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July 1996, Week 4


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Peter Latham <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 09:57:59 -0500
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The quantity of film violence has certainly escalated, but I doubt that its
quality has. UN CHIEN ANDALOU, with its eyeball sequence, is one of the
most violent scenes in film. I would be hard pressed to name its equal in
the nearly 70 years since that film was made.
More recent films (e.g. TRUE LIES) have an increasingly unreal approach to
violence which gives it a video game quality and distances the audience
from it. But,absent emotions of fear and horror, it isn't really violence
at all but a form of choreographed activity.
It seems to me that most audiences can watch choreographed filmic violence
from which they are distanced without being desensitized to real violence
in the real world.
Apart from desensitization, however, is the problem of imitation - where a
violent character is made to seem appealing and worth imitating.A good
example is the Travis Bickle character in TAXI DRIVER.But That's an issue
for another day.
Peter Latham
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