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August 1995, Week 3


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Scott Furtwengler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 15 Aug 1995 13:55:57 -0500
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In the first message on violence Simon Vainrub writes "So there are movies
that have a message even though they also have violence."  The question
which was originally put forth is "Are violent movies good?"  A rather
ambigous and open-ended question.  "Good" in the context of style,
thematics, plot, - aspects of technique?  Or are we speaking of "good" in a
moralistic or ethical sense, a violent film's effect on individuals and
society?  It seems that the two connotations of "good" have been
intermingled.  Any argument that a film is inherently "bad" or "good"
because it is violent is at best, tenuous, and at worst, moot.  There are
many morally virtuous didactic films that are horrible art, and many
disturbing films that are considered masterpieces.  It depends on what
point-of-view you take on art and its ends.  William Gass wrote an
interesting essay entitled (I believe), "Goodness Knows Nothing of Beauty."
It addresses some ogf the dangers of approaching art from a moralistic
standpoint.  So, are violent movies good?  Some are, some aren't.
A dark theme keeps me here,
Though summer blazes in the vireo's eye.
Who would be half possessed
by his own nakedness?
Waking's my care--
I'll make a broken music, or I'll die.
                                     (T. Roethke)
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