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Sun, Apr. 26th, 2009, 12:20 am

Oh god. I just watched "Hard Candy." Two hours of torture porn, where the instigator of the torture, the plucky kid with all the hackneyed cliches that the director probably thought were so clever is revealed, at the end, to be some heroic version of Red Riding Hood (after all, she was punishing a paedophile).

It's like a Passion Play where a hook-nosed devil-worshipping Jew gets strung up and tortured in various ways by a lynch mob.

And if you say, "Well, it's torture porn, but he was a paedophile", then please, let me point out that the hook-nosed Jew in my hypothetical Passion Play is a devil-worshipper, and - why not - let's say he's a child murderer too. Have him reveal it just before he dies and we cheer. What, do you support murder? No? Then stop dissing Passion Plays!

I refuse to accept the premise i was offered with. Movies are put together as a result of choices by the director, not the characters. The only message i could draw out of this movie was "'round up the boys and grab a length of rope."

I wish i could just erase it from my memory. Lucky we have livejournal!

These thoughts remind me of something Curtis White wrote, about the movie 'Saving Private Ryan':

"I have been surprised that my friends — intelligent, sophisticated people on the whole — had no idea what I was talking about when I elaborated my understanding of the film’s "lesson." At one level, Private Ryan is about a command not to kill a German prisoner who then goes on to kill several members of an American platoon. Thus the movie's frightening lesson (one that I've come to think of as archetypically North American) is: Always choose death, for if you do not, death will come anyway, later, multiplied.

When I called my friends' attention to the fact that Spielberg had chosen to have the initial decision not to kill made by a multi-lingual intellectual (and coward!), their response was usually along the lines of "what’s Spielberg got to do with the fact that he was a coward"; "I didn’t like that guy"; "he was a coward." What I finally had to conclude was that while I was treating the character of the intellectual Upham as a part of Spielberg's artifice, as an important element in an artistic structure, which structure once in place could be asked to reveal its meaning (and perhaps Spielberg's ideological baggage), my friends saw these characters as . . . real people.
"

- available online at Saving Private Ryan: Don't try to do no thinkin'!, and reproduced as a chapter in the book The Middle Mind by Curtis White.