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Movie Question For The Ladies

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In terms of challenges faced by women in society? Honestly, I'd have to rewatch the first two (which I haven't seen in well over a decade) and think about it through that lens. As for Fury Road, it's not really a film I think of as commenting on challenges faced by women so much as film that does a really good job of creating a compelling action film where the most satisfying character arcs come from embracing things that would traditionally be considered more "feminine" values. I mean, the women in the film are literally used as breeding stock, but Max's body is also commodified as a glorified blood bag. It's a dehumanizing social situation for anyone who isn't at the very top.
I think Fury Road does comment on the challenges that women face, even in a post-apocalyptic society (the more things change, after all...), since Joe's "wives" are obviously a group of women being exploited specifically for their gender, after all. That is a good point about the "feminine" values of the movie, though, and one I was actually already thinking about for my Men & Women Of Action thread, as part of a larger trend within Action movies (such as in First Blood & Die Hard) to have their protagonists reject toxic/alpha male masculinity by being emotional, like the way that Max is
WARNING: spoilers below
a tramautized, animalistic, anti-social loner literally running from his emotions/past traumas at the beginning of the film, only for him to do something kind/altruistic towards the end, finally giving his name (and his blood) to Furiosa, and literally crying a bit in the process:



As for the other two movies I mentioned, I'd say that the social commentary on women in Silence Of The Lambs can be found in the way that...

WARNING: spoilers below
...Johnathan Demme had the characters looking directly into the camera so often, usually from Clarice's specific perspective. That way, he sort of turns the "male gaze" back on the men, so instead of having the camera adopting a male/heterosexual perspective in order to leer at the women in the film (and provide some eye candy to the men in the audience), he instead uses it to adopt the perspecive of the woman being leered AT, so that when the creepy cross-eyed bug expert at the Smithsonian stares at Clarice/the camera like this...



...he's also looking at us, making us empathize with Clarice's relatively low position in society as a woman, because we have no choice but to feel the same discomfort she does in this situation, even if we're male, which was an absolutely brilliant choice on Demme's part...


...while Batman Returns fits into this conversation with the way that Selina is shown...

WARNING: spoilers below
...as an insecure, underappreciated secretary who's dismissed due to her gender, and who eventually transforms herself into the far more empowered Catwoman, but who still shows the emotional scars of her past treatment when she saves a woman from being mugged, only for her to victim-blame the woman for being such easy prey, projecting her self-loathing at her own past helplessness, and showing a deep, contradictory depth that female characters aren't always afforded in movies:




Thatís very true. And yes, dear me, The VVitch is great, but the mother was something else. Iíll revisit Moonlight for that alone.

You do have a point. In a sense that makes me think that hysterical characters in general are incredibly hard to get right. Donít remember much about Girl, Interrupted, but I rewatched There Will Be Blood yesterday, and while Paul Danoís Eli isnít exactly hysterical, the religious ecstasy scenes made my spine tingle all over again.
I'd say that Lambert in Alien is a good example of an effectively hysterical character in a movie, considering how horrifying the situation she's stuck in is; I know Veronica Cartwright said that she disliked the character's "emotional weakness", but she accepted the role because the filmmakers convinced her that her character was meant to be a reflection of the fear that audiences would be feeling (which makes perfect sense), plus, it was also a reflection of how she reacted for real while filming the chestbuster scene, since she really did go into hysterics when a stream of fake blood splashed her unexpectedly (but who can blame her for that?). It's one of those things that would've been potentially problematic if she was the only woman in the movie, or if Ripley reacted in a similar way, but, since Ripley's actually the coolest-headed of the entire crew (possibly because of the fact that every character was written in a gender-neutral manner in the screenplay), and
WARNING: spoilers below
she's the one who survives as a result,
the movie ends up being balanced on that front.



I think Fury Road does comment on the challenges that women face, even in a post-apocalyptic society (the more things change, after all...), since Joe's "wives" are obviously a group of women being exploited specifically for their gender, after all.
But Max is also being exploited specifically for his blood type. Though I agree that exploiting the female body as essentially breeding stock is something that women face or have faced. More broadly, the way that a woman's control over her own body is legally regulated in many places can also be connected to the idea of these women being forced to bear children.

I'll keep your other points in mind when I revisit the other two films. I especially like the point about using Clarice's literal point of view. It's very much what I love about the film Lilya 4-Ever, in which a girl is repeatedly sexually assaulted as part of being sex trafficked, but the assaults are always shown from her point of view.



But Max is also being exploited specifically for his blood type. Though I agree that exploiting the female body as essentially breeding stock is something that women face or have faced. More broadly, the way that a woman's control over her own body is legally regulated in many places can also be connected to the idea of these women being forced to bear children.

I'll keep your other points in mind when I revisit the other two films. I especially like the point about using Clarice's literal point of view. It's very much what I love about the film Lilya 4-Ever, in which a girl is repeatedly sexually assaulted as part of being sex trafficked, but the assaults are always shown from her point of view.
Oh yeah; I mean, Demme used the "characters staring into the camera" device in some of his other movies, but never as effectively as in Lambs, where it's not just a striking aesthetic choice to make a general connection between the characters and the audience, but also a brilliant commentary on the treatment of women in society specifically, one that can't be avoided regardless of the gender of the person watching the film.



I am not a lady, but when I watched Patty Hearst last year, I found it really interesting in how it depicted the way sexual abuse can become normalized in certain contexts and how it's rationalized by both the abuser and the victim. (How good the movie is in this respect is all the more surprising given some of Paul Schrader's Facebook posts, haha.)



Oh, come on. Believe in yourself a little!
Fine, I will subject myself to this Pygmalion-esque makeover.


*raises pinky*



Fine, I will subject myself to this Pygmalion-esque makeover.


*raises pinky*
Great! Now fetch me my slippers!

In the name of making you independent, I will instead foster a very unhealthy co-dependency. Welcome to being a lady!



Victim of The Night
Let's not sell the film short on it's social commentary about how hard it is to be a woman.

Specifically how hard it is to be a woman when you're just trying to dance naked in a graveyard and secret government gas gets acid-rained down on your nude body and also somehow your vulva has disappeared.

I mean, talk about a problem facing women every single day in this country!
Heh.
You made me chuckle.



Better Living Through Movie Quotes
"I was watching a movie with this woman and . . ."

"Let me guess: she was dancing naked in a graveyard with a missing vulva and secret reanimating gas released from a nearby building acid-rained down on her? YAWN."
Special feature interviews of the discs of "Return of The Living Dead" has a great story about how Trash's (Linnea Quigley) missing vulva came to be.

Apparently they started filming that scene with Quigley in her natural bushy state. A producer who understood ratings standards walked on the set and started yelling that they couldn't show her bush and then left the set again.

So the crew, accepting that a bushy beav was a no-no, implemented creative problem solving skills and shaved Quigley. They started to shoot again when the same producer came on set again and started screaming, "Now you can see EVERYTHING!"

So they hid Quigley's junk and she danced as a Barbie. In the words of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, "So, I wore... this ridiculous thing... for you..."

Based on Quigley's interviews, she was not a shy girl. She wasn't shamed at all by filming the scene. "Somebody get a light over here, Trash is taking her clothes off again!"



Yeah, I'm very familiar with the story.

And what it says about the discomfort with the female body, even in the context of trying to cash in on the female body, is really something.



CringeFest's Avatar
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...while Batman Returns fits into this conversation with the way that Selina is shown...

WARNING: spoilers below
...as an insecure, underappreciated secretary who's dismissed due to her gender, and who eventually transforms herself into the far more empowered Catwoman, but who still shows the emotional scars of her past treatment when she saves a woman from being mugged, only for her to victim-blame the woman for being such easy prey, projecting her self-loathing at her own past helplessness, and showing a deep, contradictory depth that female characters aren't always afforded in movies:


that is sooo funny i wasn't even thinking about batman returns as feminist social commentary, i was watching the movie with my cat haha, but yeah cat woman is victim blaming in that scene and overrall that movie is the best batman movie i've seen so far...i guess cat woman is kinda like Valarie Solaris, l an extreme misandrist who can't bone batman because of it.



Better Living Through Movie Quotes
Yeah, I'm very familiar with the story.

And what it says about the discomfort with the female body, even in the context of trying to cash in on the female body, is really something.
Yup. It is pretty much split-personality-level insanity trying to balance lust, the universal appeal of the female form and Freudian hang-ups. Compare that to male nudity with practically no market whatsoever. Boy's junk in film is almost exclusively for porno, occasionally for giggles (The Dewey Cox Story), rarely to make us uncomfortable ("Eastern Promises") and very rarely as a symbol of male power ("Ganja & Hess" 1973). Pretty much no one wants to see it.



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
I've enjoyed reading all your responses!


If someone doesn't mind being personal, if you see a movie of a woman who reminds you of yourself, it would be interesting to know. Hell, I might just watch it to get to know you more, but I'm generally very curious about anything relating to the human condition.


The movie I thought of was "Rachel Rachel". She might not be the typical or average woman, but I think there's a good chunk like her, and it seemed kinda real, which is what was important. If you haven't seen it, Paul Newman directs Joanne Woodward who is great in this. The narration was great, and has one great opening scene (Joanne was touching her bush without the graphics) but it's very, very important, tasteful, and hints at a bigger problem. She's 35, single, virgin, attractive but maybe a bit shy, lives at home with her domineering mother, is a teacher, sees an old neighbor fella from high school. She falls for him, but the love is unrequited. As a man, I really "fell" for her. I don't ever see myself in a relationship, but I might have made an exception for her.



"Falling Down" is a good one for men, because it shows all the pressure it goes to be the provider, as if a man is nothing else. It's typical to hear or read women (regardless of how "woke") tear down a working-class man who is barely supporting himself and child support, and always using that criticism to make him less than human. However, I think society would ignore or laugh if a man asked a woman for financial help to take care of their child, but it would be cool to have a good movie about the 10% of men who get sole custody of the children.



I think men and women who are involved should help each other to understand. I took down over 200 of my videos, but there's a great episode from 1962 from "The Tonight Show" where each actress is asked what about women's issues, what they love about men, and what they can't stand about men. It's a great time capsule just to compare with today. It would be extra great if they did the same show today, asking the same questions, with the closest accurate actresses.


If you want it, I don't mind sending you an e-mail of a private link.



Better Living Through Movie Quotes
I stand corrected! Takoma's message to filmakers everywhere, "Free Willie!!!"



Since we're on the topic of Return of the Living Dead, check out what someone added to the trivia, and try not to laugh at how terrified this dude sounds of male nudity.

O'Bannon figured the film would appeal solely to guys and included Trash's nudity for that reason, but he was surprised to discover just as many female fans. "I'll never make that mistake again," he says, adding that going forward his nudity will be equal opportunity, even though guys statistically go to films to see nudity significantly more than women do. In fact, male nudity has been proven to keep guys from seeing films more than female nudity drives female viewers away.

It's been PROVEN, guys! PROVEN! Guys will want to see a movie until they find out there's a p-p-p-p-penis in it! LOL.


Anyway, I very much identify with Bathsheba in Far from the Madding Crowd (though if a hunky sheep farmer wanted to come and woo me I would not be opposed!), and with Molly Shannon's character in Year of the Dog (there but for the grace of God, etc, etc). Though with Shannon's character it's not about her gender so much as just her personality.



The trick is not minding
While weíre on the topic of exposed penises depicted in film, and as heterosexual male who has no issue with it, off the top of my head, I know Iíve seen the peen in The Man Who Fell to Earth (like, 3 different guys?), Wild Things (This girl I watched this with in college made me rewind it over and over as she kept exclaiming ďYessssss!Ē), Eastern Promises, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, The Crying GameÖ.Yeah, thatís all that comes to mind without thinking too hard (pardon the expression) on it.