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the artist formerly known as oneangrykate ([personal profile] riseupwithfists) wrote2010-06-07 09:13 pm

(no subject)

I love being reminded of the fact that large swaths of fandom actually can't understand the difference between depiction and approval to save their life (the above link spoils the entirety of the movie Splice, btw, but I can quote if people want to know the gist without having it spoiled).

I saw Splice today and the person above... we didn't see the same movie, clearly. And maybe I'm privileged because I see a lot of film and read a lot about film, but an interpretation of the film that assumes that it's condoning and promoting what's going down is at best facile and at worst made in extremely bad faith.

And this is a separate issue from people getting triggered by material in the movie! Apparently the American marketing campaign really misrepresented the film, and I understand that. This movie is not for everyone. It is filled with fucked up stuff. But it isn't saying what the reviewer in the link above said it was saying. ARTISTIC COMPREHENSION, Y'ALL. YOU CAN HAS IT.
the_future_modernes: (Default)

[personal profile] the_future_modernes 2010-06-08 01:24 am (UTC)(link)
you sure its locked?
the_future_modernes: (Default)

[personal profile] the_future_modernes 2010-06-08 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
your post. I saw the first iteration thereof. But now I see that you've changed your mind.
eisen: Alisa (okay crazy lady). (july! july!)

[personal profile] eisen 2010-06-08 02:35 am (UTC)(link)
I still like that the entire review calls her "Biochemist GF" instead of by name.

Because that plus the - repeated! -assumptions that Clive is supposed to be sympathetic just keep making me blink a lot and wonder what ingrained assumptions about the role of men versus women in any narrative got brought to that review; it sure sounds a lot like they went in expecting the woman to be insignificant and the man to be the moral voice of the film and that they relentlessly insisted on interpreting it through that lens even when the movie went for a totally opposite conclusion; for all the movie's failings, that particular take on the importance of Elsa versus Clive is not one that I think holds up to much scrutiny and it actually bugs me a lot because it feels a little like the reviewer is justifying their own internalized misogyny by saying because Elsa has head damage she's just a crazy bitch.

(I will not actually deny the film is a hot mess, though, and comes to several conclusions I think are hideous and abominable, even if I was entertained by it while I watched it. But that interpretation is not one I think is supportable by the film itself.)

And yes, holy crap, is this a separate issue from the triggery content of the movie, of which there is LOTS. EVERYONE WHO THINKS THEY MIGHT WANT TO SEE THIS EVER needs to understand this is a movie that contains graphic scenes of incestual rape, among other horrifying things, and nobody needs to be exposed to that if they don't want to. Absolutely nobody. It is not justifiable to discuss this movie without being upfront and honest about the fact that even a brief summary of the plot could risk triggering people, because it's just that nerve-wracking.

But it is a terribly large leap to go from "this movie contains horrible things" to "this movie ENDORSES horrible things" and I don't think that's an approach the text of the movie will support for very long.
eisen: Kumi (bearing arms). (we share our mother's health.)

[personal profile] eisen 2010-06-08 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
Haha, me too! And god, she was chillingly effective in this movie, just how well she slowly peeled away her character to make it clear, by the end, how much of what we thought was "normal" behavior in the beginning was really nothing close. That was one of the most effective slow non-reveals I've ever seen, because it wasn't a change in performance as much as it was a change in context, and it was so interesting how all the little quirks that made Elsa pass as "sane" turned into all the little quirks that made her terrifying by the end once the audience realized just how much of that was a byproduct of Elsa's pathological need to have control.

This was a film about, in part, the cycle of abuse, and Elsa struggles with that and ends up doing horrible things, but the two leads certainly came out pretty even when it comes to committed atrocities.

YES, EXACTLY. Clive doesn't come out any rosier than Elsa, like I said in my review (which I'm trying to decide if I should unlock or not, right now). He's a bastard and a creeper and it's so obvious to me that the movie wants his repeated complaints about the morality to sound as hollow as his actions ultimately prove they are; he wants everyone to know he doesn't approve of this, really, because that way he can avoid taking responsibility when it all goes wrong. He just doesn't want anyone to think he's at fault, because it's not his idea, right?

(Of course, Clive, just like it isn't your idea to sleep with Dren.)

I was personally floored by the ableism thing? That particular argument was totally out of left field and doesn't even make any goddamn sense.

I can almost see the ableism angle better than any of the other arguments that review makes, actually, which makes me wish movie tickets didn't cost so much because I'd like to see how well that angle holds up once I'm looking for it - since I'm not all that impressed with it on gender-portrayal grounds, no matter how much it personally satisfied me, and so I'm certainly willing to believe it committed other failures that I might not have registered because of my own privilege.

To be frank there's a lot of mistreatment and stereotyping of DS kids as "alien-faced" and shit like that, so it's not coming out of nowhere so much as I'm not sure it's applicable; it's a pretty common horror trope, after all, to have "half-aliens" have their eyes wide and almond-shaped like that precisely because of ableist nausea about DS kids being "inhuman" just because they don't look "right"; it taps into a widespread ingrained cultural response and even though it's an effective technique because that response is so ingrained, it's an awful piece of privileged exploitation whenever it shows up.

I personally didn't take Dren that way and I'm not sure I would even taking the history of DS kids and how horror treats them into account; that doesn't mean that interpretation isn't valid, it just means I didn't see it the first time around and that I don't think it's one that holds true the entire movie. Dren, as a metaphorical stand-in, covers a lot of ground in terms of who she's supposed to be a metaphor for and why, after all.

If I had gone into the film not knowing that disturbing content was ahead of me, I would have been in for quite the surprise, and I understand people feeling upset by getting blindsided. I think that this is difficult for some people to seperate from their interpretation of what the film is trying to say?

More or less. I went to see it on opening day, and there were fifty-year-olds wearing pearls and neckties in the audience; I walked past them in the lobby after the movie was over and they were standing around dazed and confused and yelling at each other incoherently. On the way out these two women who I guessed were in their thirties and dressed like they just walked off the set of MAD MEN stopped me to ask me if I'd just come out of "that movie" too, and when I said yes, they just both gave me this look of complete bewilderment before they said "We really don't think that was meant for us."

And ... yeah, pretty much. I don't know what the fuck they were doing in the audience, and I wish I did, and it just doesn't make any sense, because this is absolutely a Cronenberg nod and why wasn't it marketed that way what the fuck. THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR GENERAL AUDIENCES THAT R RATING IS THERE FOR A REASON FOR ONCE.
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[personal profile] alliterate 2010-06-08 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
Hey, thanks for posting this - I was one of those people who saw that post and had the kneejerk "OH MY GOD THEY'RE ACTUALLY ENDORSING THIS SHIT ANYBODY WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY SEES THIS IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET" reaction, which is, uh, problematic on a few levels. I doubt I'll be seeing it anyway, because graphic incestuous rape is really not something I want to see, but I'm glad to know it isn't what that post makes it out to be and I'm definitely glad to have it pointed out to me that I, by extension of that post, was being a giant asshat about it.
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[personal profile] softestbullet 2010-06-08 05:04 pm (UTC)(link)
"Strong sexuality"

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[personal profile] alliterate 2010-06-08 07:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh no, don't worry, I'd never take offense to or feel alienated by something like that. You didn't sound callous to me in your post, either, just annoyed (which is a completely fair reaction to someone seeing a film that depicts rape and immediately assuming that it ENDORSES rape, which, now that I'm thinking about it rather than just reading that post and immediately agreeing without questioning, that is such a weird jump to make and it's REALLY bothering me).

WHAT THE HELL, MPAA. I'd always assumed that they warn for rape, but do they seriously just include it under "strong sexuality" and violence? STRONG SEXUALITY ≠ RAPE. RAPE ≠ SEX AT ALL. ETC.
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[personal profile] gloss 2010-06-08 11:18 am (UTC)(link)
I keep wanting to c&p that post and transform it to lower case because I can't read it in its current format.

BUT. That is not important! I dunoo, I'm relieved in a weird way to hear that the movie isn't as horrific as is being touted.
gloss: (Namora will fuck you up)

[personal profile] gloss 2010-06-08 11:47 am (UTC)(link)
I think the theatrical distribution weirdness probably speaks to the mainstreaming of the horror genre.

And I think that fandom will see anything with David fucking Hewlett in it, so they were caught off-guard.

I can't even form coherent rage for that Philadelphia comment. I just want to *die*.
softestbullet: Aeryn cupping Pilot's cheek. He has his big eyes closed. (BH/ gonna get her back)

[personal profile] softestbullet 2010-06-08 05:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Good to know! Not that I'll ever ever watch it (that post triggered me), but, good to know.
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[personal profile] irrelevant 2010-06-08 06:57 pm (UTC)(link)
On the one hand, I understand the reviewer's extreme reaction. This movie appears to be full of triggers one might not even know one had, and from what I can tell (I just did a run by the movie site, Wikipedia and various film-related sites), if you haven't read in-depth reviews of the piece (which don't seem to be available at the moment), you're not going to know what you're getting. Which is... well, content considered, it's bad.

Granted, the language used in the post you linked to is deliberately inflammatory, but even if the person had written a no-bullshit, no capslock review, the basic events described would be enough (for me, at least) for a visceral reaction. Gut reactions are gut reactions because they bypass the thinking portion of the brain and go straight for your hindbrain and gag reflex, and I think the writer didn't stop reacting and really think about what they'd seen before they posted. Ah the perils of posting without the intervention of thought.

By which I mean I'm in complete agreement with you concerning the reviewer's misplaced outrage. It is one thing to depict a horrific act and yet another to glorify that act. My issue is not with the presence of graphically depicted rape in a film; depiction does not constitute approval. But even if a film doesn't show approval for a certain act, the filmmaker's reasons for depicting that act can still be wrong.

If rape is depicted graphically in any form of media, for me to give that piece of media any credence there had better be a damned good reason for the graphic depiction. Going by the storyline I picked out from between the capslock and the sketchy details other sites provided, I get the impression that the act of rape was thrown in twice, not because the rape itself was important and had meaning within the context of the story, but because the act added to the general horror of the situation. Something along the lines of, THIS IS UR WARNING: splicing/genetic engineering/scientific experimentation is bad and wrong and evil and results in abominations against the laws of god and man.

Uh...huh. Old, old message, and the medium for carrying it isn't really anything novel, either. I dunno. Splice sounds like a lot of gratuitous violence and psychological horror with very little intellectual payoff. It sounds, like so many films in many genres do these days, pointless.

I'm not a film buff or even a movie fan. The last two movies I saw in a theatre were Batman Begins and Star Trek VI, and I didn't like either one of them; I went because I needed to see how bad they were going to be, and well, they lived down to my expectations. The last time I sat still for the entirety of a rented video, I was, oh, a lot younger than I am now. My point is, if it's not animation or a book, I probably won't like it; my point is, what I know about film wouldn't fill a thimble. But if Splice was a book, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish it.
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[personal profile] dingsi 2010-06-08 08:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for writing this. Let's just say I read [personal profile] eisen's review first, so the linked post had a lot of statements I could agree with, but also some where it made for, uh, interesting disconnect.