The subject of violence in cinema is always a hotly contested one, with many people claiming that cinematic violence has the power to corrupt minds and incite real violence. While that has certainly happened on multiple occasions in the history of cinema, these cases have been outliers involving deeply disturbed individuals who deliberately sought inspiration from films like Taxi Driver and A Clockwork Orange for their plans.
One filmmaker who has been routinely targeted with such accusations is Quentin Tarantino who has insisted that there is a difference between cinematic violence and real violence. While expressing his disappointment at the fact that many people cannot distinguish between the two, Tarantino said that such prejudices hinder them from watching powerful cinematic masterpieces.
“I know people who could’ve seen Reservoir Dogs and could’ve been fine with it,” Tarantino maintained. “But when they hear ‘violence, violence, violence’… they talked about Reservoir Dogs as the most violent movie ever made. Now, someday, I may make the most violent movie ever made and I wouldn’t mind people saying it. But I didn’t.”
The people who denounce cinematic violence have miserably failed to grasp the difference between what is real and what is fictional, leading them to call for actual violence. In one particular interview, the interviewer even wished real violence upon Tarantino in order to rectify his perception which is such a bizarre thing to say that it makes us feel like we are watching a comedy sketch.
While Tarantino’s heroes like Brian De Palma have routinely defended him, one particularly bizarre filmmaker also supported the school of thinking that Tarantino subscribes to when it comes to cinematic violence. In 1992, the same year Reservoir Dogs premiered, at Cannes during a conference for Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch also faced accusations that his film was violent.
Lynch responded: “There are some things that are going on these days, we are attacking films for violence and not doing a whole lot in the world for violence. A film is a safe place to have experiences. V
“iolence exists and it has a major part in a lot of fantastic stories. If I would be championing the violence, that would be one thing but I don’t think this film is [doing that]… I believe in very strong films and I don’t apologise one bit as long as there is a balance.”
See the clip, below.