seeing your favorite character like
And the rest of the world like…
that’s the look that says ‘sorry you’re going through that, unfortunately we’re going in the same direction with only slightly more agency’
I like this analogy because it includes the hope that eventually we get to rip the faces off of our primary abusers.
I’m really loving the theme lately with big budget film and TV projects in the ‘nerds and nostalgia’ genre having White Male Entitlement as the villain
Mad Max asked who killed the world
their answer was ‘toxic masculinity’
Jessica Jones answered with ‘rape culture’
and Star Wars threw in ‘entitled, privileged white dudes with nostalgiaboners for eras of extreme oppression for everyone else’
could we ask for a more accurate unholy trinity, or a better group to be putting this shit on blast??
Mad Max told a story about sexual violence and survivorship without relying on rape scenes to impress upon the audience how *serious* things were.
instead of watching the abuse on screen, we hear about it through the interactions between the wives. they tell us what happened, and in that way they take control of their own narrative.
rather than being voyeurs witnessing the wives’ trauma played out onscreen, we were an audience listening to their story.
and that makes a world of difference.
THIS THIS THIS.
So instead of showcasing the specific treatment we were told of it, which is the contrary philosophy of most filmmaking (show, don’t tell)
or they made the decision to not sensationalize and fetishize the rape and brutalization of women. and in doing so spared the feelings of thousands of trauma survivors in their audience.
but whatever, film theory 101.
“Show don’t tell” is for FUCKING AMATEURS.
“So instead of showcasing the specific treatment we were told of it,
which is the contrary philosophy of most filmmaking (show, don’t tell)”
demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the idea behind “show, don’t tell.” I would argue that Mad Max: Fury Road DOES show us how the Wives were treated by Immortan Joe. However, it chooses not to do so in the obvious way (which would be showing the abuse), but rather by showing us in other ways.
We’re shown the message the Wives leave behind: “We are not things,” from which we can infer that’s exactly how they’ve been treated for God knows how long.
We’re shown that they wear flimsy white fabric that leaves their bodies on display, unlike pretty much everybody else in the film.
We’re shown them using boltcutters to rid themselves of chastity belts, devices which pretty much exist solely to remove a woman’s ability to choose her sexual partners.
We’re shown rage from the Dag when, even though time is of the essence, she takes the time to run back and kick one of the discarded belts as hard as she can before running back to join the others at the War Rig.
We’re shown Angharad using her pregnant body to shield Max and Furiosa from Immortan Joe, because she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt he won’t shoot her or her unborn child because he still views her as his property.
We hear Furiosa’s “Remember me?” before she kills Joe, and there’s so much fury and anger in those two words that you know she was a Wife before she was an Imperator.
We ARE shown what happened to the Wives. The issue lies in thinking that the only way to show that they were abused is to show the abuse itself. And as MM:FR demonstrates, that isn’t the case.
Let’s not forget how absolutely important this is when applied to real life though. Being able to carry on a successful and believable plot where women are trying to escape abusive relationships not shown to the audience is exactly what happens in real life. Too often do we have to hear women’s cries for help with “SO never seemed abusive” or “I never saw a problem” (just see Johnny Depp’s domestic abuse coverage). Instances such as in Mad Max Fury Road where the audience is expected to believe in an abuse they don’t see makes it all the more believable in real life. Maybe with enough of a push through the media, people will be more receptive to women standing up to their abusers without crying out for visible evidence of the attacks.
So last week I finally rented Fury Road, and I was more than a little disturbed to find that all the man-hating radical feminism I had heard so much about consisted of people fleeing from slavery.