There’s various films making their debut at the Sundance Film Festival kicking off later this week, but right now all the talk is about one movie in particular – “Hounddog”.
The film tells the story of a 12-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) growing up in 1950’s Alabama whose love for all things Elvis help her through adverse times. Robin Wright Penn, David Morse and Afemo Omilami also star.
As its an independent and no-holds barred drama, there’s a lot of scenes drawing raised eyebrows. One scene has her sleeping naked beside her mentally challenged father, in another she apparently forces two other children to strip at gunpoint and embrace as she wraps a snake around them.
However the film’s most controversial scene is said to show Fanning suffering a devastating rape at the hands of an older boy who tempts her with Elvis tickets.
As it hasn’t been widely screened yet some imaginations have gone wild and several columnists are already wildly condeming the scene and claiming Fanning goes nude in it. Speaking with Army Archerd though, Fanning’s mother Joy and her agent Cindy Osbring have effectively neutralised the spin before it gets out of control.
“This is not an exploitive movie. It is real life and unfortunately this is what happens in real life. Dakota is very proud of it. And she is not shown nude” said Joy Fanning.
As for the reported description of a graphical rape scene, Osbring answered, “Do they think we have rocks in our head? You do see her face — a lightning shot — maybe 15 seconds”.
Lynn Parrish, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, has seen the film and given it her endorsement – “RAINN applauds the makers of ‘Hounddog’ for shedding light on the issue of sexual assault against our nation’s children, a problem we see every day. It is our hope that the national discussion created by the film will give a voice to young survivors everywhere”.
The film screens at Sundance this January 22nd and Dakota’s little sister Elle will be there as well for her own film, the highly talked about Ryan Reynolds drama “The Nines” in which she plays a deaf-mute.