Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Women in Film Blogathon

By Sati. Tuesday, July 29, 2014 ,
John Hitchcock, over at Hichcock's World. is running a very fun blogathon focusing on the women in cinema.

Here are the rules:
  1. The female character in question should have qualities that make her strong. That doesn't necessarily mean better than the guys, just well-written; we're trying to promote equality here, not reverse misogyny.
  2. Unlike my previous blogathon, I'm going to be a bit stricter here and say that each entry should only focus on one character. However, if you like you can write multiple entries examining different characters.
  3. If you can, do try to find less obvious choices. There are a few that I can expect are likely to get picked: Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc. If you decide to write about any the "obvious" choices, I encourage you to at least try and find something new to say about them.
  4. You are allowed to pick characters from any film from genre or time period you like.
I had a big of a problem here because when I hear the words strong female characters I immediately think of TV characters - Catelyn Stark, Atia of the Julii, Fiona  Gallagher, Alice Morgan- it seems that every single show out there nowadays has at least one fierce lady in the mix and that's wonderful.

So when it comes to fierce female characters in movies I decided to go with one character I don't think I wrote a great deal about, as some of the strong female characters where featured on my favorite characters list and she was not there. It's Elizabeth Shaw from Prometheus, played by Noomi Rapace who was my choice for best female performance back in 2013.

While Elizabeth shares some qualities with Ellen Ripley, she is sufficiently different from her while at the same time being a worthy successor to the legendary heroine. Elizabeth has the best kind of strength - one that comes from overcoming her weaknesses. She is not some superhuman entity that doesn't experience fear or sadness. She feels deeply and she keeps going in spite of being frightened, hurt or discouraged.

Elizabeth is an idealist and scientist, determined to find those who created us - the Engineers - she is fascinated with the origins of life and a very interesting aspect of all of this is the fact she herself cannot have children. Scott throws in a cruel twist in which Elizabeth is impregnated by aliens and is forced to perform self operation to extract the fetus. It's the movie's best moment, one that is equally horrific and impressive. Many would be tempted to throw in crazy twist in which Elizabeth cares for her 'baby' (as it was in the film's original script) but the film wisely chose the different path, showing that Elizabeth knows right from wrong even in the face of inexplicable.

What adds to the whole quest of the character is Elizabeth's spirituality - she believes, yet she is a scientist. She thinks there is still some supernatural force out there. In spite of everything she sees, not only does she not lose her faith, she also doesn't lose her hope. She keeps going, even after everything that has happened to her.

Shaw is given the film's best scenes and these are the moments when we see just how strong this woman is - the moment in which she is trying to put herself together after what happened while shaking is incredible. We also get to see her vulnerability when she talks about her infertility and her  joy when she discovers the cave paintings in the beginning of the movie. Her character is such human, such interesting mixture of courage and weakness, fear and hope, persistence and exhaustion.

While the film have been criticized for its characters - Theron playing a 'dull' person or the biologists being stupid - I felt the character of Elizabeth was just fascinating. She is human, but she is extraordinary because of her qualities - curiosity, bravery, persistence. She doesn't give up, she continues to go after what she wants. With each month I find it less and less likely that we will see the sequel to the movie, but I'm hoping it gets made and Rapace yet again brings Elizabeth to life.

40 comments:

  1. Another unexpected choice, but a good one nonetheless. I'm personally on the fence with regards to the overall quality of Prometheus, but Shaw was a good lead. Also nice to see a female character in the franchise other than Ripley or Vasquez getting the spotlight.

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    1. Thank you! I don't like Aliens so Vasquez would never make it here :)

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  2. Great choice! I really liked Shaw, she's definitely a worthy successor to Ripley as you say. Plus she's so badass, she runs like a bat out of hell immediately after having a C section when most can barely walk. lol

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    1. Those must have been some powerful drugs she shoot her leg with :)

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  3. Great choice Sati. If there's time I might join in on this one too. I really liked Elizabeth from Prometheus. I picked Theron's character for your blogathon a few months back b/c I really did like the female characters in this film. IMO, the best scene in the movie will always belong to Elizabeth. That scene was so incredibly acted and executed. Giving yourself a c-section ain't no joke!

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    1. Thanks! Alien franchise is actually filled with such cool female characters. I hope they feature some new ones along Elizabeth if the sequel ever gets made.

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  4. I love the fact that you chose Shaw! I feel like I am one of the only people who actually liked Prometheus, and Noomi Rapace was one of the best things about it, and she and Fassy gave the two best performances in the film, in my opinion. The c-section scene still gives me chills.

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    1. Oh I really liked the movie. It's one of my all time favorites, actually, but I'm a huge fan of the franchise. Fassbender was also very good but I thought the entire cast did very well.

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  5. Nice pick! I wasn't a big fan of Prometheus (the second half is troublesome), but Shaw is one of the aspects I enjoyed most about the movie. Rapace was a perfect fit as Ripley's successor.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah the second part could have been a bit better written :)

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  6. That is an excellent choice as she was one of things about the film that I liked and if a sequel is made with a director who knows more about the genre and doesn't feature any writing from Damon Lindeloff, then I think it will work.

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    1. Lindelof is the worst. The original script had some iffy things but it was much better overall and he didn't write it. I hope the sequel gets stronger script.

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  7. Great choice. I thought Rapace crushed it in this movie. She was definitely my favorite part about the whole film and I genuinely thought her performance should've been given awards consideration.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad so many people seem to like her work in the movie, she really was the best thing about the whole film.

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  8. Excellent pick! She was great in this, and the character herself was such a brilliantly crafted one. She had a real backstory, but it didn't define her. She was layered.

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    1. Glad you liked her work too! i thought it was uncharacteristic for Scott to actually manage to give Rapace a chance to shine, given how ruthlessly he was cutting his actresses out of theatrical versions of several of his recent films.

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  9. Great pick Sati! I completely didn't think to include someone like Shaw. And Rapace was definitely the best thing about this film! :)

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    1. Thank you, glad you liked her character!

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  10. Great pick. I liked Prometheus quite a bit and really liked this character in it. And yeah, that c-section scene was amazing.

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    1. Thanks! I actually really love the movie, in spite of its flaws.

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  11. This is a terrific post -- beautifully written. I love the qualities you discussed, such as curiosity, courage and persistence, and your discussion of the blend of science and spirituality. I need to watch Prometheus.

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    1. The film is very good, it gets bad rep but as a huge fan of Alien I actually really loved it, hope you'll like it!

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  12. Perfect choice! As soon as I saw this blogathon going around, she was the first character to come to mind, for some odd reason. Glad to see someone write a post about her. Great performance!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad so many people liked her work!

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  13. Great post! I wasn't the biggest fan of Prometheus but thought Rapace was pretty decent in the lead. A great pick for the blogathon :)

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    1. Thank you! I really wish she was getting more interesting roles, she is very talented and this movie here is the last I saw her in a demanding role.

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  14. Excellent post Sati and great choice.

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  15. Wonderful post! Yay for strong women in the movies! I totally agree that Shaw is a strong female character and I like that you pick a regular woman, not someone w/ superhero skills! "She is human, but she is extraordinary because of her qualities - curiosity, bravery, persistence" Indeed! Like most real women, the strength of perseverance is an inner strength that can't be taken lightly. I'm not a huge fan of Prometheus but I do admire Rapaci in this role.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you liked her performance she really deserves more interesting characters like this one to play

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  16. Excellent choice, Rapace was incredible in this role. I even think she makes my top ten for that year.
    I'm excited to see where her character goes in the sequel.

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    1. Thanks! I really hope that sequel gets made.

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  17. Rapace did an beautiful job in that role! I saw about ⅔ of this film because I was hiding behind my friend because I was so scared, but from what I saw, Shaw was a really good, well-written character. Watching Alien for the first time only a few months ago, Ripley really reminded me of her. Great post, Sati! (Also, cheers for mentioning Fiona!)

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    1. Thanks!

      Fiona is the best I really need to find the time for another Shameless rewatch.

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  18. This is a great pick. I think Rapace's performance and the film itself are both far too underrated overall. I would love to see a sequel someday as well.

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    1. Great to see so many people who liked the movie!

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  19. I love this choice! and I love your reasons. She was the humanity of the film for me as well (and was the focus of the android's curiosity as well). Such a worthy addition to the blogathon and I loved the movie so I am really glad for your choice. And I am glad that Ridley had her keep her faith through everything. It also brings out more of the persistance of humanity and the power of hope through her character. Great choice! I, too, await the sequel

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    1. Thank you! I really hope we'll get to see the sequel, love what you wrote about her power of hope and that you liked the movie, there are not many people like us :)

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  20. Awesome choice! I love Elizabeth's character, and Rapace gives a terrific performance. I'm hoping they can get the sequel made.

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    1. Thank you! I'm sure they'll do the sequel, I'm actually hoping Scott won't direct that one

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