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Festivale online magazine, December, 1997

The End of Violence

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A thoughtful essay on life and how we live with violence. Slow at times, it expresses a love-hate relationship with film-making Hollywood and the strange fascination that people have with anything that jolts their adrenal glands, unbearable or not.
Bill Pullman in The Edge of Violence
Bill Pullman in The Edge of Violence

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What makes a good movie? a popular movie? a mega-hit? What can film makers do to grab the audience and propel them through 120 minutes without a thought of themselves, their mortgages and their employment woes?

Men in Black, Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, E.T., what do they offer? Escapism? Glamour? True Glitz? A bright, shallow sparkling thing of noise and colour that pushes our buttons. Kill that! Don't die! Take it! Break it! Chase it! Escape it! Shout! Scream!

Don't forget the story arc, writers. Build the story up to the midpoint, create an inescapable situation by page 100 and then BANG! POW! Fix it! resolve it.

A kind of Saturday night glandular fever -Films that aim at your glands, not your head, not you. Men in Black wants your money, not your minds. Buy the tie-in merchandise, not the idea.

Yep, you know where I'm going from here. Not all films are like that.

Sometimes we go to films and no-one dies a gory death. No-one chases, no-one runs, no aliens ask to use the phone. And oddly enough, we find this strange, maybe disappointing. Is something missing, or just different?

Andie McDowell in The End of Violence
Andie McDowell in The End of Violence

We've been fed so much junk we look at a well-balanced meal with nutritional content and stare. Mum! This can't be food, there's no polystyrene and free Disney plastic character for $1 extra.

So let me talk to you about storytelling -- about the tradition as old as human thought itself. We developed language because we think, we feel, we experience, and we remember, and we share.

Telling stories about real and imagined adventures, or about What we think of or what we feel is part of human nature.

There is a special pleasure in communication, the way that words fall together to express concepts and experiences, the deep magic of words and pictures to reach far into us and be. You see external things with your eyes, you hear external noises with your ears, these are senses, and words and stories light up our senses, feeding us with stimuli that we build within ourselves.

The End of Violence explores violence, asks us to define violence and asks us to question our relationship to violence. It does this as a story, a thread of which is Mike Max's (Bill Pullman) near-encounter with death, a thread is Cat (Traci Lind) and the police detective (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a thread is the actor's studio where they open their lives and emotions up for the world to see, and share and encompass.

Movie Poster, The End of Violence, Festivale film reviews; endviolence.jpg - 23697 Bytes Someone dies in this movie. Someone lives. Someone gains a high-powered career. Someone finds love. Someone loses it.

When The End of Violence fades to black, you can't go out and buy the lunch box, there are no souvenirs to buy, but the language and the story is yours to keep, and the ideas are yours to explore, and the characters are yours to remember.

When Men in Black ends, we know the characters will go on to other adventures, and the CEO in LA LA Land willing, we will join them. When The End of Violence ends, we feel that part of life was raised to the camera, held in focus for us to attend to, and then dropped back, seamlessly into the real, mundane world again. It's more about us and our lives than aliens, or star-crossed lovers or avengers.

Sometimes a story is just a story, and sometimes it's a door to new thoughts and new selves.

buyreel.jpg - 5045 Bytes This film takes pleasure in it's craft, and that shines through. See it with a friend.
by Ali Kayn
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Just the facts:

Title: The End of Violence (1997) M
Written by: Nicholas Klein, based on a story by Nicholas Klein and Wim Wenders
Directed by: Wim Wenders
Produced by: Deepak Nayar, Wim Wenders, Nicholas Klein
Edited by: Peter Pryzygodda
Director of Photography: Pascal Rabaud

Official website:
The Players: Bill Pullman; Andie MacDowell; Gabriel Byrne; Traci Lind; Rosalind Chao; Pruitt Taylor Vince
For session times of current films, use the cinema listings on the Movie links page. For scheduled release dates, see the coming attractions section.
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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