Wednesday, April 28, 2004

More from NFF

Instead of discussing in-depth the movies I saw yesterday (People of Angkor and Tennessee Film Nights 1 and 2), I thought I would talk about a theme I noticed – gender roles.

Oh sure, easy enough.. dish about the oppressive patriarchy and how evil men are. Well, just so everyone knows, the Empress is quite fond of men. She compliments and scratches without sex discrimination. Heh.

So, first there was The Damned and The Sacred – already mentioned. On this theme, what struck me was the nature of folk dancing. The young men danced with a lot of energy. They would explode into leaps across the stages. The moves were sharp and very militaristic in style. Contrast that with the way the young women danced. Tiny little steps that allowed them to appear as though they were floating. The hand gestures were graceful and refined. It reminded me of an article that Rabbi Botech wrote on how women (as opposed to the Queer Eye guys) civilized men.

In the next movie, The People of Angkor, we followed the workers at the Temple of Angkor as they tried to piece together the ancient ruins and protect them under the barrage of tourists. Some of the workers would explain the various symbols of the gods and goddesses. We learn that Aspara, one of the goddesses mentioned in the movie, is an idealized woman. She smiles without showing her teeth. She works hard to make her home a peaceful place. Physically, she’s beautiful – curves in all the right places.

Then there was Resolutions of a Complacent Man, who spent more on wine depending on the age of the woman he wanted to have sex with. Our lead character visits his mom on Sundays so that he can stop at a strip club on the way home. He resolves to remember the names of people and lists 10 women he was in varying stages of ‘relationship.’ He is frustrated at how one relationship went wrong when the sex was so good. Did he miss the sign that she would get angry? Her declaration that she was… intimate with her step-father was his first clue that she was nuts.

The short of all this – seeing it up on the big screen for all that it is, contemporary Western gender roles and a lot of the behavior is down right revolting. Not like I haven’t seen it or been disgusted by it before.. or even been supportative of it. The pursuit of nookie and dollars consuming one man in his late 30’s will leave him empty as he gets older. That guy reminded me of another man I knew from Dallas who went through a period of picking up a different girl to sleep will 3 different nights of the week. He told me that sometimes the women would say “Hey.. nice couch. It would look better if my dress were draped across it.” *rolls her eyes* Don’t misunderstand me – I’m all for healthy sexual activity. Just that God intended them to be inside martial relationships.

The guy from Dallas did admit that the sex was some way of plugging a hole, temporarily at least, that was inside of him for some type of connection.

I’m off – 2 more movies tonight. Here’s to hoping I will stay awake.