06 January 2009

The Experiment.

I have this really weird fascination/complete revulsion for books, movies, etc, that are quintessentially, all-caps-ically, MALE. Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk is the last known example of this. It was one of the grossest books I've ever read, but I must have finished it in about four hours. The most interesting thing about it, is that there are predominantly men (it's about a porn shoot where some woman is trying to break a gang bang world record, from the perspective of three of the constitutent men, one of the women organizers, and, nominally, the porn star) There are, as stated, only two women characters, though somehow it ends up the book is fundamentally actually about these two women.  In the case of this book the results are not pretty.
Well. So I saw this movie Das Experiment last night (the Experiment) (I think that's l'Experiment in french, but would have to look it up to be sure) It's a german film about these guys who agree to be locked up in jail for fourteen days, 12 as prisoners and 8 as guards, as a social experiment on prison life, claustrophobia, and the behavioural changes and agression that develop as a result of being locked up. It's based on an actual experiment that was carried out some years ago at Stanford University.
Again, funnily enough, there were only two women characters in this film, one a woman the main character meets and has a liaison with one night before going into the clink, and the other, who is one of the scientists spearheading the experiment (who, of course, attempts to stop it when it first starts getting out of hand, only to be thwarted by her male counterpart) 
The film is horrific. But I found it remarkable how even in their near absence throughout the story (except for near the climactic ending), this film became so very much about the women. Or rather, about women. Just...about women. And it was really really good, actually.

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