" In A Dark Place" ~ Sincerity
This past February brought to light for many a disturbing development in entertainment. Child actress Dakota Fanning has had an amazing career. But last month news leaked out that this young actress, not even 13, had acted as a young girl who gets raped in a new movie entitled, " Hounddog."
The scene is meant to be realistic and has already received the excuse that its okay to have such scenes in movies because its artistic expression. The producer, Deborah Kempmeier, justifies the scene by saying that it doesn't actually show Dakota's naked body, just her face. In her eyes, she thought that Dakota's performance was worthy of an Oscar.
Even before the movie was filmed several investors had pulled their funding because of the content, which had been kept from their knowledge until only weeks before filming began. Kempmeire searched for new investors to have the movie ready to show for the Sundance Film Festival. The movie was so disturbing to viewers at the festival that most walked out before it finished.
There has been an outcry across the nation for a formal investigation of the movie and whether-or-not child exploitation had been committed. Many were insisting that this movie had pushed entertainment in the wrong direction. But trying to push any legal action against the movie proved difficult becaouse it was filmed in North Carolina.
Accordimg to the assistant DA in Wilmington, Connie Jordan, the movie did not meet criteria for North Carolina's statutary rape laws in the third or second degrees. In fact, if there were any prosecution on the film at all it would be first-degree sexual exploitation of a child. That would be on the same level as armed robbery. This has led many in NC and around the nation to question current rape laws to see if it might be necessary to " tweak" them.
Dakota Fanning was interviewed and asked how she felt about everything being said about her movie. She was angry at people for thinking anything negative about her parents. Dakota's agent, Joy Pervis, praised the young actress, saying that what she did was, " helping rape victims everywhere." Pervis called the Fanning's a " good christian family."
But Christianity and exploitation of children do not mix. Dakota Fanning is a child. She cannot know what's best for her... that's why kids have parents. What she was required to do will have ramifications in her future. Carla Roberts, a counselor for abused and neglected children in Wilmington stated that she questions the logic of the adults who put Dakota in such a situation. She too is concerned about the consequences the young star or any child will face in their future over such acts.
With all the bad reviews, disgust from the general public, and shock from devoted Dakoata fans, Hounddog is banned from all theatres within the US. And its highly unlikely that any company will desire to risk putting out DVDs any time soon.
I know there have been other films made in the past of a similar nature with child actors. The issue I want to raise is that Hounddog may be a film of make-believe but its made to look and sound real. Some have excused the scene because its not even a minute long. That's not the point! The act of rape, pretend or accomplished, is terrible.
Rape of any kind is NOT entertainment and it is definitely NOT art... its creepy! I find it insulting that people would think art is an avenue for lewd and perverted acts. The producers of this film, Dakota's agent, and her parents should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging this young actress to agree to such disgusting and decidedly inapropriate behavior. And I am not the only one to think so.
March 22, 2007
Impressions Of Abuse
" In A Dark Place" ~ Sincerity