In one of the first scenes of Netflixes film Polar the protagonist shoots his little dog. We never see the dogs dead body and his killer buries him in his backyard in the next scene.
This is strikingly different from how other murders in the movie are portrayed. People are shot and tortured through most of the film and most of that action is shown as explicitly as possible. There are, in fact, few scenes where nobody dies. Yet we never see these people being buried. After their often horrible deaths they just vanish from the plot.
Apparently, seeing a dead dog is just too much for an audience watching a violent 18+ movie. They even have to get some solace by seeing the protagonist didn’t really want to kill him and cares so much he buries him.
In many other polular movies as well, animals are rarely killed on screen. Sometimes horses are being cut down in battle scenes. Apart from that animal suffering is kept to a minimum.
Why is it so hard for audienes to see animals die and suffer?
A possible explanation is that human death and torture is actually a very distant reality for most people living in developed countries. Many of us never see anybody being killed or tortured in real life. These acts can safely be shown as fantasay because for most members of the audience they are exactly that: fantasy.
Animal suffering is a different story. Millions of animals are butchered horribly every day so people can have their hamburgers and their chicken wings.
The way farm animals are treated would be considered gruesome torture if the same was done to humans: Seperating mothers from their young (milk cows). Abusing females as breeding machines (pigs). Forcefeeding individuals imprisoned under unnatural circumstances for their entire short lives (chickens and other fowl). These are just some examples.
Perhaps seeing an animal suffer and die on screen overly reminds audiences of where their dinner came from and under what circumstances that dinner lived.
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