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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:07 pm 
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I read the hunting scene in Rules as an indictment not of the cruelty of actually shooting the animals as the pointlessness of the act- I never got the impression that Renoir thought killing rabbits was in of itself evil, nor that shooting them was an unconscionable way to go about it, but that the dully mechanical slaughter of them as some kind of a sport that nobody actually enjoys is revolting. As the killing does serve a purpose in making the movie, I don't see that as being hypocritical, though I don't doubt that there's self criticism there, in the same way that there's self criticism in casting himself in the film.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Mr Sausage wrote:
Well, if you want to feel as Zot does that eating meat means you have no ground to find the cruel treatment of an animal before death deplorable, go ahead, you can think it if you like.

Surely there's some middle ground/gray area though? Like, I eat meat, might even go so far as to say that I love it, but am also occasionally capable of reflection on what has to happen for it to get to my plate. And I love Andrei Rublev, and consider Tarkovsky one of the greatest artists in all of history, and yet recognize that he was just a man. But still I would never think of excising the horse scene from the film any more than I would the nudity or foul language (which some take offense to as well, not that I mean to start a debate on the relative merits of what people take offense to). And this is a bit too hypothetical to be of any of use, but if I had been on set and in a position to dissuade Tarkovsky from treating the horse as he did, I'm not sure that I would have, any more than I would have second guessed any of his other artistic decisions. Viewed only as a component of the film, it provides for an incredibly powerful moment, both artful and terrible, punctuating that invasion sequence with real horror. And yet, at the same time, when I think only about the horse and what it went through in that moment, it fills me with sadness. See, gray area.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:54 pm 
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swo17 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
Well, if you want to feel as Zot does that eating meat means you have no ground to find the cruel treatment of an animal before death deplorable, go ahead, you can think it if you like.

Surely there's some middle ground/gray area though? Like, I eat meat, might even go so far as to say that I love it, but am also occasionally capable of reflection on what has to happen for it to get to my plate. And I love Andrei Rublev, and consider Tarkovsky one of the greatest artists in all of history, and yet recognize that he was just a man. But still I would never think of excising the horse scene from the film any more than I would the nudity or foul language (which some take offense to as well, not that I mean to start a debate on the relative merits of what people take offense to).

The problem here is we're confusing two arguments. We can probably all admit the following:

There is a moral difference between:
A. killing an animal.
B. tormenting an animal before killing it.

We can have an argument about whether eating animals is ethical or not. But that is not the same argument as whether tormenting and killing animals is ethical. The cruelty lies in the torment. You would first have to establish that both A and B are cruel in an equal, indistinct manner before you would ever be able to claim that someone who eats meat can't vocally deplore tormenting an animal.

As for excising the horse scene, I offer no argument one way or the other. I'm not interested in throwing two social taboos at each other (censorship and animal cruelty) and seeing which one gives way first. And concerning what goes on my own plate, I buy local, organic farm-raised meat both because I know the animals weren't filled with chemicals and because I know the animals weren't treated inhumanely in a factory. My conscience is perfectly clear on whether my choice to eat meat is better than the choice to stab a horse in the neck, send him tumbling painfully down a flight of stairs, spear him, and then finally kill him cleanly off-screen.

swo17 wrote:
And this is a bit too hypothetical to be of any of use, but if I had been on set and in a position to dissuade Tarkovsky from treating the horse as he did, I'm not sure that I would have, any more than I would have second guessed any of his other artistic decisions. Viewed only as a component of the film, it provides for an incredibly powerful moment, both artful and terrible, punctuating that invasion sequence with real horror. And yet, at the same time, when I think only about the horse and what it went through in that moment, it fills me with sadness. See, gray area.

It's only a gray area if you admit, first, that the horse's torment is seriously problematic. It's not a grey area if you excuse it or play it off/down and whatever else. Dealing with a gray area means equally considering the good and the bad. In this case, the gray area is precisely what I said above: it calls into question the ingenuousness of Tarkovsky's own project.

There is a great principle to follow: always suspect most the thing you most want to be true. Weigh the evidence against your interest. If you most want to preserve Andrey Rublev and Tarkovsky from the unpleasant stain of that scene, that's the motive you most need to suspect. Reserve your hardest scrutiny for your desire to see Tarkovsky and the movie absolved. That's something I had to do. The movie affected me no less powerfully and Tarkovsky the artist is no less beloved by me.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:55 pm 
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I'm personally not as troubled by Rules of the Game. The animals were being killed in the manner of a normal hunting expedition rather than being particularly tormented any further. The intensity and moral point of the filmmaker is expressed more through the rapid fire editing and the sheer numbers of animals being killed (which presumably is the number of animals killed during a hunting party compressed down into a literal rapid-fire sequence suggesting the mass slaughter of warfare and the sacrifice of lives to keep a society running, which Andre Jurieu's fate is the ultimate expression of). The camera lingers on the death throes of that final rabbit as a kind of full stop to the sequence, but it isn't showing the animal struggling in such a way that it needs to be put out of its misery with any further intervention.

I presume that those kinds of hunting parties are relatively common, even today (a quick Google search reveals game hunting holidays in France where you can kill deer, wild boar and so on), so I presume one like that was organised for the filming.

The scene in Andrei Rublev, as Mr Sausage says, is showing an animal suffering unnecessarily in addition to their death. We don't see the rabbits in The Rules of the Game being shot while staked to the ground (as in that Monty Python sketch!) or while in pens or catapulted across the landscape with a shout of "Pull!" - they are being hunted in the way that they would be whether there would be cameras there or not (the ethics of hunting itself would be a wider societal issue beyond the film).

I want to stress that I am more concerned about the treatment of the animals outside the film rather than whether the death was used to make an important point or not. I think the horse scene in Andrei Rublev is upsetting and powerful in the context of the film, and does fit into the uses of horses throughout the rest of the film (for example after the balloon crash at the beginning of the film there is a cut to a horse filmed in slow motion righting itself and trotting off, which makes a quite extreme contrast with the horse in the raid sequence who cannot do that, even though it is trying). The appropriateness of the context of the images in the film is not what I am questioning - it is whether it was appropriate to treat an animal in that manner for that shot.

To try and illustrate my point, think of that memorable scene as well described in this Electric Sheep review of the film:

Quote:
[in the Prince’s rivalry with his brother] Learning that the men who have worked on his palace are now on their way to his brother’s to make him an even more beautiful house, the Prince lets them go, only to have his men treacherously ambush them in the forest, and blind them. The image of the eyeless men, blood dripping from their empty orbits, piteously wandering around the forest, is one of the most chillingly memorable in the film.

That is an absolutely stunning scene in the film, memorably (and ironically in light of this debate) showing cruelty in the name of art. It is searing and horrific, yet I would hope that if Tarkovsky had actually gouged out all the eyeballs of the actors in that scene in the name of realism that he would have been called out on it. The difference between 'faking' and 'doing it for real' might not have had any real affect on the content (or even artistic power) of the scene, but it would have changed utterly the context of how the scene was produced.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Mr. Sausage wrote:
We can have an argument about whether eating animals is ethical or not. But that is not the same argument as whether tormenting and killing animals is ethical. The cruelty lies in the torment. You would first have to establish that both A and B are cruel in an equal, indistinct manner before you would ever be able to claim that someone who eats meat can't vocally deplore tormenting an animal.
Mr. Sausage, would you agree that most large facilities for raising meat animals exact the kind of cruelty you deplore; ergo, if you eat anything but free-range, grass-fed, "clean"-slaughtered organic meat, you are essentially supporting those cruel, torturous practices? Unless there is something in your use of the adjective "indistinct" that I'm not quite understanding that would not permit this argument under your terms...

Returning to Rublev, mostly I'm with Mr. Sausage on this matter. I think what Tarkovsky did at the very least problematizes the viewing experience, and I don't think contextualizing with time, nationality, or the fact that the animal was sacrificed for a Russian master's artistic vision can excuse that kind of excessive cruelty. Hell, even Dave Fleischer in 1935 knew people who mistreat horses are as shitty as Bluto. It doesn't take James Joyce to understand that.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:10 pm 
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gcgiles1dollarbin wrote:
Mr. Sausage, would you agree that most large facilities for raising meat animals exact the kind of cruelty you deplore; ergo, if you eat anything but free-range, grass-fed, "clean"-slaughtered organic meat, you are essentially supporting those cruel, torturous practices? Unless there is something in your use of the adjective "indistinct" that I'm not quite understanding that would not permit this argument under your terms...

I've heard some nasty stories about how the animals are treated in meat facilities, so, could be. Not all of them do that, I'm sure. But it's nice to know where your meat comes from.

But my distinction was posed generally: between the killing of an animal and the torture and killing of an animal. If you'd like to argue that consuming meat from certain places implicates you in the latter, you could run with that. But if you want to say that both practices, as concepts, are the same in every circumstance, you have a lot of work ahead of you.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:11 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
No matter how appropriate that image is during that sequence to show the horrors of war, or however much mournful organ music is placed on top, it still wasn't worth killing an animal in that manner.

I wholeheartedly agree.

There are two issues here though. i.) The barbaric reality of some of our favourite directors decades ago, and ii.) the fact that these films are legally shown uncut in many civilised countries, except the UK.

What use is this law which airbrushes film history in the UK, serving zero purpose because the uncut films are *legally* and easily available from many other countries? It's a farcical and dismaying situation.


Last edited by peerpee on Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:26 pm 
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Zot! wrote:
While I don't care for it myself, I do agree that unless you yourself live off the grid, and eat only root vegetables, the righteous condemnation is getting a bit much.
I think the only 'righteous condemnation' is coming from your side of the debate because as Mr. Sausage points out there is a huge distinction to be made.

Mr Sausage wrote:
Hunting for sport, sure, but killing for food or warmth is basic to our planet. It has a fundamental purpose that killing for a movie doesn't.
To me at least this seems to be a pretty simple concept of what is right and what is wrong. Although I understand where the opposing views are coming from I feel that they are misplaced.

Mr Sausage wrote:
You can like problematic material so long as you admit that it's problematic. And the fact that some people think there isn't any problem here rankles me to no end.
So much this.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:54 pm 

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MichaelB wrote:
The legislation was passed in 1937!

True, yet the original 1980 release of Heaven's Gate contained the horsefalls I think (but not the cockfighting). How's that work then?

Btw, I'd choose the intermission and Zsigmond's colour timing over the horsefalls, if Second Sight would care for an extra sale... :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:18 am 

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local, organic, farm-raised....these are all buzz-word adjectives that describe something other than how the animal was killed. None of these precludes the farmer or butcher from mistreating the animals, and most of these were not readily available from a supermarket until just recently. People make a big fuss about the cow slaughter in Apocalypse Now, because it is presented in an straightforward manner. I would wager that a lot more of God's creatures were killed when they napalmed the living hell out of large swaths of the jungle for filming, but because you don't see it happening, it didn't occur. This is of course the tip of the iceberg. If you pay your taxes you are visiting a multitude of cruelties upon things and people you don't even know. I respect your sensitivity and agree that all living creatures should be treated with repect. Hell, I get a little uncomfortable with butterfly collections and Milo & Otis. However, I feel like getting hung up on any particular horse is perhaps naive. Regardless, I'm still not sure if I understand your point. This is an outmoded practice in the movies as far as I am aware. What is the important lesson we must learn?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:09 am 
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zot wrote:
local, organic, farm-raised....these are all buzz-word adjectives that describe something other than how the animal was killed. None of these precludes the farmer or butcher from mistreating the animals, and most of these were not readily available from a supermarket until just recently

They describe where and how the animal was raised, in what conditions and using what kinds of foods, which is oddly precise for simple buzzwords. I know who was raising it and have a fairly good idea of how, given that I know people who actually run farms. I also buy them straight from the farmers themselves at local markets. I also know that these farmers fall under the Ontario government's Standards of Care regulations as well as the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Please, give this point up now. You're not going to win. On both philosophic and practical grounds, you're wrong.

Zot wrote:
However, I feel like getting hung up on any particular horse is perhaps naive.

If you want to confuse apathy for worldly experience, go right ahead. I don't believe that for a second, and there isn't a chance of convincing me that sending a horse down a flight of stairs for the sake of a film is something that horrifies only the naive. You can believe these things if you like, but you are fooling yourself.

As zedz said in a pm, this is a perfect test-case for filmmaker ethics and the effect of unethical behaviour on the film. It is sadly unsurprising that so many people are trying hard to find reasons not to deal with it.

Zot wrote:
Regardless, I'm still not sure if I understand your point. This is an outmoded practice in the movies as far as I am aware. What is the important lesson we must learn?

I can't imagine what parts you found confusing or unclear.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:14 am 
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colinr0380 wrote:
The difference between 'faking' and 'doing it for real' might not have had any real affect on the content (or even artistic power) of the scene, but it would have changed utterly the context of how the scene was produced.

This for me is the crux of the matter. ANY Director worth his salt can portray an animal in death, injury or distress without resorting to actual torment. It is an industry of images not a slaughter house. This goes for whatever culture or historical period it originates from. Simple and reductive maybe, but why not?
I.B. Singer might have said that for animals every day is Treblinka (or similar) but we don't need the film industry to act as jailors.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:29 am 

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Okay, so you know where and in what manner every last stitch of leather in your entire lifestyle is sourced. I'm genuinely impressed with you and Canada, but I'm afraid that although I try to do the best that I can, I'm not nearing that level of comfort. I'm not trying to be apathetic, just realistic. I appreciate you quoting Zedz, as at least it begins to approach some kind of actual intent as opposed to your otherwise condescension against those of us who are less civilized. Certainly I agree that unethical behaviour on film and it's reflection on the filmmaker is an interesting topic.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:42 am 
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Zot! wrote:
Okay, so you know where and in what manner every last stitch of leather in your entire lifestyle is sourced. I'm genuinely impressed with you and Canada, but I'm afraid that although I try to do the best that I can, I'm not nearing that level of comfort. I'm not trying to be apathetic, just realistic. I appreciate you quoting Zedz, as at least it begins to approach some kind of actual intent as opposed to your otherwise condescension against those of us who are less civilized. Certainly I agree that unethical behaviour on film and it's reflection on the filmmaker is an interesting topic.

It's not condescension you're hearing, it's my irritation at having to justify my eating habits several times over to those who think they need to find every little nit-picking reason to tell me I shouldn't say what I'm saying. Don't forget that you, not I, dragged eating habits into this. If it had been up to me, the question of who eats meat and from where would not have been touched. What business do you have to complain that I'm willing to defend myself from your attempts to criticise me for what you suppose are my eating habits?

I'm pretty convinced you didn't read a number of my posts, at least if you're seriously going to pretend nothing I said approaches either "intent" or the topic of how filmmaking ethics reflects on the film. Amidst having to make innumerable defenses of not just the stance that mistreating horses is unethical but even my ability to make this simple criticism, I said the following:

Mr Sausage wrote:
[The treatment of the horse is] completely at odds with what [Tarkovsky's] trying to create and it casts the ingenuousness and seriousness of his entire project in doubt. How can you cause suffering and then use it to explain how much suffering hurts you?

Mr Sausage wrote:
How can I take what [the movie] says seriously when it displays such insensitivity and such a lack of pity?

Mr Sausage wrote:
the movie is its own indictment. If the viewer becomes more sensitive to cruelty in the world by watching the movie, they also have to become more sensitive to the cruelty committed by the movie. And therein is the problem: the movie contributed to the thing it was bemoaning, which is disingenuous at the very least and calls its moral seriousness and its supposed moral authority into question.

Again, I fail to see what isn't clear about my position here. There is a huge problem in Rublev that ought to be dealt with seriously.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:11 pm 

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Understood. I don't think I raised eating habits or the general difficultly of maintaining personal ethics in modern life as a personal attack on you, it was more of a self reflection. It is hard for me (and seemingly others) to consider this particular scene as a sole offender in an otherwise fair world. Some of your other comments were more oblique and seemed very much laser-focused on the horse, and not the film, like it was the first time an animal had been mistreated, which is perhaps where my confusion came from. I do think that perhaps Tarkovsky is frustrated by people criticizing the scene for the same reason. He failed in his intent in this regard, and didn't understand the implications at the time.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:15 pm 

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Mr Sausage wrote:
As zedz said in a pm, this is a perfect test-case for filmmaker ethics and the effect of unethical behaviour on the film. It is sadly unsurprising that so many people are trying hard to find reasons not to deal with it.

I'm not seeing anyone in this thread who's failing to deal with this issue. I'm simply seeing people who happen to disagree with your position, however thoughtful and well-argued, and have concluded that Tarkovsky's treatment of the horse impacts their reaction to the film far less than it does yours or, as in my case, not at all.

I agree that your eating habits are not relevant and that you should not be called upon to document or defend them but I think you invite that kind of probing when you issue statements as strident and condescending as "[o]n both philosophic and practical grounds, you're wrong" and "[y]ou can believe these things if you like, but you are fooling yourself."


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Perkins Cobb wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
As zedz said in a pm, this is a perfect test-case for filmmaker ethics and the effect of unethical behaviour on the film. It is sadly unsurprising that so many people are trying hard to find reasons not to deal with it.

I'm not seeing anyone in this thread who's failing to deal with this issue. I'm simply seeing people who happen to disagree with your position, however thoughtful and well-argued, and have concluded that Tarkovsky's treatment of the horse impacts their reaction to the film far less than it does yours or, as in my case, not at all.

I agree that your eating habits are not relevant and that you should not be called upon to document or defend them but I think you invite that kind of probing when you issue statements as strident and condescending as "[o]n both philosophic and practical grounds, you're wrong" and "[y]ou can believe these things if you like, but you are fooling yourself."

Finding ways to play down or excuse or relativize the moment does indeed count as failing to deal with it. It also counts as making things easy on yourself.

My supposed strident and condescending sentences you cite came at the end of the discussion, after I had to account for my eating habits. So they could hardly have invited anything. Moreover, I earned the first one by demonstrating that merely killing and eating an animal is not ethically equivalent to tormenting it first, and then showing that I myself am not implicated in any animal torments. The whole point of an earlier post was that such claims are philosophically and practically wrong. I don't see the harm in reaffirming that.

As for the other one, that's what someone invites for implying that only naive people feel as I do. You are indeed fooling yourself if you believe so.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:44 pm 

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Fair enough; perhaps I took those quotes out of context. But....

Mr Sausage wrote:
Finding ways to play down or excuse or relativize the moment does indeed count as failing to deal with it. It also counts as making things easy on yourself.

No, Sausage, it does not. I have seen the film. I thought about it then and I have thought about it again since you brought it up. I have no ethical or aesthetic problem with the treatment of the horse in this scene. That does not excuse or relativize anything, or make things easy on myself. It simply means that I do not share your values on this particular topic. You're free to consider me a "moral cretin" if you choose, and you may well be right, but it's enormously insulting to suggest that I have somehow ducked the issue just because I didn't reach the same conclusion that you did. Come on.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:55 pm 

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Well, I still maintain you are leading a charmed life. I ask you to consider that for those of us who occasionally consume factory meat, or consider some of our taxdollars going toward sanctioned cruelty, might feel less secure in fully absolving ourselves and others from deviant behavior.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Zot! wrote:
Okay, so you know where and in what manner every last stitch of leather in your entire lifestyle is sourced.

So you're seriously denying Sausage the standing to make an argument because he might once, for all you know, have chosen his shoes from the piperlime.com wall thoughtlessly?

I dress in wicker and eat only berries. Am I allowed to have an opinion about a Tarkovsky film?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:08 pm 
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Perkins Cobb wrote:
Fair enough; perhaps I took those quotes out of context. But....

Mr Sausage wrote:
Finding ways to play down or excuse or relativize the moment does indeed count as failing to deal with it. It also counts as making things easy on yourself.

No, Sausage, it does not. I have seen the film. I thought about it then and I have thought about it again since you brought it up. I have no ethical or aesthetic problem with the treatment of the horse in this scene. That does not excuse or relativize anything, or make things easy on myself. It simply means that I do not share your values on this particular topic. You're free to consider me a "moral cretin" if you choose, and you may well be right, but it's enormously insulting to suggest that I have somehow ducked the issue just because I didn't reach the same conclusion that you did. Come on.

Not just that you reached a different conclusion, but that you did it in an easy way. You took a considerable problem and explained it away by claiming that, unlike any other circumstance apparently, committing acts of cruelty is alright in the name or art. Why? Because art is transcendent, whatever that means, and therefore justifies the unjustifiable. It's a cheat; it does not resolve or explain the problem, it dispenses with it. You can feel as you want, that is your right, but your arguments do not deal with the plain ethical problem here, they just insist there is no problem. You'll understand if I don't take someone seriously who insists that committing cruelties in order to criticize the idea if cruelty isn't gobsmackingly problematic in a way that's hard to square.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:46 pm 
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As I was discussing with Sausage, Rublyov is a great ethical test case because it's a great work of art. If it were a cheap exploitation film, it would very easy to dismiss the film on ethical grounds, because they'd probably just be serving as camouflage for an aesthetic dismissal. A great film that's unethical in its creation is a really strong challenge to the way we evaluate works of art, and it pushes our brains in interesting and troubling ways.

I expect that every film involves some kind of bad behaviour behind the scenes, whether it be inadequate catering, being snippy with assistants, bullying, overworking, short-paying, sexual harrassment, or animal cruelty (I know those things are not equivalent, but that's the point - we're talking about a continuum of bad behaviour). The thing is, in 99% of cases, we simply have no idea what went down on the set and have to assume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that nothing too atrocious took place. However, in the case of Rublyov, we do have evidence to the contrary, and the fascinating question is: what do we do with it? Rationalizing it away by saying that the film is so great that the happiness of one horse doesn't matter is one solution, but it's a pretty ramshackle one that doesn't really get to that core question of how does - or should - the knowledge of unethical behaviour impact on an aesthetic response?

As a thought experiment, imagine that research uncovers further, different abuses on the set of that film. You're okay with the death of the horse? Fine. Let's say that some of the extras got overenthusiastic during that same scene and one of the extras was raped for real. Is the film tarnished yet? Oh, and that blinding scene? Let's imagine that this too was unsimulated. Are we still looking at a masterpiece? Where do you place the tipping point? Is any atrocity justified if the finished film is great enough? Maybe Tarkovsky had the weird quirk of signalling 'cut' for every shot by decapitating an extra. I think this is a really serious question, and Rublyov (presuming you admire the film) is one of the best examples for considering it.

As for me, I think Tarkovsky's behaviour with the horse was deplorable, but the film will still rank in my top ten for the 60s list.

On the censorship front, though, I'm definitely in favour of leaving the scene intact, not particularly for the sake of 'art', but mainly because I don't want Tarkovsky to be let off the hook. This is what they did to that horse. Leaving the footage on the cutting room floor won't erase that fact and will make it much easier for people coming to the film to not hold Tarkovsky accountable for that ghastly action. His hypocrisy and arrogance is an intrinsic part of the film. Arguably, he could never have made the film if he weren't such a prick.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:19 pm 

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zedz wrote:
Zot! wrote:
Okay, so you know where and in what manner every last stitch of leather in your entire lifestyle is sourced.

So you're seriously denying Sausage the standing to make an argument because he might once, for all you know, have chosen his shoes from the piperlime.com wall thoughtlessly?

I dress in wicker and eat only berries. Am I allowed to have an opinion about a Tarkovsky film?

Sausage said he was completely and fully without any fault in that respect. He said it was an argument I could never win. I accepted this on good faith, and tried to explain that I was defending the possibility that not all of us have the good fortune or discipline to exact such control on our lives. This might also allow those less saintly amongst us to forgive Tarkovsky's transgressions more easily.

As for whether the knowledge of unethical behaviour impacts on an aesthetic response. I would say yes. And in exactly the way that Tarkovsky doesn't want. People get distracted from the film, and start thinking about the treatment of horses and not Russia. It was a bad creative decision. Just the same as if a really bad fake horse had been used. When I saw Daisies, I was frustrated by the food fight scene. It was unpleasant and wasteful. It took me out of the movie.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Zot! wrote:
Sausage said he was completely and fully without any fault in that respect. He said it was an argument I could never win. I accepted this on good faith, and tried to explain that I was defending the possibility that not all of us have the good fortune or discipline to exact such control on our lives. This might also allow those less saintly amongst us to forgive Tarkovsky's transgressions more easily.

As for whether the knowledge of unethical behaviour impacts on an aesthetic response. I would say yes. And in exactly the way that Tarkovsky doesn't want. People get distracted from the film, and start thinking about the treatment of horses and not Russia. It was a bad creative decision. Just the same as if a really bad fake horse had been used. When I saw Daisies, I was frustrated by the food fight scene. It was unpleasant and wasteful. It took me out of the movie.

You don't get to call me "saintly" in that sarcastic fashion just because I've resisted people's attempts to muddy me, especially when all I've offered up are a couple of bland truths like I buy meat from farms (who cares). I'm not better than anyone else on the grounds of food consumption, that's ridiculous; but at the same time, you were wrong to implicate me in what you assumed were unethical things and had no business being ad hominem for the purposes of discrediting my arguments. I'm getting real annoyed that not only do people get to accuse me of being unethical, but then get to jeer at me for defending myself. This is out of line.

That said, unlike some, I don't think eating meat (from wherever) disqualifies anyone from considering the treatment of that horse deplorable nor from the responsibility of evaluating the film in the light of its unethical creation. If being ethically perfect is the only criteria under which someone can have an ethical discussion, we'd never have invented the subject. And not being too picky about where your meat comes from is so far from directly ordering the cruel torment and death of a horse (in order to produce suffering onscreen) that I shouldn't have to point it out. It's all too easy to forgive Tarkovsky for that by forgiving yourself for something much smaller.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm
Well, I think it's a worthwhile and debatable question whether the harm or cruelty one is directly complicit in has greater moral weight than harm or cruelty that one's lifestyle tacitly demands- to me, that's one of the major ethical issues of being a citizen of the first world in general, as much of our lifestyle is built upon and subsidized by violence towards workers, animals, and the environment, even if one does one's best to buy free trade or ethically sourced goods or what have you.

Is Tarkovsky's action more problematic because it's direct and personal?


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