Sue a movie? Really? Part 2/2: Accountability

October 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I was addressing the question of a misleading trailer. I was motivated by the lawsuit against the movie “Drive.” If you remember (cf part 1), the suit was not only about the trailer but also about the content in itself. The woman saw in the movie an insult to religion. That made me think of an interesting topic:

Are artists accountable for their work of art? Do they have all the rights?

That’s of course a question that could lead to endless discussions. But I just wanted to focus on one specific story. During the Cannes Film Festival 2011, Lars Von Trier was presenting his new movie “Melancholia,” a movie for which Kirsten Dunst won the palme for “Best Actress.” During the press conference, Von Trier declared his sympathies for Hitler and that he understood “him.” This declaration shook the entire festival and then came the question: do we have to ban “Melancholia” from the competition or just Lars Von Trier? Both? Eventually decision was made to ban Von Trier but the movie remained in the festival. By this decision, the staff judged that they had to separate the work of art from its creator and that the movie was not concerned about the problem. I thought it was the right decision. The festival considered that a movie director is not untouchable and must be held accountable for what he declared even during the protocol of its own movie. Lars Von Trier is well known for making highly polemical movies, but he has never been attacked on the subject of his movies. So, no, artist and creators do not have all the rights, but I think that we must remember that when looking at a work of art, we should express only opinions, not judgments.

Emmanuel

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