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Film: Elephant

Elephant is a Gus Van Sant film made in 2003 which tells the story of a high school shooting similar to the Columbine High School massacre. It constructs the story of a single day from the viewpoint of different high school students, including the two shooters themselves. While many possible explanations are offered for the actions of the shooters (violent video games, neo-Nazism, bullying etc.) the film deliberately does not make their motives clear.

Gus Van Sant based Elephant on a short film made by Alan Clarke of the same name that was broadcast on the BBC in 1989. Clarke's film dealt with The Troubles in Northern Ireland and was largely composed of tracking shots following gunmen as they assassinate targets. The title refers both to the old Jain parable of a group of blind men who each touch a different part of an elephant and then disagree on what they are feeling, and the idea of the Elephant in the Living Room (in this case the elephant being Columbine and the true reasons for it).

The film is noted for use of long tracking shots, and extended sequences with little or no dialogue, giving it a disconnected and ethereal quality.

This is the second film in Van Sant's ''Death Trilogy''. The first was Gerry.

This film provides examples of:


Edge Of AmericaFilms of 2000 - 2004 Elf

alternative title(s): Elephant
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