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Alias Episode 1:2 Scared vs. in Control April 30, 2007

Posted by lindamc in alias, attitude, Female Power, gender, imagery, La Femme Nikita, the state, tv.
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I found these two episodes of Alias very interesting in terms of the depiction of Sydney. Sometimes when she is at her work she looks scared and lost (much like Nikita) that she is fumbling to figure out what to do. While other times, she seems very much in control and confident: when she tells the men that are pulling her teeth as torture to “biteme.” This cycle occurs again and again, (when she is having a flashback to buying guns in the middle east and the guy that is selling them shoots his comrade when one gun doesn’t work: she looks scared (turning her head and wincing even though I’m sure she’s seen people shot on numerous occasions: she has even probably shot a few herself) and then in control with a tough face spewing Arabic. On another occasion, before she gets caught and her teeth pulled with the red hair, she is being shot at from over the counter (very Femme Nikita) and looks terrified and lost, there is another shot shortly after that where she clutches what she stole to her chest and hides behind a part of the lab tables looking completely terrified, but then stands up to declare: Over here boys, in a voice that reeks of control and arrogance. I found these scenes as direct evidence that the produceers and directors of the show are making sure the (more…)

Why does there always have to be a boyfriend? April 11, 2007

Posted by kelly in bound, female relationships, G.I. Jane, Girlfight, La Femme Nikita, Set it off, Thelma and Louise, Tomb Raider 2.

I’ve noticed a pattern in the past few movies we’ve watched – every powerful woman has to have a love interest. In Working Girl, Thelma and Louise, La Femme Nikita, Tomb Raider 2, Set it Off, Bound, Girlfight, and G.I. Jane, there is a love interest for the main female character(s).

It seems like the boyfriends need to be there in order to assure the audience that these women aren’t as “hard” or unemotional as they seem to be. Underneath their tough exterior, they still fit perfectly into the heterosexual power dynamic where they are delicate and sensitive in the arms of men. (more…)

Female Power: Standing in Masculinity’s Shadow April 10, 2007

Posted by kblack10 in Girl Power, La Femme Nikita, stereotypes, Tomb Raider 2, Working Girl.

Women have long been thought of as strong, matriarchal characters, but from the films we have watched in class, it is apparent that as time progresses, the actual “power” that a woman can posses is always in relation to power already existing in their male counterparts. In Imitation of Life, Annie is seen as a strong character because, aside from the issues with her daughter, she manages to take on the “male role” in a rather unconventional “family”. While Annie did not necessarily adhere to typical profile of the strong female as being attractive, beautiful, and catering to the idea of the male gaze, her character proves that there is far more to being a strong woman than appearance. For that time period when the ideal family consisted of a working father, doting wife, two children and a puppy, Annie represented the fact that a woman can not only raise, but also run a family just like the stereotypical ideal husband. The movie Working Girls displays a break through in girl power for its time because (more…)

Is Lara Croft simply a man in woman’s clothing? March 28, 2007

Posted by sindhub in Angelina Jolie, gender, La Femme Nikita, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider 2, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

Throught Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, I was struck by how ‘masculine’ Croft’s behavior and personality were.  And I don’t think I would have been as struck by this trait of hers if we hadn’t seen Besson’s Nikita before this.  Whereas Nikita feels remorse and questions the violence she has to perform, Croft almost ruthlessly kills the bad guys off, one by one.  And while all Nikita really wants is to be married with Marco, Croft is apparently afraid of commitment and getting too close to anyone, only to be betrayed again in the end by her love interest and forced to kill him.

So the masculine qualities that Croft has: adventurousness and risk-taking, stubbornness/resolve, ass-kicking, technologically adept, etc.  And of course, she’s the one in charge of the men on her team; she decides what they’re gonna do and tells them what to do, not the other way around.  There are only two other substantial female characters in the movie (the old lady who greeted them in the mountains, and the little girl who gave her her bubble gum); for the most part, Croft is surrounded by men, and the movie consistently makes her look like the stronger person. (more…)

Foreign Films Portraying Female Power: La Femme Nikita March 27, 2007

Posted by ajaramillo in La Femme Nikita.
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One thing that struck me about La Femme Nikita was how much the movie portrayed Nikita as having real reactions during her missions. While it may have made it more of a “female action movie” had Nikita kept her cool and never cried during the missions( like Sydney Bristow), depicting Nikita as confused and emotional made her seem much more relatable and made the movie, in my opinion, far more realistic than the American films that we come to associate with female power.

Although I do applaud Besson for attempting to humanize Nikita by allowing her to cry and show fear, he did not employ the same technique for the males in the movie. While Nikita was emotional throughout the film, she was surrounded by men who maintained very calm and expressionless demeanors, most notably in the case of “Victor the cleaner.” Also, all of her operations were done under strict male supervision with a very emotionless man telling her what to do. While allowing Nikita to cry could have come off as humanizing and realistic, it instead sent out a patronizing message that men are more calm and collected in high-risk situations.

The film had many instances where Nikita was being watched and evaluated, as if she was in a panopticon prison. The underground layer where she trained allowed Bob keep track of her progress while maintaining invisibility. The embassy’s security camera also gave a sentiment of an invisible omniscience. However, while in the beginning of the film she knew she was being watched and she rebelled, by the end the “watching” presence scares her and causes her to loose her cool. I found this regression interesting and thought that it would probably never happen in American films portraying strong female protagonists.

March 27, 2007

Posted by kblack10 in La Femme Nikita, Uncategorized.
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femme-nikita-season-2-pochette-arriere1.jpgWhen watching La Femme Nikita, I found myself becoming annoyed from the beginning that such a strong impact was being placed on Nikita’s transformation into a more sexualized, desirable “object” as she was basically controlled and owned during the time that she lived in the factory. The scene in which she is sitting at the older woman’s dressing table staring into the mirror reminded me of Lacan’s idea of the mirror stage where a person comes to realize their “self” with their first encounter with a mirror. The first time in which Nikita stares into the mirror, she seems to not necessarily have any qualms about the “self” staring back at her, and though she accepts the wig from the older woman she is later seen snatching it off of her head. At this point in time, it appears as if Nikita is content with who she is, yet when the film jumps to a scene three years later on Nikita’s birthday, much seems to have changed. As she painstakingly attends to her eyelashes to perfect them, this conveys the idea that Nikita is no longer happy with her “original self” that stared back at her from the mirror several years before.
Also, I was looking at the new version of La Femme Nikita that came out as a TV series, and it is very clear that while the woman is supposed to have the same tough, “I can kill you” mental attitude, her physical appearance is much more pronounced than the older version of Nikita. The picture is of the newer version of Nikita. https://girlpower2.wordpress.com/wp-admin/upload.php?style=inline&tab=browse&post_id=69&action=view&ID=68

La Femme Nikita March 26, 2007

Posted by lindamc in La Femme Nikita.
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Not only could I not identify with the protagonist in this film, but I (and another member of our class) found it very interesting that she never in control, the entire film. Of course she was kicking butt, killing people, stabbing people’s hands with pencils, etc, but she was also: crying for her mother, ballet dancing (???), holding a stuffed white rabbit in her pocket, etc. After she got out of the “gov’t jail”, she also was never in control: always being told what to do, following other people to buy her groceries, being taken control of by Jacque (or whomever the “cleanup guy” was), or just trying to survive living a double life. She played a dual role of being both victim, and seriously scary murderess. This is what made the film so disturbing for me, and I think was a main discussion point for the film maker (much like the discussion for the creator of Carrie): when does a woman stop always being the victim, and become the villain? I found it interesting also, that the title of the film is much like the film phrase of a femme fatal, which, given her dual role, you could also most assuredly classify Nikita as. However, which man is led to his fatal end? Bob, who loves her and almost ruins his job (well a little) in order to keep her working, or Marco, who she makes so happy, but then leaves in the end. Or, if we’re going to get really crazy, maybe (assuming she is a classic femme fatal, which she seriously may not be (either classically or a femme fatal at all) Nikita’s very angry masculine side: Josephine is the side which she uses to ruin Marie, the happy stable side? In other words, at the end of the film, she leaves her happy life with Marco, whom she could have married and been extremely happy with (if she hadn’t been so messed up), and has to live on the run for the rest of her life. If my thoughts here were not too convoluted, any opinions would be interesting. Finally, I found the subtitles pretty terrible, and seriously reading into what was being said, rather than just spitting back the literal translation. Sorry for that rant, but it bothered me…