There Are No Words For What's Happening With Kim Novak
Back in January, actress Kim Novak issued a statement decrying the use of Bernard Hermann's theme from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo in eventual Oscar-winner The Artist, igniting a flurry of debate by calling it an act of rape. (“I want to report a rape," she declared. “My body of work has been violated by The Artist.") And whether or not you agreed then that it was an appropriate way to describe an act of artistic citation -- the Academy Award-winning team behind The Artist would call it homage -- Novak is back with another stunner that may reignite the conversation. "I didn't use that word lightly," she said in a report by The AP's Derrik J. Lang today. "I had been raped as a child."
Speaking about her upcoming honors at the TCM Classic Film Festival, the Artist controversy came up and Novak explained that she felt similarly when she learned of the film's use of the Vertigo theme as she did when she was the victim of actual rape years ago.
"It was very painful," said Novak. "When I said it was like a rape, that was how it felt to me. I had experienced in my youth being raped, and so I identified with a real act that had been done to me. I didn't use that word lightly. I had been raped as a child. It was a rape I never told about, so when I experienced this one, I felt the need to express it."
"I never reported my real rape, so I felt the need to report this one," said Novak, who left Hollywood in the 1970s for Big Sur, an isolated section of California coastline, before eventually relocating to Oregon. "I felt that someone needed to speak up because the music has been taken advantage of too much. I hope that in the future, maybe somehow it will do some good."
Pretty awful, and kudos to Novak for speaking out, but where do we even go from here? You can't discount Novak's personal experience or how she felt about The Artist's musical choices except to say that the one act isn't really quite like the other. Clearly she knows the implications of using the word "rape" and did not use it offhandedly or without thought. But does this revelation shake up the argument that "rape" is at least a bit harsh a term for one film borrowing from another? Read more from Novak here and chew on this for a bit, Movieliners.