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Kinokima

Banning of Films

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What if TRIUMPH OF THE WILL becomes a big film again in 100 years, when some Aryan sect decides to use it to rally its followers the way Hitler did. If that were to happen, wouldn't you be in the right to want it removed? Especially if it were used to educate people into hatred?

 

As for the Dunne/Grant picture, why can't the studio go ahead and trim that scene or dub some of the dialogue and re-copyright it...? Is that asking too much to make it less offensive?

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I see the advantages and dangers of political correctness, when taken to the extreme.

 

But how do we decide which films are the most valuable to our society?

 

It could be argued that ISHTAR should be banned or destroyed because it does not have a lot of value to many people.

 

And should all films be preserved? In the U.S., the Library of Congress selects films for preservation...but can they be expected to preserve or save all copyrighted motion pictures? Where do we draw the line? What has the most value and why?

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They don't need Triumph of the Will to promote any ideas. They can make a new movie if they really wanted to. The ideas presented in Triumph of the Will do not go away because you burn a film. And I can tell you antisemitism is still very much alive today so is racism with or without these films.

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Well, you made the point yourself that if a film is unworthy of being remembered in terms of its quality, than it will fall into obscuritiy quite naturally, by way of everyone in the current culture simply ignoring it. And that right there, is a far better way of eradicating films that nobody is going to watch anyway, rather than burning them. To ban, and certainly to take the extremely drastic step of burning them is to make them into the cinematic equivalent of martyrs. Maybe nobody would have bothered with them before, but if it's made known that they're being destroyed, suddenly everyone will be interested in them, and up in arms.

Far better to let a book, film, or any work of art stand on its own merits. If it's rubbish, time will fade it into obscurity without any help from us. If it's good, whether it contains offensive or politically correct material or not, than it will continue to be read or viewed by people.

 

I emphatically do not believe that the questionable parts of a movie should be edited out. I do think attention should be drawn to the fact that it contains racist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory material, but how this should be done is a subject to ponder. Perhaps some sort of caveat at the beginning of the film - if it's on a dvd, for instance, the distributor of the dvd, or better yet, someone who was involved in the making of the film , if there's anyone left still alive from that time, could make some sort of warning, statement, I don't know. Not a disclaimer, we're not talking about anyone getting sued.

 

The point is, I believe that the offensive material in old movies can be addressed without banning or editing them.

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If being 'PC' is 'the new millenium's version of thought police' than at least it is better than the older versions; being racist, sexist, etc...

 

My point being that being racist wasn't the result of being a free thinker but was due to the same 'thought police' that defines being PC.

 

Anyhow the use of the term 'banning' is way overboard even your example of Twain. Ok, some school districts might ban his work. I don't agree with this but these school districts also have rights and the end result is that any kid in that school district could get a copy of the works from another source. In otherwords nothing is really being banned.

 

Just to ensure clarity: I do NOT support these type of bans, government censorship or even private party censorship but I also don't see any reason for alarm. i.e. local bans are not a big deal, only a misguided one.

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"They came for the-------and I did not speak out. Then they came for the-------and I did not speak out. Finally they came for me and there was no one to spek out for me."

 

This famous poem works here, too. If one group can ban, another can as well, then another until there is nothing of cultural value left.

 

I saw Birth of a Nation because its production values were so revolutionary they were used for years afterwards. I also wanted to see for myself how racist it was. I did and now understand the dispute when it was put on the first AFI 100 list. I can see both sides but do find the story appalling..

 

For that reason, I want to see Triumph of the Will. Lani Riefenstahl was a German and the should help give me and others an idea of how the German mindset against Jews developed. I can always turn it off if I find it too offensive.

 

An athiest group started putting anti-faith billboards up around here this week. My first impulse is to tear them down but the same law that allows us Christians to putup the "Keep Christ in Christmas" ones in December allows them to put up theirs now. I think we believers-whatever our faith-cqn take a little heat. For that reason I say use the offensive material to teach about intollerance rather than become so ourselves.

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History repeats itself. Those things that are depicted in those films did not occur in a vacuum, and if the circumstances present themselves again, those events WILL happen again. I could point to numerous historical events that have done so--witch-hunting, for example. That's why it's so important to have record of the consequences--be it in film, books, or otherwise. We can't just eradicate history and pretend it didn't happen. Burning evidence is the worst kind of denial.

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I don't think there is ever any occasion in which it is all right to be racist or sexist. Why would someone be proud to say that? Ignorance is not macho, it is not cool and it is not okay.

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That's a good post...and yes, those kinds of films would be remade to suit a new audience.

 

But...something else happens...

 

The original version becomes a precedent. It is used by a later generation as proof that racism or genocide is a historical practice, has gone on through the ages and is on some level an acceptable and allowed form of human conduct.

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I never said to deny it happened or existed. But I think we have to be cautious of how these products are used by future generations. We can reformulate these products and dilute their importance and lessen some of their impact. We can rewrite history if we are smart and there is good purpose for doing so.

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No, no, no. I just do not buy your second paragraph at all. That is too extreme and does not follow logic.

 

Let's say I want to get rid of ISHTAR and you say, 'We can't get rid of ISHTAR because we will lose our culture.' That is an inflated claim. What if ISHTAR was bogus and had no cultural value whatsoever? But there you go advocating that it be preserved and shown a thousand years from now. It's like going to a restaurant, and I'm saying, let's order steak...but you are sticking to dog food.

 

We have to make a judgment about some of these films. They are not all good. We'd be fools to think they all were. A film that espouses racism, sexism, or homophobia cannot possibly be part of a healthy societal diet.

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> {quote:title=ClassicViewer wrote:}{quote}

> What if TRIUMPH OF THE WILL becomes a big film again in 100 years, when some Aryan sect decides to use it to rally its followers the way Hitler did. If that were to happen, wouldn't you be in the right to want it removed? Especially if it were used to educate people into hatred?

>

> As for the Dunne/Grant picture, why can't the studio go ahead and trim that scene or dub some of the dialogue and re-copyright it...? Is that asking too much to make it less offensive?

 

I don't agree that a film like Triumph of the Will should be removed/destroyed. You are worried about how people might act in 100 years. I believe it, and even films that depict stereotypes, are in-you-face reminders every day of never letting them happen again. How many times have you seen some stereotype from an old film and now groan that we could ever have been that way? I certainly feel it makes me more aware of how far we have come and how thankful I am we have.

 

If a stereotype comes on screen during a scene, it may take me out of the movie's story for a moment and make me wince, but that's a small price to pay for a wakeup call to how people should be shown and treated.

 

And a film like Triumph is a giant wake-up call to the evil that existed and could exist again unless people know about it and stop it before it ever starts.

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I don't understand your reply at all. While I agree with what you have posted I don't see how any of it relates. Ok, it isn't cool or okay. (duh), but that doesn't change the fact that it exist and that many people and cultures view it (being racist or sexist) as a-okay.

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Maybe you were exaggerating and I misinterpreted, but you said that the older forms of racism and sexism were better in comparison to modern day political correctness. Despite all its flaws, I think a PC-world is better than an ignorant one...at least the thought police are trying to bring about change and make all people feel included.

 

I call them the thoughtful police.

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Please read more carefully. I said that being PC was better. The 'it' in that sentence was being PC. (the fact that you misread it says something, doesn't it).

 

Your last sentence is just a repeat of what I said in my post.

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> {quote:title=ClassicViewer wrote:}{quote}

> Where is there evidence that suppressing anything is going to lead to it happening again? When you take medicine and suppress a cold or a cough, does it come back the very next day worse than before?

>

> I think some of us are going to dramatic lengths to say that nothing must ever be forgotten or removed from society. But isn't there a natural selection, in terms of box office appeal and just the organic way that films stay in favor from one generation to the next which indicates what we carry forward? If fifty years from now, GONE WITH THE WIND or TITANIC are forgotten motion pictures, what are we going to do about that? Time evolves and it does sideline things that have fallen out of favor.

> {quote:title=ClassicViewer wrote:}{quote}

> Where is there evidence that suppressing anything is going to lead to it happening again? When you take medicine and suppress a cold or a cough, does it come back the very next day worse than before?

>

> I think some of us are going to dramatic lengths to say that nothing must ever be forgotten or removed from society. But isn't there a natural selection, in terms of box office appeal and just the organic way that films stay in favor from one generation to the next which indicates what we carry forward? If fifty years from now, GONE WITH THE WIND or TITANIC are forgotten motion pictures, what are we going to do about that? Time evolves and it does sideline things that have fallen out of favor.

 

 

"Natural selection" of films fading from the public consciousness over time is definitely not the same as "editing" history via banning/burning/destroying

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Just a side note, I was a film major in college and we had to watch both Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will, so obviously those films are still relevant from an academic and historical standpoint.

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I don't see why you are getting snarky. The fact that I misread it means I need to put my glasses on...there is no conspiracy and there is nothing more to it.

 

I just went back to your post and re-read it. I am glad that I misinterpreted it. I would much rather eat crow and have you on the PC-side of things, any day.

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Certainly a little political correctness is better than any racism.

 

But when you are speaking of burning films I think that is political correctness taken too far.

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Right, they are used to indoctrinate film students into not making those kinds of films in the future.

 

But again, that sort of education could be accomplished with a textbook, a slide show, a museum exhibit, or still photographs. The film itself does not not need to exist in its entirety for it to be studied or the condition surrounding its construction explained.

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I don't see why you are getting snarky. Really?

 

You need to go back and read your first reply. That reply implied things that any decent person wouldn't wish to be associated with.

 

I wouldn't assume things like that about someone unless I read their postings very carefully or I had a history of that type of conduct with them before. So yes, in some ways there is a conspiracy; To assume something very negative about others instead of assuming one must of misintepreted.

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What is this 'speaking of burning films' that concerns you? I just don't see it.

 

First I assume any burning of film is only a COPY of said film. i.e. the burning does NOT destroy the only remaining version of said film. So what harm is done? The act of burning a copy of a film is just a political stunt to influence people. That is just free speech in my view. They can burn copies of the film and I can get a copy and watch the film.

 

Again, why does that concern you? I just don't see where the sky is falling.

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> {quote:title=jamesjazzguitar wrote:}{quote}

> What is this 'speaking of burning films' that concerns you? I just don't see it.

>

> First I assume any burning of film is only a COPY of said film. i.e. the burning does NOT destroy the only remaining version of said film. So what harm is done? The act of burning a copy of a film is just a political stunt to influence people. That is just free speech in my view. They can burn copies of the film and I can get a copy and watch the film.

>

> Again, why does that concern you? I just don't see where the sky is falling.

 

 

Um no we are talking about completely destroying all traces of a film (not just one copy).

 

Why don't you read this entire thread so you can understand what we are actually discussing here.

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First, thanks for the clarity on the topic here.

 

What political party or group or individual political figure has called for "completely destroying all traces of a film"?

 

Any type of law that would allow a film that is owned by a private citizen or company to be completely destroyed wouldn't be constitutional. So I still don't see why anyone would worry about this.

 

Now what I have seen is local school boards banning certain books or movies. I don't agree with these boards but they are NOT "completely destroying all traces of a film" and thus their misguided actions are nothing to be alarmed about unless one has a kid going to said school.

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This is more an intellectual what-if.

 

The topic originated in the Audrey/Emma thread and made its way here. We were originally discussing the merits of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S and if it's worth preserving due to its racist text.

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