I finally got around to analysing a movie from the Fast & Furious franchise: Fast & Furious (2009). Apparently there are eight in total. I had been putting it off because the thought of sitting through two hours of car racing was more than a little off-putting. This one made US$363 million at the worldwide box office though, so I can't ignore it. Obviously many people have been exposed to it and given that it is part of a big franchise it must appeal to a great many people. Those are the types of films I am analysing for my book: popular and/or critically acclaimed movies.
Women are silenced in Fast & Furious (2009) in a way that is all too common these days. Even though they populate the screen and have a few lines--there are three named female characters--these are all spoken to men; no two women ever talk to each other. So Fast & Furious fails the Bechdel test (a test that serves as an indicator of the active presence of women in movies). What does director Justin Lin have women doing in their scenes? For the most part they are sexualized. They dance provocatively while scantily clad in several scenes. In one scene three women kiss each other in the hallway of a night club as a man looks on, smiling. In another two women dance together, holding each other by the waist as a man films them with a video recorder in his living room (while three women kiss and fondle each other’s breasts on a nearby couch). Time is also made for the three named female characters to kiss Vin Diesel, each in turn at one point or other. The audience is also shown a woman jumping off a semi trailer before it goes over a cliff, as well as a woman being shot dead. So it isn't as though women are absent from this movie... but it still scores poorly for women's presence and voice.
© 2017 Alline Cormier
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