The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Fighting With Laughter Rather Than With Guns

with 2 comments

“The laughter died in my throat”, wrote one of the major newspapers and gave Four Lions a pretty bad review in the beginning of this year. It came up in the cinemas quite shortly after the first and hopefully only suicide bomber attack in Sweden.  I guess it was a bit of bad timing, not the least since the Swedish bomber seemed to be at about the same skill level as the jihad terrorists in the movie, not managing to blow up anything but himself.

It’s arguably a serious topic, but Morris manages to pull it off. He doesn’t just offer slapstick humor and absurdities in the Monty Python tradition that make at least me laugh; he also puts some serious questions about the nature of extreme Islamic groups and how society deals with those.

The best humor often borders to tragedy, and this is a perfect example of this. As opposed to my countryman I didn’t stop laughing. It was actually one of the funnier movies I’ve seen in quite a while and it was somehow relieving to mock and giggle at the terrorists instead of just fearing them. It’s just a different way of fighting them, with laughter instead of with guns.

Four Lions (Morris,UK, 2010) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

July 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

Posted in Four Lions

2 Responses

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  1. Years ago I was watching “60 Minutes” (a news magazine show here in the States) when they were doing an interview with Mel Brooks. The interviewer asked Mr. Brooks why, as both a Jew and a WW2 veteran, he kept having making light of Hitler and Nazis in so many of his movies? I can’t remember Brooks answer word for word, but it was something like this…

    How can you punish them? Hitler killed millions of people. There simply wouldn’t have been a way to get revenge for that much horror. You can never hurt somebody or take enough from them to ever make any part of what they did even. The only way I can think of to hurt Hitler, to hurt the Nazis, is take away their dignity. To show them as buffoons.

    I think back on that sentiment from time to time when the subject matter of portraying terrorists comes up in the media. The best way to really hurt a bunch of people that want to see themselves as heroes of a jihad is probably not to make them look as vicious or awful as possible, but to make them look foolish.


    July 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    • Oh, I know about 60 minutes and I’ve followed it from time to time. It’s a high quality show if you ask me. And yes, I think Mel Brooks was spot on. This has been showed over and over again in movie history. Humor is often a good way to approach the very darkest of topics. I come to think of the wonderful movie LIfe is beautiful from 1997, one of the best ways to describe the Holocost I’ve ever seen. It’s hujmorous but yet so sad.


      July 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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