violence in films

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What truly constitutes violence in film?

The depiction of violence in film has evolved dramatically over the years and it is not uncommon to see a number of films that depict war violence, gang violence, or glorified murder (think "The Purge"). How come this type of violence seems to permeate more throughout American culture in the 21st century than other, more psychological violence like that depicted in the French film "Cache" – which involves an almost ritualistic suicide? We seem to be, as a culture, more willing to accept and assimilate to the grand-sized violence where hundreds if not thousands of people die than we are to a film where only one or two deaths are seen in detail. Consider also slasher films like "Saw" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as opposed to "The Silence of the Lambs" and how this type of violence relates and speaks to our culture’s appetite for specific forms of violence.

  • So after searching for awhile I couldn't find the youtude vid I saw that introduced me to the topic but the synopsis is generally this. Its found that in most horror/scary movies the perspective is subtly biased towards men. The youtuber shows a dozen or so examples of movies where when woman is being chased/killed by the antagonist of the film, its usually shown in the first person perspective, whereas men being chased/killed are usually shown in the third. Its an interesting tell and thought it tied into the topic of violence in film. Hope its useful. – ilookatyourshoes 8 years ago
  • I feel as if the reason behind people being more comfortable with glorified mass murder over a single killing or two is because it is incredibly impersonal. Not to quote Joseph Stalin, but one of his most famous quotes is, "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." And not to AGREE with Stalin here, but he is very right. The writers killing off a character that you've come to know and love hits you a lot harder than an entire city of people being completely obliterated. It's sad, but unfortunately true. – botheringcat 8 years ago
  • I feel like a lot of what counts as "violence" in any given story has to do with the context. A particular act might seem horribly cruel in one kind of series, while just being business as usual in another. For instance, a single murder will stand out a lot more in a story about, say high-school kids, than it will in a story about hardcore gangsters. – Debs 4 years ago
  • I think people called it "violence", then it must have conflicts between the things of people's daily life and the content in the movies, esp in terms of human intereaction. – RoyHung 4 years ago
  • I would also advise whoever writes this topic to look into some Quentin Tarantino interviews on violence. He was spoken a lot about his justification and purpose of violence in his films and responded to the criticism. It might be quite helpful to get the non-horror genre perspective! – hilalbahcetepe 4 years ago