The Set-Up is Kathryn Bigelow's student film at Columbia about the exploration of 'why violence in cinematic form is so seductive'. It featured two men beating each other to a pulp in a ... See full summary »

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The Set-Up is Kathryn Bigelow's student film at Columbia about the exploration of 'why violence in cinematic form is so seductive'. It featured two men beating each other to a pulp in a dark alley, while two professors analyzed the philosophy of it all on the soundtrack. Written by Anonymous

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October 1978 (West Germany)  »

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Pretentious
1 June 2011 | by (New York City, USA) – See all my reviews

WARNING! This review discloses virtually all content of the film, including the ending! Read further at your own risk! It's night. A car parks in an alley. A man steps out and waits a few seconds. A second man appears. Both men begin arguing and cursing. The first man beats the second man to a pulp, cursing and berating him all the while. Finally the first man knocks the second to the ground, bends over him, kisses him firmly on the other's bloody mouth, then spits in his face and walks away.

At this point, the action is replayed in split screen, with sound and sometimes in slow motion, while two professors discuss in voice-over why they find the violence attractive. (The professors are two of director Kathryn Bigelow's philosophy instructors at Columbia University. One of them is named Martin Blonsky, I believe.) This viewer found the violence repulsive, the professors' commentary mildly amusing, and the exercise as a whole pretentious.

Bigelow has claimed this film (and her subsequent feature debut "The Loveless") were inspired by Kenneth Anger's "Scorpio Rising." It seems a curious choice for a student film. The direction and editing were competent, however.


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