More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment

More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment

More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment

More Than a Movie: Ethics in Entertainment

Synopsis

"If you laughed when you first read this title, you are probably ready to read this book. Starting with the pivotal question. Does media influence society? Miguel Valenti and a host of film-industry contributors present real ethical issues confronted daily when producing works of film. More Than a Movie engages social responsibility in filmmakers, encouraging them to become aware of the possible consequences of the images and attitudes they choose. More Than a Movie is written as a tool for discussion and debate in professional as well as academic arenas. Historical as well as contemporary, the chapters give readers a framework to see and understand the issues at stake." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

In sophisticated circles today, the mere mention of "ethics in filmmaking" is bound to get a cynical laugh, one that says there aren't any; indeed, that the very subject itself is as archaic as the old Hollywood Production Code, which supposedly kept filmmakers in line throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s; a laugh that says this truly is the era of "anything goes"; specifically, anything that makes as much money as possible. An "ethic," after all (according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary ), is "a set of moral principles," and "moral" is defined (by the same source) as "concerned with goodness or badness of human character or behavior, or with the distinction between right and wrong." Religious teachings are often thought to supply these principles, and although the word "religion" is of "doubtful" etymology, Robert Graves has traced it rather convincingly (in The White Goddess) to a Latin word that means "to choose, or pick, the right thing."

Few people would disagree that unfortunately we are living in a largely unethical, often amoral, generally irreligious time, and so one could argue that the movies are only an accurate reflection of our fractured and confused society. Does this hypothesis, however, excuse filmmakers from any moral responsibility in their professional work? Quite apparently, many seem to think it does. I don't.

Historically, from the start of exhibited moving pictures in 1895, until around 1933, each picture maker or studio was responsible for its own work based on its own set of values. By the early 1930s, many people judged that things had gotten out of hand--there had been some nudity in the late silent films and the early talkies, as well as some sexual candor and a good deal of violence (all of it pretty tame by contemporary standards). And so, to preclude . . .

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