Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sam Peckinpah On Movie Violence


Critical impressions of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah have grown more complex over time, but during his lifetime, at least post-WILD BUNCH, he was THE avatar of cinematic violence for most everyone who knew his name. This was probably a bit unfair, considering that movies had become more violent across the board, but you get the sense that Peckinpah reveled in it a little.

This interview shows Peckinpah on edge, defending the humanity of his films against the widespread notion that he was some kind of Pope of movie violence. He gets out on the edge of himself in this interview - pausing for dramatic emphasis and speaking slowly, in staccato bursts like a newscaster describing an atrocity.

"I made THE WILD BUNCH because I still believed in the Greek theory of catharsis. That by seeing this we would be purged by pity and fear and get this out of our system. I was wrong."

Probably, Sam Peckinpah could not be boring if he tried. He's certainly not boring here.

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