Saturday, January 20, 2007

"She's growing up. Get used to it." (NYT)

And what better way to demonstrate your maturity than playing a rape victim in a movie?

Twelve-year old Dakota Fanning plays a young rape victim in the independent film "Hounddog," which premieres at Sundance Film Festival this week. The problem is that the film most likely violates child pornography laws. Even though Fanning herself has been publicly justifying her (her agent's? her parents'?) decision to film the rape scene, the controversy is unending. The movie was filmed near Wilmington, NC, and there's a petition asking the district attorney to prosecute the people involved for participating in producing child pornography.

The NY Times article is quite kind towards the filmmakers, and I was almost convinced by the time I finished reading. However, laws protecting minors don't take effect only when the minor invokes them. The laws exist to protect minors, who are assumed to not be mature enough to give consent (for example, to sleep with an adult or to film a rape scene in a movie). The law makes those activities illegal regardless of the minor's consent.

This could be a precedent for a lot of other films and art, and I hope the issue is given proper consideration.

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