Berlin Syndrome

I deliberately avoided any 9.30pm sessions of Berlin Syndrome (2017) in case I scared myself on the dark walk home.  Some films are best kept for daylight hours.  Watching a thriller is as much a test of the film, as it is of my internal fear that I will remember painful, revolting, cruel scenes from the film, bring that fear into my sacred space, and not be able to sleep, perhaps even have a nightmare during which I cannot grab anything.  One could probably achieve the same by locking me in a room with a bird or a reptile (this is not an invitation), and saying, “Go to sleep.”

When I ‘get through’ a thriller, with minimal sensory ‘damage’ it is a small achievement.  Tonight though, I was too late to see a comedy, and settled for another film on my list of desired fillums[sic] to watch, the 7.10pm session of Berlin Syndrome.  So, really no different from the 9.30pm assault upon the visceral senses after all.

Director Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome is an engaging, though at times slow-moving erotic thriller about a young photojournalist who has packed up her life in Brisvegas, Australia, for a creative endeavour in Berlin, but meets hell instead.  At first, Teresa Palmer’s Clare is your prototypical hiding-her-light-under-a-bushel solo backpacker, enjoying a fun fling.  She discovers too late that behind cute local Andi’s  (played by Max Riemelt) friendly mask, lies a wolf in waiting.  But within herself, Clare finds her own animal instincts in an increasingly excruciating, in more ways than one, fight for survival.

See the preview here: 

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2017



Leave Nigella Lawson Alone!

I usually don’t mind reading Sarah Le Marquand’s columns in the Snaily Telegraph.  She usually writes with intelligence and some decency.

But today she takes the cake with her patronising and pompous faux-feminist attitude to the way Nigella Lawson has chosen thus far to deal with the very public breakdown of her marriage to Charles Saatchi, the man who assaulted her recently at a restaurant.

Le Marquand demands of Nigella:

But she cannot stay quiet forever. Having found herself in the centre of a highly publicised matter, she owes it to herself – and to the countless women in similar situations now watching her closely – to speak up and denounce violence and bullying.

Daily Telegraph 11/07/2013

There is no singular perfect human response to trauma. 

Le Marquand’s smug,  insensitive,  patronising, and ignorant suggestion that Nigella get a wriggle on denouncing Saatchi publicly, and become the posh anti-domestic violence poster girl before she turns into a 50-something Rihanna, chooses underhanded and passive aggressive feminism at close to its worst. 

At no point in her article does Le Farquwittand[sic] open her heart to the possibility that Nigella’s refusal (thus far) to publicly denounce Saatchi or to make any comment about intimate partner violence in general, is anything beyond the mark of a very public figurehead maintaining the clichéd stiff upper lip in the face of public humiliation.

As one who was many years ago on the inside of a relationship marked literally by domestic violence, the last thing a person in Nigella and her family’s (yes, Le F. you didn’t think about the rest of the family did you?) situation need is judgmental outsiders casting cut-throat black and white aspersions their way during a shitty time of transition.

Le Marquand’s eager article reads as black and white about one thing:  Charles Saatchi is not the only pig at the fair.

This is a time less for heartlessness, than healing, and kindness.

c. Aroomofheroine 2013.

Kanye Bugger off West and Never Come Back?

To be honest, despite being a feminist, I don’t tend to read many feminist blogs, and I think that Naomi Wolf needs to take a ride in the real world.

But this post by Melinda Tankard Reist in The Punch got my goat this morning.  And it’s not hard to see what got hers.    Kanye West presenting sexually objectifying, degrading and torturous depictions of women in his latest video clip, Monster:

If she hasn’t already, I think Naomi Wolf will shit herself with feminist delight when she sees West’s clip: something to really get her critical teeth into.  And why not?

Frankly, I am so repulsed by the image, first, of a woman hanging dead in front of Kanye West seated on a throne, that I don’t want to watch the video clip.   I can’t stand graphic horror.  Maybe I should**, if I am to comment with the ‘authority’ of anything beyond secondhand information and the ensuing Reist blog post debate amongst her readers, some of whom mention the satirical perspective which West takes in his narrative.  Maybe I should, to discern for myself whether the video clip and lyrics really are a satirical commentary upon shallow women who use their wiles to garner the attention of rich men, such as West, and prostitute themselves for the connections with benefits.

However, if I wish to read about shallow women, I can stick my nose inside WHO Magazine any day of the week, or watch Keeping Up With the Kakas.

There is nothing wrong with West using satire to critique and challenge women who sell out such traditional values as not giving head jobs to music industry power knobs, and spilling their milkshake around the yard on missions of self-aggrandisement. If that was his intention.  But when he catches up with the women in his family, and they ask,  ‘What have you been working on lately?’ what is he going to say?  What is he going to say to every woman and girl whom he loves and respects, about a video clip which muddies a purportedly satirical message about women and self-respect, against visual footage of not only overt female sexual objectification, but women being tortured and decapitated?

Some might say that the joke is on the viewer.  Here is West using the merest smearing of ironic critique to get away with sexually and brutally objectifying women for his pleasure in a video clip.  One which could be seen by every woman and girl whom he loves and respects… as well as all of those whom he doesn’t.

Satis, I say.  Enough satire from you, West.   Perhaps in your next video clip, you  could even up the score by filming yourself  wearing lots of gold chains with money symbols, and having a wank in front of a mirror.  Or consider the recent rape  and beating of 60 Minutes journalist Lara Logan in Egypt’s Tahir Square, the online report of which brought tears to my eyes this morning, right before I read about a very muddy message about women, men, and self-respect.

**17/02/2011   Edited to Say:  Today I bit the bullet and watched the Monster. It did indeed ”cross tha line” (West). 


c. A Room of Heroine 2011.