I have been coming to the Sundance Film Festival since 1992. To me, even as the festival is taken over by Hollywood, it still offers in-depth films that explore a broad spectrum of subjects whether in short films, features or documentaries. I enjoy hearing about how people behave, what celebrities don't tip, and what movies are creating passionate debate, because the best part of Sundance is seeing people ENGAGED.
So I got really pissed off about the movie Hounddog. The director did an incredible job--told a rich narrative that actually dealt with sexual assault. The movie has caused quite a bit of controversy as the film depicts Dakota Fanning, playing a 12-year-old girl who gets raped. The scene is very powerful and tastefully done--as you never see anything below the shoulders.
Roger Friedman of Fox News, my first question to you is do you really believe that the rape scene has "no point" and "is simply there for shock value"? Either you are completely ignorant or stupid -- neither word I use lightly as I do not allow my children to use them.
Let me explain what the purpose of that scene was. Lewellen, is a young girl trapped in a tumultous, dysfunctional family. Her only escape from her tragic life comes from her singing Elvis songs. She is so desperate to see him in concert, that she sings for the young man who rapes her. She had been promised a ticket by her friend--when she follows him into the shed, the older man is waiting there.
The one thing that allows her to feel safe is taken away by this violent act. After the rape she refuses to sing. It eats away at her soul and the gift that she has. How can she not stop singing? She associates her singing with the loss. Of her innocence.
If one bothered to see the film it would be clear how gentle and gingerly the rape scene was filmed. Powerful.
I've heard the complaint that this will be a pedophile rental. If that is true--and I don't think it is--should that take precedence over educating the public? Because TRULY mothers were bringing their daughters to the screening. One mother cried as she thanked the director. What is more important? Shouldn't we worry about pedophiles on the street rather than sitting in their home. I don't think so.
I heard a statistic from one of the mothers who brought her daughter. That 40 percent of girls will experience this before their 18!
The director, Deborah Kampmeier, told her very personal and difficult story. She defended Dakota Fanning today and said "Dakota should be applauded for the voice she has given to so many silenced women.".
I was one of those silenced children and it took me years to recover from the incredible damage. Many never recover. So Dakota, thank you! Deborah-thank you. It's not the movie, its the act that's so vile. We should look at THAT issue. It took tremendous courage to tell this very personal story. AMEN