18 April 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Girl Superheroines II


What do Mindy Macready alias Hit-Girl and Buttercup, Bubbles and Blossom do when they grow up?

According to Pixar, they marry another superhero, move to suburbia and make babies, truing to fake it and be normal (what an awful idea, you have to admit!).
Obviously, the world happens to be in peril again, and again, and again... and the family of superheroes has to balance superheroism and family life. That's the outset of The Incredibles (2004, Brad Bird), the movie trying to merge family comedy and superhero movie.

As we concluded in the first installment about superheroines here, it's a tricky genre and feminist perfection does not abound. So this is no Brave (2012) either. But we can still get some out of this:

1. (After some lies and deceit) we finally have a super-couple doing stuff together.

2. Female agency, even if the whole movie is not dedicated to them (there's mum and daughter vs. dad and two sons balance, so 40% of the central cast).

3. Being a family movie, the superheroines are not oversexualized. Despite some gendered and soccer-mum stereotyping, this still could be much worse.

4. You get the Ah!mazing Edna Mode as the super-fashion designer, and she on her own is worth watching the movie. For real. She's creative, loves challenges, is not impressed by supermodels and fashion weeks (some fat-shaming, though!), and her fashion is super-wearable and practical. Plus, being an independent professional and having all the nonchalance in the world! Adorable.

(Now imagine a movie where Edna would work with the Powerpuff Girls! Uh! Oh!)

11 April 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Roman Holiday (1953)


Let's celebrate the spring with something light yet inspirational. Traditional yet empowering. Here you have the emancipated Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953, William Wyler)! 

While you could reduce the story to a romantic comedy of a girl raised among restrictions falling in love for Gregory Peck, we prefer to go farther and suggest you watch this as a story of a girl that:

- Has a social standing and responsibilities that do not depend upon a man. Although monarchical, that still counts as rather emancipatory feature.
- Decides to break free and have fun!
- Realizes she needs guidance and therefore asks (and purchases) assistance.
- Falls in love and enjoys it.
- (A spoiler, but you should know it by now!) Decides her before-mentioned responsibilities are more important than a love affair, and therefore chooses to resume doing them (and let go of Gregory Peck).

A synopsis: she chooses to have few days off from all the stress and stiffness, has great fun and a romantic adventure, then takes a decision to go back to her professional life (being a princess is a professional duty, albeit a very particular one) and acts upon that.
Here you go, Roman Holiday is an emancipatory piece of movie-making! You are welcome. 

04 April 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Tomboy (2011)


It may be very difficult for older people to admit, but the life of young - and very young - can be extremely complex. Classical literature is full of examples, but today's one is a recent French cinema gem.

Tomboy (2011, Céline Sciamma) offers a moving story about trying to fit in better in your own body while living in an extremely gendered world.

It will (well, it could, if you'll let it) get you thinking about:
- How little external appearance tells you about people. And how - at the same time - you should respect the signals people are sending. Even if that takes you into an uncharted territory (even beyond gender binary, uh oh).
- How much inner drama and struggle is brought up when you realize that you should make serious adjustments in order to fit in. Especially if you feel that you cannot share that with anybody. Especially if people assume that you are too young to have any coherent idea about what's going on.
- How beyond the "oh, children are so cruel" stands nothing more than the boxed thinking of the adults transmitting certain notions. You cannot expect little children - those people still just ordering basic ideas about human life - to question and bend the old toxic ideas right away. Adults should lead by example.

It's bittersweet, short, and very touching. What else do you need?