight, the hijacker of Passenger 57, the
>older Tom Harris story Black Sunday, the Ed Harris character in The Rock,
>the Travolta character in Broken Arrow, Mission Impossible 2, and of course
>the Die Hard, Under Seige, and Speed movies.)
>Donald Larsson wrote:
>> This list has been understandably quiet about Tuesday's carnage, but I
>> just wondered if people had some reactions relevant to our topic.  I
>> think of such things as that common comment, "It looked like something
>> out of a movie!" or "It looked like special effects!"  Even Philip
>> Noyce, who directed several of the Tom Clancy movies with Harrison
>> Ford and who was near the World Trade Center, remarked that the crash
>> looked "unrealistic."
>> There are other ramifications, dealing with film marketing.  For
>> example, the trailer for the forthcoming SPIDER-MAN movie that featured
>> a giant web slung between the two towers, has been pulled.
>> And of course there are all the implications of how "terrorists" and
>> terrorism, not to mention Muslims and Arabs in general, are and will be
>> depicted.
>> Thoughts?
>> Don Larsson
>> -----------------------------------------------------------
>> Donald F. Larsson
>> English Department, AH 230
>> Minnesota State University
>> Mankato, MN  56001
>> ----
>> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
>> University of Alabama:
>Neal King
>Belmont University Sociology
>Nashville TN 37212
>615 460 6231
>Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
>University of Alabama:

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