fuckyeahisawthat: fuckyeahisawthat: Interviewer: You’ve got…

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015



Interviewer: You’ve got this rage within you. Where does it come from?

Charlize Theron: Uh…surprise. Women have that. I’m not the only one. (x)

I kept thinking about what I wanted to add to this post, about women and rage, and how rarely women are allowed to be both angry and powerful on screen.

This is one of those shots that goes by in a split second, like almost every shot in Mad Max: Fury Road, but I had to pause here to screen cap and gasp. Because…her fucking face, man. Her face is amazing. It kind of reminds me of the sandstorm, actually. It’s terrifying and awe-inspiring, and also darkly beautiful in its own way.

This is Furiosa aiming a head shot at Joe from behind Angharad’s pregnant-body human shield. This is the first time in years she’s come face to face with Joe and hasn’t had to hide how she feels about him. And she is ready to KILL that motherfucker.

This is seven thousand days’ worth of concentrated rage.

I think this is one of the shots where you can see most clearly that, whatever we might interpret about the balance of Furiosa’s motivations, Charlize Theron was playing this as a story about vengeance. She’s said so quite explicitly in interviews:

“This idea that she’s kind of saving these women just didn’t feel as interesting to me as…they belong to a man who hurt her incredibly, and she’s just had enough. And she’s just gonna take these women with her. And she’s gonna take what matters to him the most. She’s gonna take the most valuable thing away from him, because he took the most valuable thing away from her. So it’s…it really is the ultimate story of revenge.” (x)

She’s not saving them–she’s stealing them. And she would have been content just to steal what’s most valuable to Joe, but this is an action movie, so of course he chases after her and forces a confrontation, to the point where we know she will have to kill him for this to be over.

Why do I think this is this important?

Women don’t get to express rage on film a lot, but if there’s one form of socially acceptable female rage, it’s motherly, protective rage. “Mama lioness defending her cubs”–that’s something we have a pre-packaged understanding of.

And what I love about Furiosa’s rage is that it is not that–or, it’s not only that. She protects plenty of people over the course of the movie. She throws her body over Cheedo when the Bullet Farmer’s gunfire reaches them. She saves Max about fifty times in the final fight alone. You can see the terror on her face when Toast gets grabbed out of the Rig. She is protective of the people she cares about, or comes to care about.

But the root of her rage is what happened to her.

Her anger is about her own oppression. It is presented as entirely justified and valid, and she is allowed to fully feel it, express it, and act on it on screen, up to and including a moment of violent catharsis. 

And her anger is powerful. By the time Furiosa climbs out of the War Rig and onto Joe’s car, she is running on fumes of 100% nitro-boosted rage, and it’s powerful enough to keep her going when she’s in pain, bleeding, struggling to breathe.

“Sooner or later, somebody pushes back,” Miss Giddy says to Joe. His downfall is the downfall of tyrants everywhere–eventually, someone snaps and fights back, even if the risks are great and the chance of success is small.

We know that in real life, there are many situations in which violence is not a useful or desirable response to a problem. But movies are fantasy spaces. They are there for us to emotionally play with things we wouldn’t ever do or want to experience in real life, including fantasies of violent revenge in response to oppression.

But that’s not the only thing that’s going on here. One of the many brilliant things about Fury Road is the way it welds the characters’ individual emotional needs to the greater mission. While it would probably be satisfying watching Furiosa rip Joe’s face off in any context, she ends up doing it in a context that advances the plot. Joe is an obstacle they need to get out of the way before they reach the pass, so they can execute their plan of trapping the rest of his army on the other side and ensure the safety of the group as a whole. (Furiosa says, “I’ll get him out of our way,” but it’s the third act so we know this can only mean killing him.) 

So Furiosa’s individual need for violent catharsis gets subsumed by, and fulfilled through, the mission of the group–in the same way that Nux’s need to break with the ideology of the Citadel gets fulfilled when he flips the Rig to protect the group, and Max’s need to connect to another human being gets fulfilled through saving Furiosa’s life. These are all functional plot/action beats, but they are also the culminations of each character’s story arc. (And they happen one right after the other, boom boom boom, like fucking clockwork.)

It’s individual emotional needs that drive the characters–but it’s collective struggle, camaraderie and resistance that fulfill them.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1N1RDOD.