Film Violence Essay

Violence In Film Essay

Cinematic violence has been in films since the start of movie making. From John Houston's depiction of men at war with The Battle of San Pietro, to the hardships teenagers face growing up portrayed in the film, Boyz in the Hood, violence has always been present in film in one form or another. Graphic violence has become as important to film as the happy ending. Throughout time filmmakers have made extreme statements about our society and the involvement of our country in other conflicts, such as war, which affect our nation. Movie makes have realized the power and movement within society that a film can create when the reality people do not wish to accept is put before their very own eyes. It is quite often that extreme measures are taken to achieve this; violence in film. Three main categories of violent-oriented films that this paper will discuss are westerns, war movies, and American cities/society violence (deviant behavior of citizens).

The American Heritage Dictionary defines violence as; Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing. This is a pattern for any film's alleged, "bad guy." It is the extreme which the "bad guy" uses this force that is the cause of so much public back-lash against filmmakers. This did not however deter them in achieving their visions. We know however that war is violent, so what other genres need to include such violent subject matter? I like to look at violence as three separate categories.

1. War Violence- could be gang or different nations, or for that matter could be two different planets.

2. Realistic Violence- this is what you would see in an operating society, basically anything that can realistically happen to you or I. Rape, murder, mugging, beating, etc....

3. Fantasy Violence- Luke Skywalker gets his arm cut off with a light saber, or Linda Blair's head spin in The Exorcist.

The emergence of western films was a direct result for the desire to bring the understanding of man and his existence within society to the screen. Several cultural issues, as well as family issues, self morality, labor concerns, and foreign policy are clearly depicted in these films (VAC, pp176-191). The exploration of the west brought about new forms of living and also new forms of violence and deviation from the norms of society. And as the examples in this paper reveal, people today are still fascinated with the idea that western stars don't always do the right thing, but are heroes in the end. Many western films create situations where one man, or a group of men, is...

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Their brains were scanned as they watched a succession of shootings and street fights on day one, emotional but non-violent scenes such as people interacting during a natural disaster on day two and nothing on day three.

While watching violence the aggressive group had less activity in the orbito-frontal cortex, which controls emotion-related decision making and self-control.

These subjects said they felt more more inspired and determined and less upset or nervous than their non-aggressive counterparts when watching violent instead of only emotional scenes.

Their blood pressure also went down progressively while the calm groups' rose.

During the final 'mind wandering' stage - when no films were shown - the aggressive participants had unusually high brain activity in a network of regions known to be active when not doing anything in particular.

This suggests they have a different brain function map than their non-aggressive peers, said the researchers.

Dr Nelly Alia-Klein, of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said: "How an individual responds to their environment depends on the brain of the beholder.

"Aggression is a trait that develops together with the nervous system over time starting from childhood. Patterns of behaviour become solidified and the nervous system prepares to continue the behaviour patterns into adulthood when they become increasingly coached in personality.

"This could be at the root of the differences in people who are aggressive and non aggressive - and how media motivates them to do certain things."

The findings published in the science journal PLOS ONE could have implications for intervention programs seeking to reduce aggressive behaviour starting in childhood.

Dr Alia-Klein said: "Our aim was to investigate what is going on in the brains of people when they watch violent movies. We hypothesized if people have aggressive traits to begin with they will process violent media in a very different way as compared to non-aggressive people - a theory supported by these findings."

In the study the scans measured the subjects' brain metabolic activity - a marker of brain function. Participants also had their blood pressure taken every 5 minutes and were asked how they were feeling at 15 minute intervals.

Dr Alia-Klein said: "Hopefully these results will give educators an opportunity to identify children with aggressive traits and teach them to be more aware of how aggressive material activates them specifically."

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