Feminism is the radical notion that women are people said someone famous. That sums up feminism better than any long winded definitio...

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Feminist Movies, Anyone?

I just happened to watch two awesome woman-centric movies on two consecutive days, in the midst of trying to figure out Hindi movies which pass the Bechdel Test- an enterprise probably doomed to failure from the start. Right? I will write about one here and maybe a second post on the other one, later.

 The first movie is A Thousand Times Good Night.  Starring  Juliette Binoche , it portrays a woman who works as a photojournalist in conflict regions of the world. She's "driven" and often risks her life - both "male" traits. Visiting these areas of strife and violence, she repeatedly puts her life in danger, in search of the perfect shot. As a friend chides her in a later scene, its the adrenaline rush which keeps her motivated to do the job she does.

As an Indian, I'm used to seeing women as the primary caregivers to their children even when they have full time jobs outside the home - whether paid or unpaid. What struck me most in this movie was the gender role reversal and the ease with which the movie handles it. It seems the most natural thing in the world that one parent  should take care of the kids when the other parent is away - as this movie depicts. It's simply a coincident that the primary care giver parent here happens to be the father.

And ooh, what  a hot dad ! The hunk who plays dad is Nikolaj Coster-Waldu  I haven't come across him earlier but I believe Game of Thrones fanatics will recognize him.

As the movie unfolds we are drawn to its central theme - how Gretta ( the character played by Juliette) going away repeatedly to these conflict zones and coming back wounded, having been in situations where she's come close to losing her life- is a huge drain on her family.

When she returns, there's an emotional distance,specially between Gretta and her husband and with her older daughter.They are wary of becoming close again,  because she will be gone once more. As her husband tells her "you smell of death". He tells her, each time she's gone, they prepare for the worst.

All of which made me think of the awesome role reversal the movie offers. Almost all such movies where the person putting his life in danger is a man, and the person left holding the home front, is almost always a woman. I for one can't recall any other movie with such a role reversal. Can you?

Needless to say Julitte Binoche is ethereal and luminous as is the ocean, the most gorgeous backdrop of the movie where a lot of the movie is set.

There were parts of the movie which I found uncomfortable. Scenes such as Gretta shoving her camera into refugees' faces without their permission, because "the world needs to know" or the whole sequence ( suggestive of Afghanistan ) though it doesn't explicitly say so, of the woman suicide bomber. being a Muslim - tried and tested tropes all, very much part of the white saviour complex. Where would we be without the "civilizing" impact of white people? Sigh.

Yet, all this didn't dilute my thorough enjoyment of the movie. Go watch it if you can. If you already have, tell me about it.

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