Sunday, 27 February 2011

Framing Practice Topic... Film Violence in Culture...

After my last post considering research into film violence and how it affects human behaviour, i decided to find some books and internet articles on the topic. This is definitely a topic of interest and also poses well for a dissertation topic because the argument still remains a stalemate with valid reasons both for and against. A particularly interesting read is 'Our Faith in Evil: Melodrama and the effects of entertainment violence' by Gregory Desilet. This book will be a key part of my referencing and research not only providing strong information on both sides of the argument with valid quotes, but also helping to uncover further areas to research along with some key phrases and terms.

Areas of further investigation:

A Clockwork Orange (1971):

The first port of call that this book led me to was 'A Clockwork Orange' directed by Stanley Kubrick based on a novel by Anthony Burgess. The film became the focus of a media outcry because of its ultraviolence, eventually causing Kubrick and Warner Bros. to ban its distribution and release of the film. Not only is this films use of the coined term 'Ultraviolence' of significance and importance, but the film's influence on a series of copycat crimes deemed to be a result of the ultraviolence in the film affecting and influencing human behaviour. this link provides just some of the examples of copycat crimes that have been deemed to be as a result of the film

This quote from the webpage gives just some idea of the relevance of the film in connection with the copycat crimes as well as an indication of the influence and impact that the media potrays in the argument:

'The problems really started when the press reported a spate of supposed copy-cat crimes. The first and most famous of these was the case involving a 16 year old boy called James Palmer who had beaten to death a tramp in Oxfordshire. As Edward Laxton reported in the Daily Mirror, in a convincing enough manner that the more reactionary reader might suspect that, A Clockwork Orange was terrible enough to influence even the most unassuming and hitherto quite innocent of young men, it was clear that the press were going to make the film even more controversial. "The terrifying violence of the film A Clockwork Orange fascinated a quiet boy from a Grammar School...And it turned him into a brutal murderer". Laxton continues, "The boy viciously battered to death a harmless old tramp as he acted out in real life a scene straight from the movie A Clockwork Orange"'

Another more recent article in the daily mail gives further example of 'Ultra-violence' supposedly influenced by A clockwork Orange.

"A Clockwork Orange had been in theaters for over a year when a bizarre and brutal crime put the movie back in the headlines. In 1974, a gang of British youths attacked a teenage girl. As they raped her, they performed the same song-and-dance number—“Singin’ in the Rain,” made famous by Gene Kelly in the musical of the same name—that Alex sings as he prepares to rape a woman in the film." (

The relevant scene in the film to this case can be found through this link, in which Alex, our protagonist, rapes and violently abuses a man's wife whilst performing "Singin' in the Rain", the specific song mimiced my the gang of British youths whilst raping a teenage girl.

Other areas of interest i need to research further include:

- Anti-hero (How an anti-hero, like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, affects the perception of violence and ultra-violence portrayed in films).
- Catharsis (theoretical arguments for and against how film violence affects human behaviour).
- Mimesis (theoretical arguments for and against how film violence affects human behaviour).
- Plato and Aristotle on the effects of tragic drama and melodrama (mimesis in 'The Republic' by Plato).
- Statistics (Relevant numerical figures linked to the possible increase or decrease of crime rate in correlation with film violence).
- Quotes (quotes that pose strong and valid reasons for and against the topic of discussion).
- Ultra-violence
- Articles on Copycat crimes, high school shootings etc. that have been connected or correlate with cinema and film violence.
- Freud in A Clockwork Orange.
- Aestheticization of Violence.
- Stanley Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange.
- Review of a Clockwork Orange.
As i delve further into the research of this topic, i will begin to uncover new areas of research, but for now this is a strong start point with some key ideas and terms to look into.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ethan, I'm not in tomorrow, as it's first year crit week, and my days move to the end of the week. Can you update all progress and I'll be in touch.