Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Art Imitates Life?: actress Romola Garai on misogyny

The recent film The Killer Inside Me, starring Casey Affleck as a 1950's West Texas deputy sherrif who's secretly a psychotic killer, has generated a great deal of controversy due to several scenes of graphic violence.

Need I even add that the violence in question is perpetrated on women?

Critics have variously praised the film, condemned it, defended the violence as essential to the storyline, and questioned whether it was worth the storyline. No one, however, has rivaled the critical response of one Romola Garai. An actress who you most likely know as the teenaged Briony Tallis of Atonement, Garai provides her own examination of The Killer, of cinema in general, and society at large. It is startlingly insightful:
It is also a misogynistic film – but why shouldn't it be? I would argue
that something dark is lurking between the sexes and that it is seeping out into
cinema. [...] Isn't cinema simply responding to a fear of – and desire to punish
– women, especially materially successful or sexually active women?

The world has changed quickly and, for some men, there is anger,
confusion and frustration at that change – a feeling of displacement and
uselessness that is driving a wedge between the sexes. It isn't a predicament I
feel much sympathy for but I believe it exists and should be allowed to be

I'm not sure whether I agree with her or not -- after all, life often imitates art, and our cultural palate is formed by the media we devour -- but she raises interesting points.

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