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July 1996, Week 5


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Xyvind Staalen <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 12:39:44 +0200
Xyvind Staalen <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (66 lines)
Nr 1
A couple of weeks ago one of todays tzars of violence, Robert Rodrigueez
was in Norway, promoting his latest picture From Dusk Till Dawn. In Norway
Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino is quite notorious for the exessive use of
violence in their movies. So a journalist started to inquire mr. Rodriguez
about his movies: Was it neccesary with all that violence?
(At this point I should inform you that Norway is a very peaceful country.
There is very little violence here, and all Norvegian movies are about
nice and harmless things such as children, puberty, pregnancy, unemployed
comedians and hopeless love.)
And Rodriguez told the journalist that in America his movies weren't
considered violent at all. The viewing of movies is influenced by the
context, and the American society is every bit as violent as his movies.
Further, he didn't believe that violence in movies makes people more
violent. If that was the case, why don't we just show Disney cartoons to
prisoners? If violence on the screen makes people violent, shouldn't love
on screen make us more loving?
A lot of ....., I admit, but he has a point. Are people robots that do
simply what they are programmed to do (output=input)?
Obviously, things are not that simple. You see, when I told you that all
the movies we make in Norway are "nice and harmless", I forgot to tell you
that a good 80% of the movies we *watch* are from the U.S. If the
interpretation of the Bandura experiment many of you make is true, why
isn't Norway's capital Oslo turned into downtown Washington D.C. by now?
Nr 2
It was Simone Fary, I believe, that first mentioned sex in this thread. I
think it's wrong, wrong, wrong to put sex next to violence, love next to
hate. You might be a bit bored by now by my never ending references to
Norway and Norvegian society, a country you probably haven't heard about
(you might, though, when Vebjorn Rodal wins gold on 800 m in Atlanta). But
Norway is my home, so Norway is what I know. And in Norway we have sex in
our movies. That's right. We skip the violence, but we keep the sex. Naked
bodies. Breasts. Penises. Everything. And this doesn't even seem to have
an effect on the rating of movies. Everyone from seven to a houndred years
old can without warning be exposed to such amounts of skin as I described.
You might think this would make Norway into a country of sex maniacs, but
that is not the case (as far as I know). Norvegians put on as much clothes
as anyone else that's living in a climate such as ours (a little warmer
than Alaska), and you will be very dissapointed if you visit Norway hoping
to be offered a sex orgie when you're at the supermarked.
Maybe I got you interested in Norway, (or Norvegian cinema,) but my point
was, and still is, that it's difficult to discuss movies' influence on
society, and impossible to make final conlusions without considering
economics, politics, and almost everything else.
As for vilolent films, I *can* do without them. But I admit that as much
as I love Skin Deep, Cluless, and When Harry Met Sally, I love Heat more.
Xyvind Staalen
University of Trondheim, Norway.
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