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What are your taboos in film

Shears.jpgI was thinking about social taboos and how everyone has different taboos in life, boundaries that shouldn't be crossed, etc. I was thinking about how mine are remarkably open compared to most people I know, and how some subjects can't be discussed without upsetting someone or making them feel uncomfortable.

Then my mind wandered to film, and I thought of the different attitudes people have towards cinema and what would be classed as taboo for them. This Easter Sunday The Passion of the Christ is being shown on UK television, but not The Last Temptation of Christ, and this got me thinking.

What are your personal taboos in film?

There are the obvious ones such as sex and death, although these words cover so much that I think we should seek some clarification on where your taboos lie in amongst these.

For example just saying death is a taboo would mean any portrayal of death would be out of bounds for you, even funeral scenes. The same can be said of so many other subjects.

So rather than just blanket approach taboos, lets try and be more specific and find out what people really think is out of bounds for a film, rather than sounding like some professional complaining group!

This is really difficult for me to think of because I've seen so many films cover topics you would have thought unfilmable and done them extremely well.

For example Twist of Faith (Filmstalker review) is a documentary that covered child abuse and its effects on people in their adult lives, and the fictional The Woodsman (Filmstalker review) gives a view of paedophilia that is difficult to watch but also very insightful and understanding.

It could be said that any films which show abuse should be banned. Except this would include many educational films, or films which provide the viewer with an understanding of something they have never experienced before, or something they carried biased views about.

I think I can happily say that my taboos are any film where unnecessary suffering of humans or animals is shown for real. Yet again there are documentaries which portray suffering in war to great effect, but they do have to be contained and shot respectively. This even comes down to the level of emotional suffering, not just physical. Unless there is some strong justification within the moral message or the educational aspects of the film, I'd struggle to accept them.

Thinking of this topic I could really see it spawning out to individual features on specific areas of taboos, but for now let's see what your personal cinematic taboos are, what is just too much on screen for you, or what can you just not watch? Is it perhaps the case that religion isn't the biggest taboo on screen, and what films have broken them?



Only a snuff movie could be a taboo. There are no boundaries concerning imagination, or at least, there shouldn´t be. That´s all I have to say about this.

Kids being killed in movies. I've only seen this twice in my life and I'm not a big fan of it.

Maximum Overdrive



Any film that portrays gratuitous violence is definitely not for me.

Taboos? I'm pretty much open to anything as long as kids don't see it. The only exception I can think of is anything that is illegal; like Child Porn or a REAL death (snuff film).

I've never been opposed to anything being made before and don't think I ever will. With the exception of United 93. But I've since changed my mind 180 degrees after I realized it was the greatest film of 2006 and put together brilliantly.

it aint what you do...

I would think that it's more a question of context and what message is behind what is being shown. If a filmmaker or other artist is going to tackle a subject that elicits strong feelings he needs to be prepared for the reaction and he needs to UNDERSTAND it instead of just waving his hand and saying that people "just don't get it."

A movie showing the effects of pedophilia on children is one thing, a movie glorifying the perpetrator is another thing entirely. Abusing/poking fun at the mentally handicapped would be crossing the line IMHO.

I think that if the intent is to insult or exploit, then that stinks. The Christian religion is often a target of this sort of thing, as opposed to the Islamic religion, since if you insult Islam in a very public way you have to go into hiding for fear of losing your life.

But Rosie O'Donnell thinks that the two religions are equivalent in terms of fanatacism.

Vic (bracing for impact)

Excessive gore, torture and real death.

So far, the movie that has gone closer to cross the line is "Funny Games" by Michael Haneke.

Or maybe "Ichi the Killer" by Takashi Miike". Or maybe "Irréversible" by Gaspar Noé. But this can be argued. They are fiction.

Any news daily shows more disturbing things than all the cinema industry in years. And those things are real.

Anyway, I´d like to hear some examples of movies that "crossed the line". Then we could talk about it.


Interesting... I just went to IMDB.com and found two versions of "Funny Games", one was done in '97 and the other in '07 and they both list Haneke as the director?


Well now THERE's a unique way to go in regard to remakes, eh? :-)



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