Ideology as Boundary Condition in Filmic Art

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Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Eh, critics I listen to/follow on podcasts. Something I heard pop up a couple of times in the past year or so in either lead-ups to The Power of the Dog or revisits of The Piano. Things start to blur together in my memory.
Oh okay I looked up In The Cut and got mixed opinions. Is it because people do not politically like the idea of a female character falling for a 'bad boy', is that it?



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Not if they're cutting edge in a truly progressive way, instead of being "cutting" by just being offensive, like the gender dynamics I've talked about in Die Hard, which still hold up very well, even over thirty years later, as opposed to the portrayal of the same thing in a lot of Bond movies (hey, they were just as sexist in the 60's as they are now; it just took a while for more of society to realize it).
I really do not agree that Bond movies are just as sexist as they were in the 60s and I feel this really goes on a case by case basis as to which movie, rather than generalizing them all in one clump of the same tone.



I really do not agree that Bond movies are just as sexist as they were in the 60s and I feel this really goes on a case by case basis as to which movie, rather than generalizing them all in one clump of the same tone.
So what about this scene was "less sexist" in 1964, then?:




Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
What I want Bond movies are not as sexist today as they were back then. Sorry if I was confusing. However, I also feel that this scene is taken out of context by people perhaps.

I have no idea what Bond's relationship is with this woman, but by the way he was flirting and she was smiling, it seems they have most likely already slept together, and I have spanked women I have slept with and I was never called a sexist by them, and they slept with me again, even though I spanked them. Women have also spanked me after sleeping with them as well. It seems that if you are sleeping with someone, spanking is probably okay, if you each side is already okay with having sex with one another, etc.

Now, it's also possible these two never slept together, in which case a spank would be more intrusive then, but we are never told if they have or not, so I cannot assume they haven't slept together only. Since it's Bond, I have to assume they did sleep together most likely and consider that possibility of a spank being more welcomed by her then.



Not if they're cutting edge in a truly progressive way, instead of being "cutting" by just being offensive

You say this as if our definitions of what is truly progressive, or what is unquestionably offensive have suddenly now settled into permanence. Terms like progressive and offensive are always in flux.



Even if we agree on very specific ideas of what progressive values are (let's say, in this instance, it is simply equal rights and equal representation of every race, gender and socio-economic status), the way society is going to aim itself towards these goals is going to change from generation to generation. Sometimes differ even within the same generation.


In the case of stand up comedy, there was a period where the performer ironically adopting racist attitudes, in order to heighten the absurdity and cruelty and the sheer embarrassment of such thinking, was considered the progressive thing to do. Now, it has been decided that to even to talk about these ideas with the buffer of irony applied, is to still perpetuate those ideas, regardless of intent. And who is to say the pendulum doesn't swing back in another ten years.



We are always kidding ourselves if we think we have a complete handle on how these sensitive topics in our culture should be appropriately handled. Or talked about. Or attacked. I personally think both sides have valuable points to make in the discussion. But I can also understand those who lean hard in one direction over another. I think there are a myriad of ways we go about thinking about how we move towards this progress you talk about.



Just like in the civil rights struggle of the 60's, there is room for the opposing philosophies of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. To act as if there is only one true way (and worst of all, to actively try and tamp down on those who have a different philosophy as to how to achieve the same goals that you are working towards) is to limit the number of roads we can take to get there. I don't see why these opposing philosophies have to cancel each other out. They can compliment each other.



Registered User
The most 2022 line I've seen in 2022. I offer Episode 3 of Disney/Marvel's "Moon Knight" which brings us,

"This is a safe space for you to tell us if you feel exploited by Khonshu"
uttered during a scene where Egyptian gods are having a sort of board meeting inside the Great Pyramid of Giza (which is surprisingly hollow and only lacks Brendan Frasier). The Gods announcing to a human that he is in a "safe space" connects ancient mythology to our new cultural sensibilities. The Egyptian gods are strikingly orthodox and transformed (e.g., the Egyptian Gods, or so we learn in this scene, abhor violence and don't meddle in human affairs which would be surprise to Set, Apophis, Ammut, and Sekhmet), but this is NOT unlike how we meet Beowulf as half-Christian and half-Pagan (transformed by his Christian transcribers). The original tellers of Beowulf (the ones who told the tale without surviving manuscripts) would be jarred by Beowulf's Christian pieties.

Depicted Below: Konshu the Exploitative


Our very specific language here offers the audience a model to follow. This is how to do it right. The background has slipped into the foreground, but only for a moment. The boundary condition is momentarily in the center. It seizes a teachable moment and shows us how to speak. First, inaugurate/consecrate/reveal a sacred area and assure those assembled that they may speak. Second, establish that there is no burden of proof. You cannot be wrong about whether you feel exploited. Finally, the word "exploited" offers up one of many heresies (a sin of oppression). The message is, "You are safe to tell us if you sense heresy." Wellness and therapy mixed with intervention.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Well I think one of the reasons why maybe trying to put today's politics in movies does not work as well compared to before, because the politics in the US today, are more petty and first world problems, which is not bad in real life necessarily, it's just for big story drama, it doesn't really translate well?

For example when it comes to 'girl power' movies such as Birds of Prey and Charlie's Angles, the writing feels like it was written to apease a female audience who are just mad boyfriends, have had bad break ups, men suck, I hate dating men, etc. Where as that kind of feels like a first world dating problem, and not dramatic enough for story, if that makes sense?



Oh okay I looked up In The Cut and got mixed opinions. Is it because people do not politically like the idea of a female character falling for a 'bad boy', is that it?
I will say it is on me for making two posts and not being very expository in either.

Based on my recollection of off-handed comments by critics in podcasts I listen, I feel like I remember more why it seems better now than why it did poorly back then, but here's my attempt to recall:

It's basically a gender-flipped psycho-sexual thriller, that were all the rage back then. I think the problem it ran into was, it meant the female lead was still falling for (or being attracted to) a mysterious, attractive man, who was clearly a possible threat to her. Which, when flip the genders, that seems like that was par for the course for men to be attracted to such women in normal 90's psycho-sexual thrillers (I was a bit young for them at the time and thus actually don't have firsthand knowledge, and outside of Crash, never went back and revisited any.) I believe the criticisms were summarized and varied from, "this is such stupid writing. The lead character is being an idiot," to possibly feminist backlashes that kind of come from the corner that didn't want any negative representations of women on film (this latter criticism has serious problems of its own IMO, but that's outside at least the immediate scope of this post).

Now, there's a lot of reasons why a movie isn't received at the time the way it's intended (or the intention seems more valid later), such as all the other psychosexual thrillers out there (presumably people might get sick of a trend if they notice the protagonists keep acting like idiots). But the current political climate (and honestly, there seemed to be an uptick in interest in revisiting Jane Campion films when Portrait of a Lady on Fire came out, because The Piano was such a clear influence), that made people more receptive to what it was doing. But I mentioned it because there was talk of gender flipped genre movies where the woman acted like a man, such as a James Bond.

I guess one other thing I'll add to Campion is that her work is known for exploring the messy emotions of attraction that women have towards men. And also male full frontal nudity. I've only seen The Piano and it didn't click with me. It probably deserves another go from me, though I'm more curious in seeing how her take on genre films play for me more, since I can be very hit or miss on how I feel about costume, period pieces.



Well I think one of the reasons why maybe trying to put today's politics in movies does not work as well compared to before, because the politics in the US today, are more petty and first world problems, which is not bad in real life necessarily, it's just for big story drama, it doesn't really translate well?

For example when it comes to 'girl power' movies such as Birds of Prey and Charlie's Angles, the writing feels like it was written to apease a female audience who are just mad boyfriends, have had bad break ups, men suck, I hate dating men, etc. Where as that kind of feels like a first world dating problem, and not dramatic enough for story, if that makes sense?
Life in the US hasn't felt great for a little while...
Unfortunately, since I haven't seen any of the Charlie's Angels movies either (when you say currently, are you going back to the 90s).
Since Silence of the Lambs was brought up, how do you feel about the parts where they were explicitly addressing feminist issues:
Now, with the talk of The Silence of the Lambs, how do you feel about it being explicit about the few scenes where they were explicitly feminist politics:


Keep in mind, Silence of the Lambs, a movie that angered the LGBTQ+ community, so Jonathan Demme, for his next film major film, made Philadelphia. A movie (and this might be something I've only heard and either misremember or was just incorrect) that the LGBTQ+ community didn't necessarily love, but Demme said he made it targeting middle America, not the LGBTQ+ community, because that's whom he needed to undo the damage of whatever negative messages they may have internalized about transgender people from Silence of the Lambs.

How do you feel about Meek's Cutoff? And by politics, it seems like we've pretty much veered primarily into feminist politics. Some people describe Mad Max: Fury Road as feminist (I would say that statement would probably need to be broken down), but along some similar cases, what about some James Cameron movies, such as Aliens, and I guess Terminator 2?
And movies that I'm pretty sure I watched at some point in my life, but can't a single scene - Nine to Five and Private Benjamin?
Or movies I haven't seen, The First Wives Club, Working Girl, Fried Green Tomatoes?

I think American action-adventure movies are fist-pumping, rah-rah type of movies, especially the last 20+ years, that have been relatively emotionally uncomplicated (maybe that's an unfair assessment since I don't watch a lot of them, since I reach my limit pretty quickly for that genre). In which case, I would imagine most girl power movies in such a category are going to also be emotionally uncomplicated, feel good stories for their target audience.

Speaking of politics, how did you feel about the invocation of politics in The Dark Knight?
You know, from the implementation of the city-wide surveillance system in the shadow of the Patriot Act in the US (I can't remember the timeline of that compared with when Snowden released the documents on how much the government was spying on the citizenry), to even the moment the phrase, "Thugs," was invoked on the Joker and his henchmen.
And actually, how about Forrest Gump? A movie that seems to try to invoke politics while trying to avoid making comments on them.

ETA: And I'll also throw in a more recent movie - Knives Out. I don't think you have to dig too deep to see there's a lot of politics in there (and it does get political). How did you feel about that?



I will say, the examples of these complaints makes me think of a common complaint from critics (and Steven Soderbergh) is the death of the middle-tier movie. Where you get independent movies and major blockbusters (that are trying to be as marketable to as many people in as many countries as possible, so for the love god, don't acknowledge the existence of Taiwan, not just in those movies, but any movie produced by the studio - which is politics by omission), but all of those movies inbetween have died off in the past decade. Movies that would still make a respectable amount of money, just not gajillions. Because the movies that probably fit in that range that are particularly political would be movies like Parasite and a number of other South Korean films.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Life in the US hasn't felt great for a little while...
Unfortunately, since I haven't seen any of the Charlie's Angels movies either (when you say currently, are you going back to the 90s).
Since Silence of the Lambs was brought up, how do you feel about the parts where they were explicitly addressing feminist issues:
Now, with the talk of The Silence of the Lambs, how do you feel about it being explicit about the few scenes where they were explicitly feminist politics:


Keep in mind, Silence of the Lambs, a movie that angered the LGBTQ+ community, so Jonathan Demme, for his next film major film, made Philadelphia. A movie (and this might be something I've only heard and either misremember or was just incorrect) that the LGBTQ+ community didn't necessarily love, but Demme said he made it targeting middle America, not the LGBTQ+ community, because that's whom he needed to undo the damage of whatever negative messages they may have internalized about transgender people from Silence of the Lambs.

How do you feel about Meek's Cutoff? And by politics, it seems like we've pretty much veered primarily into feminist politics. Some people describe Mad Max: Fury Road as feminist (I would say that statement would probably need to be broken down), but along some similar cases, what about some James Cameron movies, such as Aliens, and I guess Terminator 2?
And movies that I'm pretty sure I watched at some point in my life, but can't a single scene - Nine to Five and Private Benjamin?
Or movies I haven't seen, The First Wives Club, Working Girl, Fried Green Tomatoes?

I think American action-adventure movies are fist-pumping, rah-rah type of movies, especially the last 20+ years, that have been relatively emotionally uncomplicated (maybe that's an unfair assessment since I don't watch a lot of them, since I reach my limit pretty quickly for that genre). In which case, I would imagine most girl power movies in such a category are going to also be emotionally uncomplicated, feel good stories for their target audience.

Speaking of politics, how did you feel about the invocation of politics in The Dark Knight?
You know, from the implementation of the city-wide surveillance system in the shadow of the Patriot Act in the US (I can't remember the timeline of that compared with when Snowden released the documents on how much the government was spying on the citizenry), to even the moment the phrase, "Thugs," was invoked on the Joker and his henchmen.
And actually, how about Forrest Gump? A movie that seems to try to invoke politics while trying to avoid making comments on them.

ETA: And I'll also throw in a more recent movie - Knives Out. I don't think you have to dig too deep to see there's a lot of politics in there (and it does get political). How did you feel about that?
I was only referring to the new Charlie's Angels where it seems the only reason it was written was because the writer's hated men. The older ones did not have that.

I really like The Silence of the Lambs and it's one of my favorite movies. I felt fine with the gender politics in that movie, because the gender politics was about a woman wanting to prove herself in the FBI which is important and compelling. I really like T2 and Aliens as well.

The problem I have with modern girl power movies such as Charlie's Angels or Birds of Prey, is that the way the movies and dialogue are written is that the female characters hate men and they keep referrencing this in those movies. And it makes the gender politics feel like it's coming from a negative place as if the storytellers' have been mistreated by men in their relationships. It feels like the girl power is nothing more than a response to women's dating baggage.

If The SIlence of the Lambs were remade today, they would make it so that Clarice Starlings main reason to join the FBI, was to get back at men and she's has baggage there, and that's the goal.

Or if T2 or Aliens were made today, the female characters would have issues with men, more than they had issues with Terminators killing everyone, or Aliens killing everyone. And that's the problem with today's girl power movies, is that the female character's manhating issues, supercede the issues of the main plot. So it feels disingenious to the main plot, and coming from a real negative place comparedt older movies. I want to see female characters achieve big goals and kick butt. If I want to see them going through petty, first world manhating issues, I can just find that with people in real life. What's the point of going to the movies then? Mad Max:Fury Road does not have this manhating dating baggage, but I think it started more with more recent ones such as Charlie's Angels and Birds of Prey. It feels like in those movies, the only reason why women are strong is because they have men issues, and why is that the best reason to have strong female characters?

But in The Silence of the Lambs, when you ask how I feel about Meek's cut off, could you be more specific, as I am not sure what you are asking when you sat cutoff exactly?

I also didn't think that Buffalo Bills motivations were meant to be political but the writers needed a reason to keep the victim alive, on a ticking clock, so they came up with one. I didn't think it was meant to be thematic, but just part of the storyworld.

Plus Lectre himself even said that Buffalo Bill is not a transexual, so that seems like confirmation to me that the character is not LGBTQ+ perhaps therefore, and I wonder how many people in that community actually watched the movie back then instead of making assumptions?

As for the politics of Knives Out, I really didn't understand why the movie was trying to shoehorn in, immigration politics into a movie that is suppose to a whodunnit murder mystery. Felt out of place to me. Maybe the if the story was a story about immigration more directly, where the plot can directly deal with those issues, but hear it felt like a shoehorned in afterthought to me.

It's been a long time since I have seen Forest Gump and I would have to watch it again, but which politics would those be?

I have seen Nine to Five out of all those movies, and I like that movie and think it's pretty funny. However, unlike serious movies such as The Silence of the Lambs, T2, etc, it's just a silly comedy, so I think the politics work for that movie in a light fun way and work well there.

As for The Dark Knight, I like the movie, but I never associated Batman's cellphone location machine with political themes of The Patriot Act. I always thought of it as nothing more than a plot device to get to the climax. I thought while Nolan was in the writing process, that he doesn't want the movie to get any longer, wants to get a to a climax quickly now, and Batman doesn't have any idea where this guy is. So he needs to give Batman an idea as to where this guy is.

I didn't think that that this device has when any more political than a gadget James Bond would use to achieve his goal. Unless I am wrong? Did Nolan himself say it was about political themes involving the Patriot Act, or are we perhaps thinking about it too much, and it's intended as a plot device to get from one point to the next?

As for the phrase 'thugs' being used on The Joker, can you refresh my memory as to which character called him and his henchman that, as that will probably effect my opinion on it? Thank you .