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Conflict and Violence

May 04, 1999

I wish to take issue with the following statement that appeared in Sean Mitchell's commentary on May 1: " 'Violence' itself in movies is not the problem, and shouldn't be the issue. Drama is conflict, and violence is conflict writ large."

I fear this is backward, and it explains the often gratuitous violence in many films.

Conflict is the result of: 1. a person wanting something very dearly, a goal that, 2. for very good reasons we, the audience, all understand, believe in and care about, 3. but this person must face opposing forces--man, animal or nature--that defy them in reaching this goal.

Not all conflict needs to express itself in violence: Many compelling dramas do not.

MAUDE HAM

Burbank

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