RARA-AVIS: RE: MAN BITES DOG (was Re: Straw Dogs)

From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 28 Jun 2003

At 23:21 27-06-03 -0400, you wrote:

About UK censuring violence on films:
>Films that are thought to appeal to certain types are held up, but the
>extremely violent Dutch (?) satire Man Bites Dog about a documentary
>crew tagging along with a serial killer had no trouble since it was in
>black and white and had subtitles and was therefore thought to appeal to
>an artier crowd. I wonder how the later variation on the same idea,
>Natural Born Killers, fared.

"Man Bites Dog" (1992) is a *Belgian* film with most of the actors being Belgians. Heavy black humor and strong social derision make it closer to surrealism and modern anarchism views than elitism or even artysm. Of course, to fully
"get" that movie it asks for a little bit more attention than what the average viewer has to give to the last fashionable Hollywood's billion dollars empty lemon or even to the over-valued corpus of Tarantino and his pitiful pastiches. IMO "Man bites Dogs" -a very good film- belongs to the noir film, in the black humor section.

This said, I do not know the exact policy in the UK about violence in films, but on BBC TV it seems that the accepted limits are rather high for films -from what I've seen these last two years (in films that are not pure gore or having only trash violence as primary goal; these films were always brodcasted very late at night). I think that as long violence is not purely gratuitous (= without real purpose but only to call for the low instincts of the viewers and hope for lucrative returns from it), it is better to let the director to decide, as then violence will serves the story and the general development of his point of view both forming the real goals of the work. Anyway, in HB/Noir films, unnecessary, unjustified or overblown violence kills the film
(see HK films, American cops/thugs films with a multitude of cars bursting into flames...).

For Straw dogs, I cannot comment because I saw it on the Continent, at the time, in its complete version.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384

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