Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Spit On Your Grave.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978), originally called Day of the Woman. The original scarred me for life, since I was still in the movie-watching phase when I felt like everything that was convincingly portrayed on celluloid COULD conceivably happen to me. Between this and Last House on the Left, I was left with a very dark view on backwoods and rural sex practices. The cinematography was done so subtly in the first part, it seemed the cameraman was a peeping tom, getting thrills from watching our protagonist, almost documentary-style. The sound design is stark, not allowing us to get distance from the events on-screen, by limiting the score to source music only.

We get to know the female author Jennifer Hills as she settles into a distant country home in order to finish the story she's working on. Some "generous" locals decide to help their handicapped young hanger-on learn about sex, by stalking her and showing him how it's done. The movie shows them playing with her like cats with a mouse, letting her getting away, then brutally attacking her again. They finally leave her for dead, but somehow she survives her horrific injuries and goes home to heal.

The second half is the story of her revenge on the group of men, managing it any way she can. I've read arguments that this is glorifying rape, that this is a feminist film, that there is no message behind this movie because it is simply exploitation, and that the woman takes back her power at the end. Which do you believe? Is it a "grit your teeth and endure it" kind of story, or is there a bottom line?

I'm glad I saw the original, but I will not be seeing the remake, because as long as it conveys the same message, it's unnecessary. I did not enjoy the experience of sitting through it the first time.

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