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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Submitted For Your Approval

Here’s the Trailer for Raze, An Upcoming LadyFighting Movie You Should Watch [VIDEO]


… but only if you’re OK with really, really brutal fight scenes. And they’re not fight scenes like you see in most action movies, where there may be some wince-worthy moments but all in all they’re fun to watch. No. “Fun” is not a word I’d apply to Raze. But if you’ve not been put off yet, I had a chance to see Raze a while back, and it’s like an all-female, much (much much much) more violent, indie The Hunger Games. It’s also explicitly feminist and completely lacking anything resembling the male gaze, which isn’t something I for one expected when I read about a movie where women are kidnapped and forced to fight one another. We have an interview with star Zoe Bell coming up in January. For now, this is one to mark on your calendar.

(via: /Film)

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  • Anonymous

    Looks intense! While the women in Raze are wearing sweatpants and not in overtly sexualized clothes – I still think the ‘male gaze’ is present in this movie – I saw lots of cleavage and Zoe Bell is hot.

  • Anonymous

    Really hoping Tracie Thoms’ character isn’t there just to die/provide angst for the lead.

  • Brittany K

    I would argue that the presence of cleavage doesn’t immediately equal male gaze. The women are wearing tank tops, which seem practical to fight in, and women in tank tops generally have cleavage,male gaze or no. And casting an attractive actress isn’t ‘male gaze’ either.

  • Anonymous

    Raze… showing the things that sissy movie “The Hunger Games” didn’t dare to! ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I think that’s unfair since Hunger Games is marketed mainly to a ‘young adult’ audience.

  • Samantha

    If this is as intentionally feminist as the writer is making it sound, there’s a LOT of opportunity for some really subversive storytelling. Women pitted against each other as the only way to survive, being told what they’re doing is the necessary choice — even the correctly ‘female’ one, different characters can represent different archetypes and methods of adaptation, and of course the finale when they decided to stop destroying each other and instead unite to destroy the system that trapped them in the first place… This has potential to be as clever as it is dark.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly I’m coming from a point of ignorance as I don’t fully understand the ‘male gaze’ truly is.

  • Samantha

    Agreed. The camera doesn’t seem to be weirdly lingering over boobs and butts, rather the characters and their bodies are being presented matter-of-factly: tools in combat. Which makes sense. Not all physicality is sexual.

  • Mina

    I would define it as being when a female character is intentionally sexualized in a way that the plot provides no reason for. Examples would be outfits that serve no other purpose than to emphasize sex appeal, camera shots that focus on butts or boobs, a woman suddenly stripping for no good reason, that sort of thing.

  • Samantha

    Ever seen a shot in a show/movie/comic where the camera or POV floats up a woman’s legs, or lingers on her boobs, or zooms in on her ass, and there’s really no artistic point to the angle except to say “Hey dudes look at THIS”? That’s male gaze. Also see: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-“male-gaze”/

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, that was a good read.

  • Anonymous

    But if the ‘gaze’ is in the mind of the viewer can’t physicality be made sexual by the viewer?

    Also violence can and is sexual stimulation to some viewers.

  • Anonymous

    If a male character is gratuitously sexualized is it considered Female Gaze or is it still Male Gaze?

  • Samantha

    I don’t know if this was before or after you read the article linked below, but the gaze is an editing choice, not part of viewer interpretation. Of course any viewer can interpret any art in a way that is particular to them, but — in this context — gaze goes beyond that and describes what decisions the creator makes in depicting female characters.

  • Anonymous

    This is from the article – you sent me.

    “In the end, the simplest way to describe the male gaze is to return it to its roots of the female model/actress/character being looked at by the the male looker.”

  • Mina

    Female, I’d think. Magic Mike is coming to mind.

  • Samantha

    Yes, but through the lens of the camera — as if the camera itself were a male observer — rather than a random audience member. The audience members, given a choice, might all look at a female character differently, but in the world of film we have no choice but to look through the ‘eyes’ of the camera, that that gaze is decided by the director. A ‘male gaze’ in film critique would be if the camera were behaving like a above-mentioned ‘male looker’ and forcing the audience to view what ‘he’ would prefer to see regardless of our individual preferences.

  • Samantha

    Keep in mind you would see this a lot in films aimed at gay men too, haha. So it’s mostly about who the intended viewer is.

  • http://cainslatrani.blogspot.com/ Cain S. Latrani

    Zoe Bell?

    I’m in.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    Someone who uses vaguely homophobic ‘punishment words’ like ‘sissy’ has got a lot to learn…

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t even make it through the lotto scene of Hunger Games. The whole idea was so sick, I got ill just watching it. Same with Sucker Punch (I think that’s what it was called). I started to watch it and couldn’t even make it to where the main character is taken away (though I did manage to go back and finish it a while later, much to my regret – 2nd worst movie I’ve ever seen (Scary Movie being the worst)). I’m pretty sure I won’t be seeing this either. It looks good, but I get way too emotionally invested in the story, and just watching the trailer was almost too intense.

  • 37 Pieces Of Ric Flair

    There is no female gaze, same as there is no female privilege. So, no to the first part.

    (If you cannot understand why then you need to brush up on feminism 101 by coming at it from a place of openness to its roots of “liberation from male dominance”, instead of the present definition of “equality between men and women”. The former is an important step to understanding and valuing the latter.

  • Cowtools

    This looks rad. Hope it delivers.
    I also have to hope it comes down to Australia somehow.

  • Cowtools

    Liked for remembering Xena.
    Zoe Bell was also the lead in Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof’, if memory serves.

  • Anonymous

    Am I crazy for wanting to see Zoe Bell play Captain Marvel?

  • http://www.wulfmojo.com Wulfy

    Disappointed that it’s women fighting because they *have* to, when I saw the headline I thought it might be about women warriors. Women fighting to survive or protect has less agency. Still, it looks quite interesting and brutal.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Also, to put my cinematographer nerd hat on for a second, the lighting of this film is very harsh, to the effect that the look of the film, particularly during the fight scenes, is (intentionally, I’d imagine) grotesque. There’s no soft lighting on the actresses to make them more attractive.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I disagree. That the women are forced to fight doesn’t necessarily make them less strongly written characters.

  • http://www.wulfmojo.com Wulfy

    Oh they can definitely be strong, interesting and well-written, I just find the idea of violence ‘to save my kids’ somewhat disempowering, it couches the idea of strength in maternal cotton wool. Admittedly, it’s a very personal pet peeve, harking back to a dissertation I wrote where I had to trawl through all these ‘explanations’ for female violent crime, like maternal instinct or insanity. I’m still waiting to see a film with female characters (besides superheroines) who are violent simply because they’re people and therefore have the capacity for aggression.

    But this is me off on a tangent. Raze looks pretty cool and interesting, and simply the lack of male gaze pitch makes me want to see it. I just hope it leads to similar ideas in future that maybe push the envelope even further.

  • Roberta

    Considering that the first movie (I have read the books but haven’t seen the second film yet) showed children slaughtering each other for a large part of the film, in a film that is geared towards kids and young adults, I don’t think that is the best one to illustrate your point.
    BTW: “sissy” is a stupid adjective. I would have opted for over-romanticized, pacified, toned-down, etc…”

  • Roberta

    My hope for it is that they will have women in it that actually like being warriors for violence’s sake, just to show a contrast.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I understand. God knows I have soap box issues myself, and I love a good female character who kicks ass for the joy of it, particularly if they’re a villain.

    If it helps, there actually is one character who just straight-up enjoys killing people. Something the film very intentionally did was having a variety of female characters who all react differently to being forced to kill. It’s not a Mako Mori type thing, where there’s one female character with any substantial screen time so the representation pretty much rests on her.

  • Luna Carya

    So, when women in movies fight to save their families it’s disempowering. But when men do the same (following the trope of saving the wife and/or kids) it is perceived as a “valid” plot without any further judgement on their power.

  • http://www.wulfmojo.com Wulfy

    Thanks, that’s good to know. Different reactions and motivations is exactly what I’d hope to see.

  • http://www.wulfmojo.com Wulfy

    Luna, yes in that it’s one of the very few ways in which female violence is ‘allowed’ on screen. Male violence in film happens for a hundred different reasons from the almost-justifiable to the totally immoral. Women by contrast are almost never violent in film, and when they are it is almost always given a gender-role laden excuse to ‘justify it’. The only real exception to this is superheroines, which is probably why I like them so much.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that the goal of the bad guys is explicitly stated as being that they want to control what it is to be a woman. I didn’t know much of anything about this movie when I went in, so I was half-expecting something like “Let’s force girls to fight for the sake of our sexual titillation! They can wear bikinis! It’ll be rad!”

    So when it turned into Fuck the Patriarchy: The Action Movie I was VERY pleasantly surprised.

  • Luna Carya

    Was that a “yes” to my comment about the double standard on the motivation for violence and protecting those the characters hold dear?

  • Saraquill

    I’d disagree about you about there being no female gaze. I forget who wrote the article, but one critic called Maya Derren’s film “At Land” to be a study of female gaze.

  • http://melancholywise.tumblr.com/ Sophie

    A lot of feminist theorists disagree about whether or not the female gaze exists. You hardly fail feminist 101 if you fall on one side of the argument. I think you could say that it’s not relevant since men aren’t objectified like women are, but the gaze is not in and of itself an act of oppression. It can be used to give the viewer a sense of a character’s perspective. It has become oppressive because the gaze is almost universally male, and because it is almost universally used to frame and objectify women. However, since the gaze is as much a statement of the perceived gender of the audience as it is an act of objectification I think dismissing the female gaze also dismisses the importance of media that caters to the female audience. I’ve heard ‘female gaze’ used as a positive description for films that acknowledge female sexuality. We could, I think, discuss how often these films actually cater to a female gaze, as many of them (Thor II for example) are actually directed by women.

  • http://melancholywise.tumblr.com/ Sophie

    A lot of feminist theorists disagree about whether or not the female gaze exists. You hardly fail feminist 101 if you fall on one side of the argument. I think you could say that it’s not relevant since men aren’t objectified like women are, but the gaze is not in and of itself an act of oppression. It can be used to give the viewer a sense of a character’s perspective. It has become oppressive because the gaze is almost universally male, and because it is almost universally used to frame and objectify women. However, since the gaze is as much a statement of the perceived gender of the audience as it is an act of objectification I think dismissing the female gaze also dismisses the importance of media that caters to the female audience. I’ve heard ‘female gaze’ used as a positive description for films that acknowledge female sexuality. We could, I think, discuss how often these films actually cater to a female gaze, as many of them (Thor II for example) are actually directed by women.

  • Saraquill

    I’m intrigued about the inclusion of Sherilyn Fenn. I hope being in this film will do her career some good, considering what happened in “Boxing Helena.”

  • Saraquill

    I’m intrigued about the inclusion of Sherilyn Fenn. I hope being in this film will do her career some good, considering what happened in “Boxing Helena.”

  • http://www.wulfmojo.com Wulfy

    Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I meant, yes it feels disempowering when female characters have that motivation, but the same doesn’t apply to male characters, That’s a double standard in the movie industry. Of course a woman saving her family isn’t disempowering in itself, quite the reverse, but when it’s the *only* story a woman is allowed to be violent in, that’s a problem.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    INORITE!!!????!!!!!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Tarantino wrote that role for her, after working with her on Kill Bill(I’m OK!!!). She’s also Bloody Holly in Whip It!

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    This looks SO GOOD I can’t WAIT

  • Pink Apocalypse

    I scan comment history and adjust response accordingly. It wasn’t condescending, it was blunt, and I stand by it.

    It’s interesting that of all the things to motivate a person to create a Disqus account and make their voice heard, you chose my response for your first post.

  • Luna Carya

    Seen that way, it becomes not only disempowering in a way, but also lazy, just like any other trope used in media. That and the revenge plot are almost all there is about women using violence as a movie driving force.
    Watching the Raze trailer, I’m left hoping that the loved ones well being motivation is used only for some of the characters, or that as the film progresses, some of the women disengage from that.

  • Anonymous

    “Sissy” – okay, weak choice of words, forget it, replace it with a better one.

    But “slaughtering”? Really? I hardly saw anything in the first movie that would really account for that, I’m just trying to remember if I even saw a single drop of blood. The camera always went away when someone came into contact with a weapon.

    Sure, I may not be the “target audience” (I grew up with 80s cinema that had no scrupels and probably too less limits in what they showed in average genre movies) but this movie was VERY VERY tame. Have you ever seen “Battle Royale”? That I think qualifies more for “slaughtering”.

  • Anonymous

    Political correctness is not very far away from modern dictatorship, according to Frederick Forsythe…

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    i’d argue that this is allll about male gaze. you know the majority of people going to see this will be male, because it’s women kicking each others asses. plenty of men get off on that. it’s about as basic and primal as the gaze can get.

    plus, if you go to Slash Film and see the comments there are things like “This trailer was missing buckets of water.” “Awwww yeah! Dyke fight!”