Saturday, 30 May 2015

Mad Max; an accurate depiction of the future!

Here's a surprise. The Mad Max film is not a 'feminist masterpiece.' Luckily, The Spectator has an article explaining, in detail, why not.

I am not sure anyone was calling it a masterpiece, although quite a few people told me that bit with the guy and his flame-thrower guitar was a tour de force. But the article does a grand job of dismantling the excitement that followed from Return of Kings' revolutionary attempt to explore Mad Max as feminist propaganda.

Sorry, I am doing that human centipede media thing, in which writers get excited by other writers and the object of discussion gets lost beneath opinion and counter-opinion.

But this paragraph is too good to ignore. 

Immortan Joe, the film’s antagonist, owns a citadel powered by humans. Lactating overweight women are hooked up like dairy cows, their “mother’s milk” harvested for human consumption. Joe’s “wives”, incredibly beautiful girls in chastity belts, are selected by him for their desirable breeding traits in pursuit of his desire for “perfect” male offspring. I think this is a pretty likely scenario in the event of society breaking down, and the film holds no punches in its stark depictions of biological exploitation.

While I can't vouch for the naturalism of a film which has a guy with a flame-throwing guitar without having to see the bloody thing, I am willing to bet that the economics of Immortan Joe's citadel are not explored in detail, and the likelihood of this particular social arrangement is closer to a crazy fantasy making a wearisome symbol point - or a plot device - than a considered analysis of a post-apocalyptic society.

Tracy King follows this by giving the film's feminist credentials a proper - and precise - kicking. And I don't ever want to be the person who moans that 'people are taking this too seriously' or, for that matter, discount feminist critiques of popular cinema. It's all art, and it all has a social subtext and context, and hammering these out is both crucial and exciting.

But Hollywood is never going to be the place for intelligent futurism. Besides, society has broken down, and the consequences are that David Cameron is running the UK and The Daily Telegraph is printing orgasmic streams of consciousnesses instead of opinion columns.

This is how the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper, remember?

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