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August 1995, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
lang thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 17 Aug 1995 03:48:23 GMT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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In <[log in to unmask]> Molly Olsen
<[log in to unmask]> writes:
>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
>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
>violence any humor disappears and the violence seems oppressive rather
>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
>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
>[log in to unmask]
*****  The novel A Clockwork Orange is much more ambiguous and
distanced (despite being a first person narrative) than the film.
Partly this is inherent in reading but also because Burgess used a
fairly dense, Joyce-inspired idiom based on Russian and invented slang.
That's been a problem, i think, with the difference between Sade's 120
Days of Sodom and Pasolini's Salo; the social critique in the novel
(which was deliberately difficult to read on several levels) is
overwhelmed in the film by the images.  That's a good idea about the
film showing the violence involved in rehabilitation/punishment.  And
at the risk of losing all credibility, i have to confess that what
bothered me about Bad Lieutenant was the dishonesty.  Clip out all the
stuff about redemption and i probably would have admired it.  LT
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