Remember Dustin’s review of Captivity? I do. I could feel his rage and disgust through the every word and today, I had no trouble recalling how affected I felt myself, after only reading that review. Apparently, Lucky McKee’s (The Woods, May) The Woman, (which premiered last night at Sundance) is going to be another one of those films where we try to figure out if there’s a line, where it is, and whether people should continue to cross it.
When I first read about The Woman, it was (too) easy to poke fun at the limited premise information: a horror film about man trying to protect his family from a feral woman living near his home. Since then, more detailed descriptions reveal a slightly different take: “The Woman tells the story of a man who discovers a wild woman he brings home and locks in a shed with the intention of ‘civilizing.’ He is met with resistance from his wife and daughters, and enthusiasm from his son, as his ‘training’ techniques become more and more sadistic.” Back in November, I wrote a Trade News blip about the upcoming release. Writer/Director McKee said it “…might even induce nausea,” and apparently The Woman screening at Sundance has done just that and more. According to the guy in this video below, one female viewer passed out (other reports have her running out, hitting her head, and falling down). He’s also clearly disgusted and was removed from the theater for causing a disturbance. Though he is upset and keeps cutting the other guy off, he maintains most of his composure and his anger doesn’t seem unreasonable. So do we label him a lunatic or is this another Captivity, a movie so vile it should cause people to scream in outrage? (An impossible question at this point, I know.)
The gentleman in the video asks an interesting question: What value is it? And I’ll ask you, does that matter? I know we’ve had all the old arguments about art and censorship a thousand times over — of course anyone has the right to make the film he chooses. And I don’t think anyone can or will put a stop to the sort of films that this man alleges The Woman to be. But should there be a line? Is there a line where a film is completely and only about the degradation of a woman, where the film has no value, except perhaps to fill some need within its own maker? Is that enough? Should such a film be made public by anyone other than the filmmaker? Should it just be immediately classified with an X rating or something else entirely? (In my mind, the X rating is a possible best solution.)
Should we discuss a movie like this at all, or just ignore it (including at the box office) and hope it goes away?
A note: At the time of this writing, I am unable to find any reviews of The Woman.
Update: Dustin’s viewpoint is up.
(Video found via Bloody Disgusting)