Monday, April 14, 2008

She Puppet

Discuss William Wees's analysis of Peggy Ahwesh's She Puppet in relation to the following:

What are the general claims about the film as a rejection of modernist aesthetics? (anti-art, feminism, etc.) How does he support these general claims with evidence from the film itself? To what degree does the anaylsis correspond with your own?

In his article "Peggy's Playhouse", William Wees states that "by resisting what the material 'wanted [her] to do,' Ahwesh made something of her own that is about [Tomb Raider]." In other words, Ahwesh's film is about deconstructing the dichotomy of "run-run, bang-bang," and commenting on the low resolution of the graphics, which barely resemble the living, breathing woman they're supposed to represent. Additionally, Ahwesh makes a statement about the objectification of women through the use of first-person poetry narrations.

Ahwesh challenges the "run-run, bang-bang" concept by frequently showing Lara Croft simply running past adversaries, almost acting as though they aren't even there, such as the vultures that swoop down to attack her for no discernable reason. At the same time, Ahwesh shows Lara standing in empty rooms, firing away at the walls with every weapon in her arsenal. As Wees puts it, "guns fired point blank miss their targets; tigers prowl but do not pounce; vicious dogs and ravenous, vulturelike birds attack, but without visible effect;..." Lara's interaction with the world around her may simply be design flaws in the game itself, but Ahwesh utilizes them to give her film an odd, trancelike dream.

In using poetry to illustrate the film's concepts, Ahwesh makes use of first person poetry in order to infer Lara Croft's point of view. Use of quotes, such as Sun Ra's "I'm not a human. I never called anybody mother...I don't know about being born. I just happened," give Lara an ethereal air, almost as if she had actually come into being out of nothing (which, in a way, she had).

For the most part, I agree with Wees' reading of the film. I think some of the texts used in the narration were too esoteric in making their points, but then again I would say this adds to the dreamlike state of the film. The repetitive death scenes may have felt more pointed had they been interspersed throughout the film rather than shown all at once. The emphasis on repetition in differing locations would still, I believe, work just as well as Wees suggests.

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