Sunday, March 20, 2005

Double Feature of Double Standards

We are currently enjoying one of the more interesting days in the history of Croatian television. For the very first time a TV station is being temporarily taken off the air for violating decency standards or, in other words, airing images of un-simulated sexual activities between two consenting adults during its late-night show programme. This was breech of decency standards worthy of such punishments.

So, OTV was off the air and unable to disturb Croatian people and insult human dignity, but the torch was nevertheless carried by state-run HRT. They treated their viewers with two very interesting films.

First one was Ridley Scott’s Hannibal. What was supposed to be the sequel to Silence of the Lambs is now mostly remembered for the scene during which one of participants is self-consuming in the most original way imaginable. And, needless to say, in the most graphic way possible, which surpasses even the scene featuring one person’s public disembowelling.

This interesting experience was followed Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, French film which had gained a lot of publicity by making many of the sensitive viewers walk out of theatres. Those who did walk out were divided in the two groups – those who couldn’t stand scene featuring fire extinguisher and those who couldn’t stand the more infamous scene during which Monica Belluci’s character spends 10-15 minutes being sodomised in the most brutal way imaginable. Brutality and apparent realism of the scene later led to all kinds of urban legends about Monica Belluci being subjected to “method acting” and her marriage to Vincent Cassell ending as a result of such unimaginable trauma.

While the artistic merits of those two films can be subject of the debate (although not so in the case of Hannibal, which was Hollywood at its worst), it is almost certain that its content is disturbing and inappropriate for certain sections of audience. But does it insult human dignity? Or, to be more precise, does the anti-human and disturbing activity insults human dignity when it is presented as commercial entertainment while some very human, very natural and, in the most cases, anything but disturbing activity might not be displayed in order to make a point in a talk show?

Or, which is more important question, will HRT be taken off the air for this?

To which the most natural answer is “Do pigs fly?".


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