Created By: Waterlily on October 25, 2011 Last Edited By: Waterlily on November 18, 2012

Violence vs. Non Violence Montage

A scene of a violent act is intercut with scenes of a non violent act

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Trope
Needs a Better Description, Needs a Better Title,

Sometimes, in order for a violent scene to look even more devastating, a filmmaker will choose to contrast it with a happy, peaceful and otherwise non violent scene in the form of a montage. These are scenes that typically celebrate life and can be a birth, a wedding or somebody singing among other things.

Compare Birth/Death Juxtaposition

Examples

Anime

  • One episode of Death Note has Misa singing a hymn intercut with montages of the people she's killing off as the second Kira to deflect suspicion from Light.

Film

  • The end of The Godfather has one of the most famous examples as scenes of Michael's enemies being killed is intercut with his nephew's baptism.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the title character goes on a rampage across London while his true love Mina gets married.
  • In The Lord of the Rings film, a battle between Orcs and the armies of Gondor is intercut with a scene of Denethor eating while Pippin sings him a song. Also involves Soundtrack Dissonance.
  • The sequel to The Blair Witch Project opens with scenes of the main characters setting out into the woods intercut with scenes of people being ritualistically murdered.
  • Elizabeth has a scene toward the end where as Elizabeth is becoming secure as Queen, looking elegant, etc, her Spymaster Walshingham and his men are killing her enemies one by one.
  • In The Fifth Element, the opera scene is intercut with Leeloo's fight.
  • In Quantum of Solace, Bond's fight scenes against the Quantum mooks are juxtaposed against a performance of Tosca.
  • There's one part in Schindler's List where Amon Goeth's violent beating of Helen Hirsch is interspersed with scenes from a party that Oskar Schindler is attending as well as a makeshift wedding in a concentration camp between two prisoners.
  • In Clear And Present Danger, Greer's military - style funeral is occuring at the same time that the operatives in Columbia are being ambushed and gunned down, and the film cuts back and forth between the scenes.
  • Played with in Deep Impact Both scenes are gentle, but one is Leo's wedding; the other is Jenny's Mother dolling herself up so she leaves a pretty corpse when she commits suicide.

Live Action TV

  • The soap opera General Hospital has done a few of these:
    • A mother sings a lullaby to her baby daughter while mobsters go after various major characters.
    • A mob boss's pregnant wife is killed by a car bomb while the woman he truly loves marries another man.
  • In the Firefly episode "Safe", a shootout during a deal gone south is played alongside River dancing.
  • There's been a couple of instances in Boardwalk Empire where Nucky gives a nice speech that's intercut with scenes of his dirty work being carried out.
  • There's also a famous example in Babylon 5 that cuts between a multi-faith congregation singing a gospel song and dozens of Narns beating the life out of Lord Refa as the music continues in the background.

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • October 25, 2011
    Ninjat126
  • October 25, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • In the Firefly episode "Safe", a shootout during a deal gone south is played alongside River dancing.
  • October 25, 2011
    Bisected8
    • One episode of Death Note has Misa singing a hymn intercut with montages of the people she's killing off as the second Kira to deflect suspicion from Light.
    • The sequel to The Blair Witch Project opens with scenes of the main characters setting out into the woods intercut with scenes of people being ritualistically murdered.
  • October 25, 2011
    Waterlily
    This is disappointingly averted in Godfather Part III. As soon as Michael's son announced that he would be performing in an opera, I eagerly awaited a climax where the opera would be intercut with scenes of mob violence. Instead, the violent climax happened afterwards (I think, it wasn't very memorable).
  • October 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    re the Good Cop Bad Cop example: is the partner having sex with the policeman's sister or his own?
  • October 25, 2011
    Waterlily
    He's having sex with his partner's sister. I thought it would seem too wordy and unnecessary. I guess not. I'll change it.
  • October 25, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Death Note is not live action. It's anime. Also, you forgot the link for Firefly.
  • October 25, 2011
    Jordan
    Elizabeth has a scene toward the end where as Elizabeth is becoming secure as Queen, looking elegant, etc, her Spymaster Walshingham and his men are killing her enemies one by one.

    There's been a couple of instances in Boardwalk Empire where Nucky gives a nice speech that's intercut with scenes of his dirty work being carried out.
  • October 26, 2011
    fulltimeD
    In "Kobol's Last Gleaming," the Season One finale of Battlestar Galactica, the show opens with a mostly wordless montage of various characters, prominently including Starbuck and Baltar having sex, intercut with Bill and Lee Adama sparring.

    There's also a famous example in Babylon Five that cuts between a multi-faith congregation singing a gospel song and dozens of Narns beating the life out of Lord Refa as the music continues in the background.
  • October 26, 2011
    Waterlily
    I've seen this referred to as a Godfather Montage and I was originally going to give it that name but then I saw that we aren't supposed to name tropes after examples. Does anybody have any ideas for a better title?
  • October 27, 2011
    peccantis
    ^^^^ there is a Live Action film of Death Note.
  • October 27, 2011
    Falco
    Film, two At The Opera Tonight examples:
  • October 27, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    ^^ A) It was listed under Live Action TV. B) I think everyone can agree that Death Note is, at its core, a manga. Regardless of adaptions.
  • October 28, 2011
    Fanra
    These are scenes that typically celebrate life and can be a birth, a wedding or a sexual act among other things.

    Seen It A Million Times with the sexual act. Frankly, I've wondered what kind of strange sexual problems so many directors/writers/people have that they have to so often inter-cut sex with violence.

    I think that deserves its own trope, it's so common.
  • October 28, 2011
    Waterlily
    I was thinking that too. Maybe it should be two seperate tropes: one for sexual acts and the other for everything else.
  • October 29, 2011
    fulltimeD
    If that becomes its own trope it needs to be called Sex And Violence.
  • October 29, 2011
    yrrw
    Could this be called 'To flee or not to flee?'
  • October 29, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Played with in Deep Impact Both scenes are gentle, but one is Leo's wedding; the other is Jenny's Mother dolling herself up so she leaves a pretty corpse when she commits suicide.
  • October 29, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    film:
    • In Clear And Present Danger, Greer's military - style funeral is occuring at the same time that the operatives in Columbia are being ambushed and gunned down, and the film cuts back and forth between the scenes.
  • October 29, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    There's one part in Schindlers List where Amon Goeth's violent beating of Helen Hirsch is interspersed with scenes from a party that Oskar Schindler is attending as well as a makeshift wedding in a concentration camp between two prisoners.
  • November 18, 2012
    Waterlily
    I finally updated it like I planned. I also split the sex and violence montage into its own trope because I realized that they really do give different emotional reactions. However, it turned out that it has already been done.
  • November 18, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^ Actually it hasn't--Interplay Of Sex And Violence seems to give a lot of examples involving one scene where characters alternate between lovemaking and violence as part of the same act (or acts of violent lovemaking)--not a montage of separate scenes.

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