Heroine Content Links #27: Let Me In, Red, more on Machete, and a flashback to July with Salt
This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.
Skye says: I didn't get a chance to catch Let Me In, so I've added it to my Netflix queue. If anyone saw it, can you let us know how it was?
Oh, and Happy Halloween if you celebrate that and you're reading this tonight! I'm currently blogging and thinking horrible curses upon those who have decided Halloween is a fireworks-appropriate holiday. Obviously those people do not have three year old children who need to go to bed at 7:30. Or nervous dogs.
And now, the links, for your enjoyment.
Letting the Representation of Gendered Violence In: A Review of Let Me In by Natalie Wilson at Womanist Musings:
While the original film was also excellent, it lacked some of the more overt gendered analysis of the US version. Though this may be due to discrepancies in translation (I saw the film both in Swedish with English subtitles and dubbed in English) the bullying theme running throughout the narrative was framed very differently in the Swedish version. In it, the young male protagonist Oskar was repeatedly told to "squeal like a pig" by his tormentors. In contrast, in the US version, the male protagonist, now named Owen (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is attacked by bullies with taunts such as "hey little girl" and "are you a little girl?"
RED and a Reverse Bechdel from takingitoutside's blog:
Remember, this test is a basic measure; it's not meant to be the be-all and end-all of realistic portrayals of women. There might have been more such exchanges, too. As I said, I didn't pay that close attention. (I was too busy having fun.) What I did notice was how multiple characters pulled aside Frank Moses and spoke to him... about a woman.
Girls On Film: Red's Damsel in Unnecessary Distress by Monika Bartyzel at Cinematical:
Sarah is how we'd all wish we'd be as normal folks pulled into heavy danger. She has the normal reactions of shock and fear, but finds a latent talent for, and attraction to, the danger. Helen Mirren's Victoria, on the other hand, is the best kind of badass, a woman who mixes the classically feminine thrills with a cool gun-toting persona that wipes all notions of age from the picture. She talks about shooting lovers just as easily as she'd hand over a scone for tea.
Immigration and Sexuality in Machete! by Maria Guzman at Gender Across Borders:
This brings up a more specific aspect of voyeurism in film-the "colonialist gaze," in which women of color are not only hypersexualized but likened to primitive beings. Young pointed to this cultural landmine and explained how it seeps its way into film: Latinas and other non-White women might not recover so easily from such a parade of behavior, and face typecasting on a regular basis. It's a reality that makes Jessica Alba's "lady cop" homage exceptional for an added layer of grit. And yes, she does ride off into the sunset with Machete while straddling him on a motorcycle...but I can't help to marvel at the fact that it's one of the few happy endings involving a Latino couple.
Via Guzman's post, 'Machete' + Progressive Audiences by Elisa Kreisinger at Pop Culture Pirate:
But however powerful and progressive the message was, I couldn't get passed how hyper (and I mean HYPER)-sexualized these strong female characters were. Now, maybe I don't see many target-male movies, but I'm still shocked. In a Facebook discussion after the movie, I learned that (to my surprise) the progressive men didn't have a problem with the way women were depicted. They felt that the movie was made for them and the tits & ass shots were there to entertain them. Are progressive men all that progressive if they're not examining their own privilege of a male gaze?
Table For Two: The Racialicious Review of Machete by Arturo R. García and Thea Lim:
Thea: If I can't agree with you that this movie felt half-assed in terms of quality, I can definitely agree that its gender politics were half-assed. The teeter-toter of feminism: it almost, almost has good gender politics...and then oh no wait. No it doesn't.
SALT - Jolie Gives Us the Female Early Nineties Hero We've Always Dreamed Of on Best Action Heroines:
Conspicuously missing from the film were cutaway scenes seen in the trailer of Jolie in her underwear with a man. I can only assume that these were scenes we would've seen before the opening of the movie where Salt is being tortured in her underwear in a North Korean prison. Whoever decided to cut them out, thank you, it was a nice change of pace.
Girls on Film: Angelina Jolie in a Man's World of Action by Monika Barytzel on Cinematical:
As I mentioned in the intro - here's a project written for a man that was simply changed into a woman's role. It's about star power over sex. For the first time for Jolie, her action isn't sexualized. She's not pouty and tank-topped, extra-busty, or shooting at people whilst wearing a clingy dress and draped over the hood of a sports car.The poster for Salt isn't celebrating her body, nor is it focusing on the action and danger or outlining the supporting male cast. It's simply her face and her name.
Salt- a short movie review by Gategrrl on The Hathor Legacy:
No, the movie does not pass the Bechdel Test. She spends no time at all talking with another woman at all. She is surrounded by men, from beginning to end. There is a sprinkling of women in the movie who have small parts. But this is Jolie's movie, all the way.
Salt: Holy crap I love Cold War political intrigue! by Elizabeth at Kills Me Dead:
[...] when Salt became a woman, they changed the nature of the spouse because being saved by a kick ass lady "seemed to castrate his character a little," said the director. So... he gets shot and killed in front of Salt instead. Because dying is better than having your wife rescue you. Awesome!
Snarky's Cinemachine: Evelyn Salt should smile more! by snarkysmachine at the Bitch blogs:
Damn it, Evelyn Salt, why won't you smile more? You're a woman for goodness sake; it's about time you started acting like one! Running for your life or halting nuclear annihilation rarely affords one the opportunity to present their most engaging selves, yet, somehow Evelyn Salt is asked to rehab her personality into something more recognizably female - lest she be mistaken for an "advanced fighting machine".
How Angelina Jolie fought to keep Salt from becoming "pretty", an interview by Meredith Woerner at io9. These words are Jolie's:
She's faster, she can get height, she can jump on things, or she's quicker, or she's more agile, or whatever it would be. Everything had to be somehow possible, even if it was stretched -- even if the trucks on the freeway were wild. In a stretch, it's still not impossible. Crazy, but not impossible. So we tried to always remember that. I think that was our bar - could it be done? It would have to be an extraordinary person, but could it be done? It's actually the opposite of every action movie I've ever done, because there's never really been a female action movie based in reality. They're always fantasy. I've done most of 'em.