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America starts thinking about Hollywood

The discussion about violence in films emerges

The Europeans are quite puzzled as to why the discussion regarding stricter weapon laws in the US following the rampage in Colorado only emerges sporadically. While presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn't see any need to change anything, president Obama at least thinks about assault rifles. In the meantime, debates regarding the influence of violent films are starting.

Harvey Weinstein (after all, he's the producers of almost all Tarantino movies) said:

"It’s a question that I wrestle with all the time [...] I’ve been involved with violent movies, and then I’ve also said at a certain point, ‘I can’t take it anymore. Please cut it.’ You know, you’ve got to respect the filmmaker, and it’s a really tough issue. My heart goes out to those kids and those families."

"I think, as filmmakers, we should sit down – the Marty Scorseses, the Quentin Tarantinos, and hopefully all of us who deal in violence in movies – and discuss our role in that." (source)


The New York Times isn't so vague about it but seems to have targeted Warner Brothers directly:

A Studio With Violence in Its Bones
Warner Brothers and Its Decades of Violent Films

Family films are in the DNA at Walt Disney.

Universal Pictures has a weakness for monsters.

And Warner Brothers? Its movies have often displayed a violent streak.

For decades Warner’s films have frequently put the studio in the middle of a perpetual and unresolved debate over violence in the cinema and in real life. That debate has been revived after the deadly shootings last Friday in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater at an opening night showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” from Warner. (source)


However, this article provokes hefty resistance, e.g. by blogger David Poland from Deadline, who commented critically on the article:

"A really bad piece of psuedo-journalism by Cieply yesterday, claiming to be “News Analysis"

"Perhaps you can come up with more history dealing with this issue of the public good vs artistic freedom in relations to violence at WB than elsewhere. But recent history does not offer a legitimate claim that WB’s modern branding is violence… and certainly not more than most of the other studios.

The thing that disturbs me most about this piece is that Cieply focuses on some of the best films of the last 50 years and leaves out all that messy pushback. How the NY Times can bring up Bonnie & Clyde and not mention that attacking it for violent content essentially ended Bosley Crowther’s career as a critic to be taken seriously? How stupid do you have to be to not understand that A Clockwork Orange is a movie that’s anti-violence, using the raw ugliness of disaffected youth – as well as acknowledging the uncontextualized pleasures of youth – to make its point masterfully, and why constrain the argument to the negative perception? Why no nod to the powerful and timely political subtext of Dirty Harry… or the later weight of Harry at the center of American politics when Ronald Reagan adopted, “Go ahead, make my day”?" (source)


The MPAA (WB is a member here) has not yet commented on whether the rampage will have any effect on the ratings or not. They can't remain silent for long, though, since even many experts say for years that the violence in PG-13 movies has constantly risen while sex and nudity continue to stay tabooed. However, here, it's complicated to measure actual effects on people, too.

Release: Jul 29, 2012 - Author: Bob - Translator: Mike Lowrey

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