Friday, July 01, 2005

Society through the movies 2

A lighthearted look at the psyche of men

Movies in recent years have tackled the theme of differences between men and women ; often suggesting that differences are more than physiological - a fact that women have known for ages!

One common theme east west is what it would cost men to think like women."When Men become Women" , a hongkong film , proposes that men can only think like women when they're emasculated...quite literally. Don't worry, it's not some femmie movie , the plot's too thin for that. A short summary; 3 cads who treat women really poorly are on a ghost bus to hell and their bargaining with the devil wins them a reprieve, the catch is that they have to reform themselves to win their manhood back. Suffice to say that the movie kinda proves that men think with their , er, sexual anatomies. A similar but more puerile movie suggests that men have to dress up as women to think like them and that mammaries are key to the female psyche. That kinda ties up the movie with the hollywood comedy "What women really want " . Bearing in mind that Mel Gibson was regarded as the sexiest man on earth for a couple of years, it was funny to see him in stockings and makeup, a far cry from the mad max days, but the entire movie was disturbingly from a male perspective, with mere flashes of female intuition. Isn't it ironic that Mel's character benefits commercially (by "stealing" the thoughts of his female colleagues) and sexually (the Marissa Tomei character) purely by being able to hear women's thoughts and thereby associatively think like women. Though Mel's character isn't "emasculated", he is "electrocuted" before he's able to hear women's thoughts, hardly a walk in the park and funnily reminiscent of Frankenstein ("it's alive!")

The surge in superhero movies may not just indicate that the post 9/11 world thinks it's in need of rescuing, but also a wish that mundane lives are merely a counterfoil for superhero exciting lives. There's just something really freaky about grown adults in costumes - ok, just freaky for the author (but hey, if your first male friend had a penchant for superman costumes and various playmates had the knack for shouting "super XXX has done it again " every time they won a game, superheroes are a feaky chldhood memory!). Interestingly, superheroes are a lot darker and more ambivalent than ever, perhaps indicative of a world where facts are different depending on your tv channel and network (eg. Fox or Al Jazeera). Then again, are these movies indicative of man's refusal to grow up or that man doesn't grow up, the toys just get bigger!
Men and arthouse films are like oil and water unless the male is a film buff, critic or in the film industry. A unscientific poll shows there are 2 main reasons why men watch arthouse films
1) They are hoping to impress their female companions (and catch 40 winks)
2) They were dragged by their companiona to arthouse fare.

The younger set are a little more puerile - most watch for the sake of "gratuitous sex scenes" - guess why there is a predominance of male viewers at, for example, scandinavian art films

Before the men complain about male bashing, they wouldn't like it if women thought like men , remember the lessons of 9to5, besides, weren't the '80s a lesson that gender differences are best maintained?!