The Elephant Experience
This chapter offers a reading of the film Elephant, questioning the nature of the trauma-image. It argues that Elephant is among the first type of films, those that do not ignore the mental component of the image but take it seriously into consideration. The reality and images in the Columbine High School shootings are discussed. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Columbine High School students, shot and killed 13 of their classmates and teachers, leaving another 23 wounded before killing themselves at the scene. When Eric is found being mocked at school, a classmate throwing cream on him, an explanation of social rejection might be suggested. Eric and Alex purchased rifles on the Internet, received within 24 hours, with no questions asked. The film Elephant reported the opportunity of reflecting on a tragic occurrence. It proposed a new kind of image, one that improves the concepts of the mental-image and time-image.
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