The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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The scary truth about kids with guns

It’s interesting that one of the most widespread genres in the world of cinema is also one of the least well known. I am speaking, of course, about the classic genre “Kids With Guns.”

The term as a whole refers specifically to student films, and in fact is a term of condescension and overall negative connotation most frequently used by film professors in describing a majority of the body of work created by student filmmakers. It’s rather simple, really: It cannot have escaped anyone’s attention that most student films feature gangsters, soldiers, spies, hit-men, and practitioners of numerous other professions that involve regularly killing other people.

Unfortunately, in the confines of a college campus, the prodigal student filmmaker will inevitably get fellow students to act in these roles. At best, student filmmakers will recruit from the local theater program or some other form of acting program; at worst, they will ask their friends with no acting experience whatsoever.

No matter how great their skills as actors are, these people are still young, in most cases between the ages of 18 and 22. And no matter how old the stars of your favorite high school soap opera claim they are, they’re all in their late twenties to early thirties; none of them are even 18, much less something below that. Contrast that with the actual 18 year olds-or even the 20 year olds-acting in student films, and they really do look like kids. Kids With Guns, see?

I believe it’s mostly a problem with our overall lack of creativity as filmmakers. We have a number of options available to us–going out and finding older actors, or perhaps using scripts that actually call for people of a college age–but instead we go for the CIA operative who looks like he just graduated from high school. It’s something we all do; heck, even I’m guilty of it, though I’m trying to improve.

Kids With Guns popped into my head when I watched Amnesty International’s screening of “Blood Diamond” on Tuesday night. It’s been three years since this film came out, and I still hadn’t seen it. It’s a film about how some countries use their rich diamond repositories to fund war efforts, but more importantly, they also had kids with guns. And when I say kids, I mean children, no more than ten years old. The film depicts how these kids are taken from their families and put through a grueling session of brainwashing. Then an automatic rifle is placed in their hands and they are told to kill anyone who is not one of them.

The most chilling depiction of this was when these kids were lined up in a neat little row and then sent forward into a village, shooting anything that moves, all while some rap song played in the background. It was a truly horrifying sight, made even more horrifying when Djimon Hounsou’s character encountered his young son, who had been conscripted into military service not long before, and the son no longer recognized his own father.

It’s terrible, and the worst part is that even though it’s just a movie, I know that the story is all too real. Things like this happen every day, and we don’t do a thing to stop them. No wonder Leonardo DiCaprio’s character doubts that humanity is essentially good. If I had grown up in a place like that, I would too.

The only thing I can do is attempt to rationalize it in some way, like these people don’t know any better because they’ve grown up with it all their lives. If that’s the case, then somehow, someone has to find a way to break the cycle.

Trey Treviño is a sophomore CTV major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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