Physical & Sexual Abuse: Children in Films

 
9781480034440: Physical & Sexual Abuse: Children in Films

This is volume 8 in the series Children in Films.

These are distasteful themes for audiences to endure, and the movie industry has to steer a tactful course between being entertaining without being salacious, honest without being off-putting. Several directors have tried pushing at the boundaries of acceptability and censorship, resulting in the banning of some movies. Other films such as Tideland or The Woodsman are praised for their honesty yet denounced for their sensationalism. Fortunately abuse lies outside the experiences of the majority of children, yet we witness some commendable dramatics from child actors who have to project realism at the expense of being emotionally scarred by their own performance. In this volume we make reference to 140 films related to child abuse.

Under the title PHYSICAL ABUSE we consider the ignorant abusive do-gooders (as in Rabbit-Proof Fence, My Sister’s Keeper), the neglectful adult (A Day at the Beach, Alas de Mariposa), the brutally harsh parent (Bastard out of Carolina, Before Women had Wings), kidnap victims (Man on Fire, Along Came a Spider), the enslaved (Stolen, Memoirs of a Geisha), and the racially abused (A Time to Kill, Skin).

The ways in which BULLYING is expressed range from name-calling to physical fighting, and in Hoot we see bullying perpetuated by the bystander. Yet infuriatingly, the solutions offered in movies tend to resort to passive resistance (No More Baths, Jumanji), or magical solutions (Munchie, Let Me In). Only belatedly is the movie industry depicting bullying on the Internet (Cyberbully).

Films such as Lolita, Little Lips and Pretty Baby reveal the perversion of PAEDOPHILIA, while Lilya 4- ever, Taxi Driver and London to Brighton show the revulsion of CHILD PROSTITUTION. We consider how children are targeted as SEXUAL VICTIMS (Fallen Angel, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, The Rag Nymph); and the distressing ways in which the child confronts abuse, through court proceedings in Liar, Liar, and revengefully in Hard Candy.

Finally, while the movie industry is happy to depict the salacious and violent acts of child abuse, rarely do they depict the REHABILITATION and THERAPY that abused victims require. We argue that despite being chaperoned, the child actor is often placed in a position of potential abuse, more so than his/her non-acting peers.

The full range of titles in this series, Children in Films, are: 1 Gender Roles and Themes; 2 Families Step-kids & Orphans; 3 Tomboys Adventurers & Talented Kids; 4 Childhood Friendships: Peers, Pets & Grown-ups; 5 Make Believe Horror & the Supernatural; 6 Puberty & First Love; 7 Childhood Trauma: Illness, Death, Divorce & War; 8 Physical & Sexual Abuse.

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