Cannes film sickens audience
May 26, 2002 3:51 AM   Subscribe

Cannes film sickens audience It proved so shocking that 250 people walked out, some needing medical attention. Good lord.
posted by Summer (21 comments total)
Fire wardens had to administer oxygen to 20 people who fainted during the film...

This may be true -- who am I to say? -- but it certainly sounds like a publicity stunt from a 1950s B movie. I wonder how many of those twenty fainters were unemployed actors? And was the heat turned up in the theater? And what unemployed actor, paid for the stunt or not, would not faint for the cameras at Cannes if the opportunity presented itself? A report here on a subsequent screening says:

"Medics treated a woman after she stumbled out feeling "nauseous," a doorman at the main Lumiere theater said."

That doesn't sound so terrible. Maybe she just had bad butter on her popcorn.
posted by pracowity at 5:22 AM on May 26, 2002

Before playing the part, she watched films such as The Accused and Deliverance to toughen herself up.

posted by stbalbach at 5:40 AM on May 26, 2002

people did similar at the 'blair witch project' screening. maybe it has more to do with the time of screening (in this case early sat am).
hangovers still in full effect.
posted by asok at 5:50 AM on May 26, 2002

I don't know about staged drama, but I do know that I don't think I'd feel too well after watching a ten minute depiction of a woman being brutally sodomised. But then, I'm not completely numb to violence, even when I know that it's fake.

1 in 3 American women experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. I'm not sure how that number bears out in Europe, but it's possible that seeing something like that triggered strong emotional reactions in a lot of people, for obvious reasons.
posted by Dreama at 6:10 AM on May 26, 2002

You know that that scene will not make it across the pond to North America. I often wonder how necessary these graphic depictions are. I understand that there is sometimes a need to show unpleasant things, but do we have to view it in its full glory? Some of my favorite movies are loved because of what I didn't get to see.

Dreama, you have a good point.
posted by ashbury at 6:20 AM on May 26, 2002

dreama, i'm with you on that. if this was a publicity stunt they succeeded in turning me off the idea of watching this film.
posted by dabitch at 6:34 AM on May 26, 2002

My thoughts exactly, ashbury. Why do we need to see a ten minute scene of sexual violence? Seems like a lame, sensationalist way of covering up narrative shortcomings and weaknesses. When in doubt, gross 'em out! seems to be the motto of hack filmmakers.
posted by evanizer at 7:51 AM on May 26, 2002

That's probably why Sharon Stone is flipping them off.
posted by elgoose at 8:04 AM on May 26, 2002

Apparently it had as much to do with the filming style. I suppose an endlessly spinning shot of puppies would also sicken quite a few.
posted by HTuttle at 8:57 AM on May 26, 2002

Dreama stole my thoughts too :/
posted by Hankins at 9:14 AM on May 26, 2002

Dreama - '1 in 3 American women experience sexual violence at some point in their lives'
the last figure i saw along these lines was - 1 in 2 women experience abuse before the age of 18, in britain.
i can't find anything to back that figure up, but the figure 1 in 4 is being used by rape crisis.
one in four is the name of a uk charity dedicated tothe support of abuse victims.
posted by asok at 9:16 AM on May 26, 2002

My roommate and I both got sick when we watched Blair Witch. I think it was the theater hot dogs combined with the shaky jerky camera.

She threw up in the nearest trash can and got better, I didn't and was sick for 4 days.
posted by Foosnark at 9:51 AM on May 26, 2002

This is not too surprising, if melodramatic. The director tried pretty hard to disgust his audience with his first full-length, which, while disturbing, was also quite good.
posted by apostasy at 10:01 AM on May 26, 2002

I am sickened by any violent depiction of rape, murder or other bloody violence, and I very much hope I always am.
While I'm not going to argue that violence in the media causes violence in real life, per se, I do think that accepting violence towards women, gunplay and gore in movies as a matter of course is one precarious step closer to accepting those things in real life.
posted by bonheur at 11:01 AM on May 26, 2002

The description of the movie reminds me of the french film Baise Moi. Only instead of the boyfriend taking revenge, two women take revenge...
posted by modularette at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2002

"Maybe she just had bad butter on her popcorn"...Maybe it wasn't butter.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2002

I suppose the point being made by the film-maker is that there's an established way for film-makers to 'do' rape and violence that makes it not acceptable, but viewable. There's the line from 'Roz & Guil Are Dead' where they talk about hanging prisoners on stage, and how it didn't work as drama, because the reality of violence and assault is awful precisely because it's banal and 'undramatic'. (Wasn't one of the commentaries on the Daniel Pearl execution video that the bastards who made it obviously paid a grotesque attention to production values for maximum effect? Just cutting someone's throat on video doesn't have the same impact. The two discussions have something in common.)

Anyway, I'd have to see the film itself to know whether or not it's gratuitous, or making a point about cinematic portrayal. Anyone ever see 'Crash'? That was condemned for its 'glamourisation' of violence, but I think it proved the opposite.
posted by riviera at 12:22 PM on May 26, 2002

1 in 3 American women experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. I'm not sure how that number bears out in Europe, but it's possible that seeing something like that triggered strong emotional reactions in a lot of people, for obvious reasons.

But is it bad that these emotions were triggered? Doesn't it depend on what sort of effect the director was going for, and why, and in what context the violence appears? Speaking of The Accused and Deliverence, both contain scenes that are very disturbing, and meant to be as a piece of what the whole film was trying to do. Just because it's unpleasant doesn't mean it's gratuitous, nor does it mean that the film as a whole is endorsing the behavior of a certain character in a certain scene.
posted by bingo at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2002

But is it bad that these emotions were triggered?

Did anyone say it was bad? I think it's more of a personal decision -- if you don't like it, you don't have to watch it. Articles like this mean that folks like me won't accidentally walk into the movie and see things they don't feel like seeing. I generally avoid movies that are sexually disturbing because I don't go to movies to be disturbed, and haunting images stay with me much longer than is useful. It's not so much what's happening on screen [and riviera, I agree with you about Crash, great movie] but the fact that I'm experiencing it in a room full of total strangers. One person in an audience that laughs/cries/sneezes during a scene like that and you can have a vastly different reaction to it, and the movie as a whole.
posted by jessamyn at 3:31 PM on May 26, 2002

"The film has received mixed reviews from critics, but those remaining in the audience at the end of the early Saturday morning screening gave it a five-minute standing ovation."
Is the 5 minute ovation just something that every film gets at Canne? I remember seeing a documentry where they suggested that most of that sort of thing was orchestrated.
posted by davidgentle at 4:42 PM on May 26, 2002

Much respected critic Mike D'Angelo added the film to his running top ten list. I love how he does his top ten list as the year goes on. He compares it to Memento, which was his favorite film of last year.
posted by McBain at 3:25 AM on May 27, 2002 [1 favorite]

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