Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins (USA 2017)

Wonder Woman Patty Jenkins (USA 2017)

Wonder Woman Patty
Jenkins (USA 2017) Gal Gadot, Chris Pine

viewed Empire Cinema Newcastle 6 June 2017; ticket £4.00

tweet from Trumpland

At last a super hero film that is the perfect allegorical representation of our times. In directing Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins has produced a mythical scenario that is faithful to President Trump’s condition and situation. A situation of isolation from any influences other than his family of Gods and Goddesses; a condition of paranoia to hold the world at bay. In Wonder Woman the tweets lies and blandishments of Mr President underlie the movie’s script endowing it with deep superficiality, with a post truth/ post modernist sentiment and tweets, disguised as dialogue, with new age mantras: believe! love! etc!

Like most recent Hollywood movies Jenkins and her script writers are beholden to the polemics of fake female empowerment. This is an easy lazy speciously righteous position to take as it means that the only thinking that has to be done is, is a flip, turning the women into men; rather than having to figure out what other defining characteristics might constitute strong female qualities. The Hollywood solution is that the empowerment of women’s natures is best expressed by them emulating and surpassing men in the outer expression of sexual power. This equates neatly with the Trump position as regards women. Looking at the women with whom Trump surrounds himself, Ivanka, Melania, Kellyanne they all have that touch of Wonder woman in their expressive genes. Like the models found in Vogue and Vanity Fair, they comprise a legion of woman defined by images of a warrior sexuality, as they threaten to break forth out of the pages of fashion glossies into the heat of battle. A new era of female soldiery dressed to kill confident of victory against whatever forces they might meet: men, cellulose, other women, unruly hair.

Mythically Trump of course has Zeus like qualities. From his tower eyrie high he presides over the earthlings, figuring out their comings and goings. Alone at the top of Olympus, he’s a God increasingly isolated and reliant on Wonder Woman, Ivanka to represent him to the world beyond, to fight off the forces of evil by which he imagines himself surrounded. Go forth Wonder Woman and save the world for America, go forth Ivanka and make America great again. And so they go forth into the world.

Judging by the plot and to some extent the visual look of the film Jenkins has spent some time looking at the work of Tarantino. In particular Inglorious Basterds must have caught her attention. Tarantino’s commercially successful post modernist tryst married film to an assemblage of fake history coined out of second world war material.

Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino’s affirmation that the world, and all it contains, should be subsumed to the movie. Cinema should no longer respond to the needs of the world; rather the world must respond to the needs of cinema. The needs of Tarantino’s cinema are not moral or ethical, but simply the production of spectacle. In the name of cinema, history is reduced to fashionable tropes of style and attitude, and ideas to the expressive mode of the comic book.

Inglorious Basters in fact demonstrates how quickly spectacle spills over into parody, and, how quickly parody is divested of meaning. Voided of meaning, Inglorious Basters has no content, it becomes an emptied space located in spectacle. But in an era characterised by the creation of the Trump mythology ( the God of the Deal) the social and political objective is to strip discourse of notions of validity and truth. To use tweets and postings as psychopumps evacuating the oxygen of fact and truth from social exchange. The result is to create a situation of informational entropy in which every piece of information is equal to any other. A sort of law of universal equivalence. The practice of Trump’s White House is to destroy notions of accuracy validity and truth by drowning them in an overload of indifference and hostility.

This process of overwhelming truth with alternative facts of course fits with Jenkins’ script which is based on alt truth in relation to the known facts of the first world war. In selecting Ludendorff as one of her main villains, Jenkins had to undertake in clear cognizance, a significant distortion of history. She had to trash the facts. But Jenkins, whether consciously or not, has absorbed the tutelage of Donald Trump, and in sympathy with his ethos of alt facts, Jenkins sabotages fact for the sake of spectacle. Jenkins could have chosen to substitute for Ludendorff a fictional character who resembled him. But she chose to go with the lie. Perhaps not so much for reasons of Box Office, but more perhaps because like Trump, the lie is amongst other things, a mechanism for flaunting her power. The power of the lie over truth represents the truth content of this movie. In that Jenkins takes on the power of the lie as the core to her narrative, in a sense she also becomes the architypal shadow of her eponymous hero, the dark side of the superwoman. adrin neatrour adrinuk@yahoo.co.uk

Author: Adrin Neatrour

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