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And so it goes

Yesterday I went to the Big Time with baldanders and roadnotes. They had never been before, so we had been looking for an opportune time for an expedition. Of course, once we'd settled on a date, it turned out to be the day of the fannish pubmeet, but we decided to go for it anyway. It was lovely to chat with them about food, music, beer and the differences between NYC and Seattle. We're hoping to hit hit Tangletown and the new Bottleworks pub sometime soon.

On Saturday night I walked to the Cinerama to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a second time. I've written a piece comparing it with the Swedish version. (Warning: There's a NSFW image on that page.) I really like both films and am fascinated by the different choices made in telling the same story. I've never read the book, but the description on Wikipedia makes it sound like the American film is closer to the book in several respects.

After the film I stopped by Two Bells for a beer and a shot of scotch. It's been a long time since I've hung out in a Belltown bar on a Saturday night. Seemed to be mostly regulars and mostly couples, so maybe that's one reason I felt slightly out of place. Yet the bartender was very friendly and chatty, which was cool. It was kind of nice to do something so far out of my routine. I walked home, too, and it was a beautiful night.

On other fronts I'm planning a trip to the peninsula at the end of the month. I mostly just want to take a week off from work, which has been kind of stressful lately. I've long wanted to explore the peninsula, especially the Hoh rainforest, which I've never visited. Should be fun.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
replyhazy
Jan. 9th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine went to see GwTDT (US version)... and walked out of the theater, horrified by the graphic rape scene. I asked if he didn't know ahead of time... apparently he had an inkling but he saw no good reason to depict violence against women in that way. He asked for and got his money back.
randy_byers
Jan. 9th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
The rape scene is pretty horrific in both versions of the film. I go back and forth about whether the scenes are justified. The rape is revenged in an equally horrific scene. The Swedish title of the book/film translates as Men Who Hate Women, and abuse of women is the core concern. Yet there's no doubt that the films flaunt women's bodies too. It's quite a stew of conflicting impulses and intentions, which I think is part of what makes it so powerful.
stevegreen
Jan. 9th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
A similar observation could be made about Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, which has an extremely disconcerting ambiguity at its core. The recent remake tried to polish off those sharp edges, and was utterly forgetable as a result.
stevegreen
Jan. 9th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
Within the context, I found neither version of that scene to be gratuitous. I note no one seems to have raised any such objection to either of the sequences depicting graphic violence against male characters.
dalmeny
Jan. 9th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)

Is it sexual violence against the men? I'm sure you understand that many people find depictions of sexual violence much harder to cope with.

randy_byers
Jan. 9th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
One of the differences between the Swedish and American movies is that in the American version of the scene the revenge does have a sexual component.
stevegreen
Jan. 10th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
In the first case, yes.
randy_byers
Jan. 22nd, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Having just rewatched the Swedish version I feel compelled to correct myself: it isn't different from the American version regarding sexual violence against the man in the revenge scene. So I assume it's from the book.
surliminal
Feb. 2nd, 2012 01:14 am (UTC)
Ok so I went back and read your piece. I disagree with you on two points: the way Lisbath lets Martin die which I responded to on my own Lj; and your interpn of M as a "cad", which is the biggy. I didn't get that at all and I dont think it's what Fincher intended - it's certainly not what you get from the book (as i think you know) where M is, if not a superhero like Lisbeth, then very much a free speech solid Scandinavian freedom fighter - like you said very much a Mary Sue for the author.

Dare I say I think you are looking at it from the POV of a US watcher - in Sweden neither being a father who divorced early or a man who continued with an open non exclusive non-cohabiting relationship while sleeping with a new friend would be seen as signs of letting the side down. It never even crossed my mind that he had "dumped" L when they return from the north - in the book it sems clear he intends to go on being friends with L and whatever else happens(including more sex) is going to be very much driven by her whims. He knows she already hacked his entire life - how could he know she would react so badly to seeing him with his longterm g/f? In later books he has amicable relationships with other women than L but the primary relationship remains stable. It is hard not to think as I did that it was L being immature in expecting more, not M being a deadbeat cad. Or that his primary mistake was allowing her to insist on a relationship where he was so much older and already part-committed; a mistake yes - but one of passivity not moral flaw (he tries to resist but does not get far).

And what I think Fincher *does* extrapolate tremendously well out of the raw data of the book *is* a certain passivity about M compared to the females who boss him around and tell him when and how they want to have sex with him . M is passionate about tracking a story but in his personal life you have the impression he has never fought very hard for anything (inded in the book there is a back story of him being a young winderkind reporter, elided from the films). As you say when whipped by Wasserstrom he more or less runs away (in the book he has no choice, he goes to jail and this isn;t so explicit; but it is there). Women float towards him, his marriage floated away. We are given little more inner life than that. What I wonder - and this goes with what i say in my Lj about how the character has been "feminised" - wussy about a minor wound, nice to cats , nauseous when he sees a dead cat where L immediately starts snapping pix as evidence - is if Fincher is making the point that it takes a quasi feminised, house broken and slightly passive male like M to want to be nice to women rather than as "real" men do, want to hate and rape them. If so, i really don't like that message i think (tho I have to say the character IS v much my type :-)

As I say on my LJ how we're meant to feel about the daughter is hard to say given she's Fincher's invention and not in the prev 2 incarnations - my take is that she's there to sanitise M's relationship with L not to make him seem like a deadbeat dad. Indeed their relationship seems pretty good; although he disapproved of her religiosity and she knows it, she still comes to tell him about it and he gives her his - ahem - blessing. All in all, the cad theory doesn't add up for me.

Edited at 2012-02-02 01:17 am (UTC)
randy_byers
Feb. 6th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
I like your interpretation of Fincher's Blomkvist better than mine. The idea that only broken men can be allies of women reminds me of Suzy McKee Charnas' The Furies, where that is also the case. But it's also interesting that both film versions of this book downplay one superpower Larsson gave Blomkvist: that of being a chick magnet. In the book he has a fling with Cecilia Vanger as well. (BTW, the second sex scene between Lisbeth and Blomkvist is also one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Very funny and human.)

You're wrong about the daughter, however. She's in the book, and the Fincher film pretty much uses her exactly the same way: to show us that Blomkvist has been a neglectful father (although I think this comes off as more superficial in the book -- an attempt to humanize a superhero, whereas in the film it's part of the passive quality in him that you've identified) and to solve the mystery of the numbers in Harriet Vanger's day book. (The Swedish film, because it eliminates this character, has Lisbeth make the connection between the numbers and the Bible, so it becomes another signal of her brilliant analytical ability.)

Also, regarding feminist reaction to this film, did you see Jeanne Gomoll's review on Facebook? She loved it and found it very feminist.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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