Water Your Eyes Doing


This is part of an ongoing discussion about film theory and its execution Mad Max Fury Road. I’ve talked, at length, about how composition how it can objectify a body, how it doesn’t matter if the body is in motion, how Mad Max mostly avoids the objectification by use of center frame, how Golden Rule framing isn’t necessarily objectifying.

Additionally, here is post breaking down how composition, lighting, and blocking (actor position) systemically deemphasized the female body in the My Name Is Max scene.

But lets get to the most controversial scene in Mad Max in terms of feminist theory, the infamous Water scene. I’ve been frankly putting this off because if you get into the larger visual, narrative, and thematic context of this scene, this post will never end. This is even before delving into the the meta-context of genre and tropes. So I’ve decided to narrow the scope of this post down as far as I can in terms of pure composition and practical concerns. However, if you have meta on these topics, please let me know by ask or via reblog and I will add as a footnote below the cut-tag.

Let me first point out though that we have spent the few minutes prior to this scene with Max waking up from the sandstorm (having flashbacks), getting freaked out by the needle in his skin, and about to shoot a man’s wrist off to get free.

He then has another flashback, notice the sound effect, but the flashback is triggered by a very specific thing:


Girl’s voices. Like Glory. Like, say, voices he finds when he turns around the corner, of the Wives:


A note on why I use both Golden Rule and Rule of Thirds: The Golden Rule, while is more effective/precise is ridiculously hard to eyeball on-the-go and while filming moving images. Rule of Thirds is often ‘good enough.’ Film as a medium is not photography or painting, it’s a medium intent on capturing moving objects, and sometimes the demands of the shoot means that you end up with the ‘best try,’ especially if it’s an action shot containing either internal or external movement (ie. either in-camera objects moving or the view itself moving). What is more likely to be specifically composed are still shots, wide shots, or the beginning/ends of shots/pans.

Which you can see here. Look at how BOTH the Rule of Thirds and Golden Rule lines up with the landforms at the horizon. Look at how precisely the War Rig lands on the major diagonal.

Now look at what happens when the camera lands in it’s final position and the Wives come into focus:


Nothing lands on any of the 8 major sweetspots (the crosshairs of the Golden or the Third. The Dag’s back bent over the boltcutters is centerframed. And check out what falls on the horitzonal Golden:


The water. Angharad is bent over and covering her face, Toast’s head is blocking Capable’s chest. Look at that space between the vertical Third. It’s the chastity belt.

I am telling you right now that it would be easy as pie to take that belt and put it past the lower third where it wouldn’t be seen or to the far left. If they really hated it they could have told the people who erase wires in visual fx to erase the belts or to move them. It’s position is not an accident.

For some comparison here is some concept art of the scene (found in The Art of Mad Max Fury Road):


Even if they were more clothed, look at how more objectifying their poses are, how the butts are subtly (or not subtly) turned towards the viewer instead of slightly away from our gaze (compare Toast and Angharad to the two wives on the right in the art) and how Furiosa was supposed to have been freeing them, instead of the wives freeing themselves.

Here’s the full picture:


Notice the absence of the belts and the placement of the hose. Look at how Furiosa and the gun are on the Golden.

Let’s go further into the movie itself however. (warning, lots of pictures)

Keep reading

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Tags: fury road, meta.

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