Quentin Tarantino — director, writer, and sometimes controversial soundbite deliverer — recently expressed his feelings about the ongoing debate on whether movie violence affects real-life violence.
The Huffington Post reports that Tarantino was audibly “annoyed” when he was asked in a recent NPR interview with Fresh Air host, Terry Gross, if he found watching violent films less “fun” after the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
To this, the director said, “Not for me.”
When Gross persisted and referred to Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained —which features gun shootings, beatings, whippings and multiple instances of violence in line with its slavery theme — as “sadistic,” Tarantino tersely replied:
“When you say, ‘After the tragedy,’ what do you mean by that exactly? Do you mean, ‘On that day, would I watch ‘The Wild Bunch’?’ Maybe not on that day. Would I watch a kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre? Maybe, because they have nothing to do with each other.”
When Gross then suggested that Tarantino sounded annoyed, he answered:
“Yeah, I am. I’m really annoyed. I think it’s disrespectful to their memory, actually … to talk about movies. I think it’s totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health.”
“I’ve been asked this question for 20 years, about the effects of violence in movies related to violence in real life. My answer was the same 20 years ago. It hasn’t changed one iota. Obviously, I don’t think one has to do with the other.”
It’s an interesting point. Humanity’s history self-evidently illustrates that violence in our societies predates movies and video games, so does that mean Gross’ line of questioning — and the views of the National Rifle Association and others — are a simplistic reading of events?
According to a recent Hollywood Reporter poll conducted after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the results showed that 70 percent of adults over 30 said there was too much violence in film and television advertising. But, equally, 75 percent said the government shouldn’t interfere with movie content.
After tragedies such as the shootings in Aurora, Colarado and Newtown, do you think fictional violence has an effect on real world violence, or do think the two are unrelated?