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Hounddog: Dakota Fanning’s rape scene
Was the young actress' controversial scene exploitive, or artful?
 

Ever since Hounddog debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year, said Meghan Keane in the New York Sun, it’s had a “handicap that it just can't shake.” But the fact that Dakota Fanning—who was 12 when the movie was filmed—is raped onscreen and prances around” in “threadbare,” often soaking wet clothing that always seems to “accentuate her tiny, preadolescent form” justify the “protests and charges of child pornography.”

Hounddog never even “comes close to being salacious,” said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. In fact, the “much-maligned deflowering” is “probably the film’s most accomplished scene, composed of thoughtful cutaways and relying for resonance on a single, lingering shot of the girl’s traumatized expression.”

It’s true that all the fuss over the Dakota Fanning rape scene was “unfairly earned,” said Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times. But the movie is offensive for other reasons: Hounddog paints an “awkward, minstrel-esque vision of Southern music and race,” and director Deborah Kampmeier treats that culture as “simplistic and trite.”

 

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