This past week was an interesting one for the world of filmmakers and movie-lovers. Not just for the release of the Oscar nominations, but for a quite unexpected outburst from one of the world’s most highly acclaimed directors.
For those that are not already aware, the incident to which I am referring is a rather interesting interview with Quentin Tarantino, where he was asked about violence in movies. Upon hearing the question, Tarantino refused to comment on a topic that he has been the epicentre of for nearly two decades, and quite rightly too! Why must he constantly defend the actions he takes working for an over-condemned medium, with more censorship than sense? Why must the movie industry be under constant scrutiny for its output, when it is not the easiest form of influential entertainment to be accessed?
In 2010 we saw the release of Rihanna’s S&M, a song that glorifies bondage and sadomasochistic activities. In 2009 Lady Gaga released the highly controversial Alejandro, a song with a video associating religion with sex. As well as this pop iconography, which promotes sexually promiscuous activities, there have been countless rap and hip-hop songs, all with accompanying videos, which glorify murder, drive-by shootings, and many other forms of violence that happen several times a day in a vast number of countries. Yes, these songs are half-censored on primetime radio and music channels, yet they are still broadcast for all to hear.
…search any video they desire, uncut and uncensored…
Warning this video contains graphic violence and spoilers!
Anybody listening to or watching the output, regardless of their age, can still find a computer in which to search any video they desire, uncut and uncensored. Compare this then to the age-censorship that occurs at cinemas, ensuring that anybody under the guideline age cannot get in, a screening process that is then furthered with DVD releases, and it seems sensible to assume that violent films are not as easily viewable as songs with an equally violent nature, therefore becoming less influential.
Another element to point out when talking about film censorship and violence in movies is just how much people, all people, are subject to death and violence in their everyday lives. By trimming down violence, should we then be forced to not show certain news stories, for fear of people being influenced by what they see? Should people not have celebrated the killing of Osama Bin Laden, as it glorified his murder? Or, because it is factual, is it representing a different viewpoint altogether? Despite which of these points may be true, it does not stop the fact that violent acts, from cinema shootings to government assassinations, are broadcast on to our screens daily, whether we want them to be there or not.
…for as long as there have been movies, there have been violent movies…
What should begin to take place is not the start of a culling, where everything perceived as provocative gets taken away. On the contrary, what should happen is a more subdued approach, where fiction is taken as fiction, and it is left to the common man to decide what is right and what is wrong for themselves to view.
For as long as there have been people, there have been violent people. For as long as there have been movies, there have been violent movies. Imagine a world where Hamlet didn’t have murder. Imagine a world where A Streetcar Named Desire didn’t have rape. Now imagine a world where movies were all rated 12, and there were no scenes with actions that happen in a world we live in? Impossible? No. Ridiculous? Yes!
…classy, horrific, or simply mundane…
For a representation of all there is in the world, whether it is portrayed as classy, horrific, or simply mundane, there needs to be violence, there needs to be sex, there needs to be scenes of a gratuitous nature. If there are not, then we are not preparing ourselves for the events we may one day come to face.