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Time to Pull the Envelope Back a Notch

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There’s a film called Hounddog coming later this year. If you haven’t heard of it, you will soon. Is it a bio-pic about Elvis, you wonder? A sprawling, urbane look at the song’s influence on Americana over four decades, maybe?

No. How terribly unsophisticated of you.

It’s a film “set in the American South, where a precocious, troubled girl finds a safe haven in the music and movement of Elvis Presley.”

And it has a rape scene. Involving little actress Dakota Fanning. Who is only twelve-years old.

Talented storytellers remember a very simple rule. It’s so simple that, at first glance, many simply shrug it off. It’s a rule ignored so often that audiences forget that it’s even there. They forget why they felt so scared watching Alien the first time. Or why Spielberg chose not to reveal the shark in Jaws until 45 minutes in.

Less is more. Learn it, aspiring storytellers, because it really does work.

We don’t need to see it to know it’s happening. We don’t need to see it to feel its impact, experience the fear, or realize its implications.

It doesn’t matter that her mother was present during filming (source). It doesn’t matter if the whole thing was shot from the neck up or if she wore a body suit (same source). It doesn’t matter if the scene is necessary to establish the hell her character has to endure. It doesn’t even matter that it’s all pretend.

What matters is that someone actually put this little girl (twelve-years-old) in front of a camera, and committed something like this to film. It isn’t done to tell the story—it’s done to score accolades. Nothing more.

You know, Larry Flynt made a great deal about freedom of speech and pornography once upon a time, and we’ll likely hear similar rhetoric heat up right around the time Hounddog finds a release date. But just like you can’t yell “fire” in a theater auditorium, you shouldn’t be allowed to film twelve-year-old girls being raped.

(H/T: Libertas)

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Written by taj

January 4, 2007 at 1:14 am

Posted in Movies, Pop Culture, stories

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