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The analysis, which can be discussed and even rejected, will be based for a part on objective elements and take into account the complexity of the film: this complexity does not mean difficulty most films are immediately accessible to the majority of spectators but refers to the different dimensions of a film which results from a work of staging, but which is also representation of a reality, which mixes life of the characters and decorations, landscapes, material objects, which shows things and states others which are sometimes different or contradictory and at its different levels for example that of the characters or that of the author of the film. A visit to makes things perfect here.

Film complexity

The question of film complexity arises in particular when it is a question of what can be called the representation of evil, that is to say, the representation in the cinema of morally bad actions. This kind of representation is, as we can easily see, more likely than another to provoke debates and negative reactions. Let us simply quote, to clarify the point, films like Salo by Pier Paolo Pasolini, an adaptation of the 120 days of Sodom of Sade in fascist Italy at the end of the war, Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese, staging a Vietnam veteran who will transform into a solitary vigilante, massacring in particular during a particularly violent scene the pimp of a minor prostitute, Free student by Joachim Lafosse who evokes the rape of a teenager by his educator, Baise-Moi de Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi which notably explicitly stages rape, or even Henry, portrait of a serial killer by John McNaughton, evocation without comment, as its title suggests, of the bloody route of a serial killer, although many other titles, very different, can be mentioned here.

A certain number of spectators

The representation of bad actions is morally bad, especially if it is not accompanied by an explicit condemnation. But, even in this case, such a representation, especially when it involves an obvious element of violence, can be judged negatively because it “brings nothing” that we do not already know, because, in itself, it would express complacency towards evil. The condemnation relates in particular to the supposed effect of such a representation which would lead the spectators or certain psychologically weaker or more fragile spectators to imitate the behaviors staged or, in any case, not to perceive their character morally unhealthy.

The accusation quickly moved to another, “higher” level

The author of the film, who was accused of indulging in the representation of evil and violence more rarely of sexuality alone and whose intentions will be judged more or less perverse: the justifications possibly put forward, for example showing reality as it is, then often risk being rejected as the hypocritical mask of a secret pleasure with a strong sadistic or voyeuristic component and where some will applaud the “questioning” of “reality”, the others will emphasize on the other hand the ambiguity of a statement which does not seem really capable of justifying or explaining the need to represent evil, sometimes under extreme forms.

Even if it is unlikely that we can end this kind of controversy, we will note however that there is a necessary distinction between “reality” which can be mixed with fiction and its representation, between what is shown and the intention of the one filmmaker, scriptwriter, etc. who shows these facts: if the spectator is shocked by what he sees or hears.

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