Term Paper: Thinking Through Queer Forms and Politics on the Film v. For Vendetta

Pages: 5 (1540 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality  ·  Buy This Paper

Film Analysis: V for Vendetta

The 2005 motion picture V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, is a melding of histories, the past, circa 17th century, the "gun powder treason," rebellion featuring a single man against the government who was apprehended, hanged till dead but the "idea" could not die. Now, 400 years later, once again a man's rebellion against the government, in London, no longer a cosmopolitan city, but now a city in a country that has resorted to extreme social oppression in order to control its population. It is a world that has seen America fall to its knees, post plague, post war, now a "leper colony." Following that introduction, the scene switches to Roger Allam as the television evangelist Lewis Prothero, reminding viewers that America's downfall was Godlessness, and that England had demonstrated its Godliness, and was accordingly spared. This, as the heroine, Evey, played the talented Natalie Portman, dresses for an evening meeting with her boss, Dietrich, a closet gay, played by Stephen Fry. Of course, the freedom of expression, the freedom to move about unrestricted, and the freedom to be gay are outlawed in the Godly England. This is a film of how a government undermines the freedoms of its people, manipulating them, although the people turn a blind eye to it and are content to live as sheep, herded about in their lives. Then, just as had occurred 400 years earlier, one man seeks to cure the blindness, and that man is V for Vendetta.

Some of what Michael Cobb (2005) writes about in his Social Text journal article is exemplified by the character of Lewis Prothero, in V for Vendetta. Cobb explains and discusses at length the use of religiosity, invoking Biblical warnings and repercussions for sin as tools to justify oppression. Especially the oppression of gays, and we can see in the film the queer element as Prothero spits the word "homosexuals," equating it to ungodliness. The play on people's superstitions and beliefs, even when those superstitions and beliefs are irrational and unfounded fears, is a strong tool in keeping people blind to the truth. This worked well for Adolph Hitler in a pre-World War II Germany when Hitler entrenched himself in the lives and politics of Germany, and used superstitious prejudices against the Jews to commit genocide in plain sight of the country's Christian population. For Hitler, just as in V, it began with an annihilation of the affected; cripples, and the mentally deficient.

Cobb actually describes the moral majority's judgment of gays as regards their continued inability to lawfully wed in the same way that heterosexuals do, in much the same way as we understood Hitler to have preyed upon the prejudices and fears of the Germans to bring their hatred of Jews to surface. Cobb says that the moral majority, and the politicos in their service, have incited the fear of Christians that gay marriages will put at risk the heterosexual family. Unfortunately, Cobb's argument, though a good argument, is poorly supported by his referencing to the Reverend Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, whose membership espouses hate slogans against gays, soldiers, the U.S. Government, and just about everybody except the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Cobb uses Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church as an example of the moral majority, when, in fact, the Westboro Baptist Church has about 80 members, 99.9% of whom are Phelps' family members, and whose hate speeches and hateful antics, such as picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; have actually been condemned by most people, including members of the moral majority.

A understands all too well the mind of the government that lies to the people to keep them blind, and hides the truth in plain sight - which does not matter, because the people are blind to the truth. It is much the way we see the government in America today, as they invoke plausible denial, denying that which is evidenced before our very eyes, and yet, because the government denies it, like sheep being herded by the shepherds of lies, we follow along, powerless to bring about change without rebellion.

How does it come to this? It begins by denying to the people that which they see before them, hiding truths in plain sight. For instance, causing people to think that a law is for the people, by the people, of the people; such as term limits placed on some state representatives and senators. Term limits, voted for by the voters because they have been convinced by self-interest groups that term limits will solve the problems of corruption in political offices. In fact, the term limit is chiseling away of the voter's right to choose for them selves whomever they would like to hold office, because having served the limit, and the voters can no longer vote for that particular candidate again - even if he did a good job. That the initiative made it to the ballots, and was voted for by the people and subsequently became law in certain states, like New York and Missouri; is because it was advocated as a tool of the people to ensure no one politician had the time in office to become omnipotent.

In the film V for Vendetta, we see the chiseling away of those expressions of individuality that give rise to ideas and incite rebellious spirits. Stephen Rea, as Inspector Finch, is the blind who finally sees as he unfolds the mystery of V. As Finch becomes more and more deeply embroiled in the elaborate lies and deception to keep the truth from the people, he begins to feel inspired, not so much by V's murderous behavior, although that contributes to the awakening of Finch's own rebellious spirit; but he is inspired by the refreshing relief of the truth vs. The weighty and tortuous deception of lies.

In American society today, we have yet to experience the public official who has experienced the weightiness of lies. This is perhaps one of the reasons that the inspirational and refreshingly seemingly truthful remarks of presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama has gained such an overwhelming public support as to be competitive with New York Senator and former first lady, Hilary Clinton.

We can return to Cobb (2005), also Barbara Hammer (DATE) and B. Ruby Rich's (DATE) remarks on queer cinema in examining V for Vendetta. Each of these three authors agrees that a signature marker of new queer cinema is that it presents the gay or the lesbian in non-traditional ways, or ways that are symbolic as opposed to rooted in reality. In V, gays and lesbians have been the victims of the governments program of cultural cleansing - and there is innuendo that the character of Dietrich, is a closet gay who has oppressed his own desires and pretends to date young women like Evey to conceal his true self. The character V uses the story of a young lesbian and her lover who were persecuted under the social reordering of England. It is this interjection of queer cinema that allows the character of Evey to move beyond herself to feel empathy for another person. After all, Evey cannot feel empathy with V because she is horrified by his capacity for violence, even in guise of righting social injustice. Barbara Hammer says:

It is my belief that a conventional cinema, such as a classical narrative, is unable to address the experiences or issues of lesbian and gay perceptions, concerns, and concepts (DATE, p. 70)." For Vendetta is not the conventional cinema, and perhaps cinema that exposes the blindness of a people to their government's manipulations and oppression never is conventional, for that very reason. However, there is no mistaking that V is not queer cinema in the form… [END OF PREVIEW]

Film Audience and the Movie Capote Term Paper


John Grierson the Documentary Film Developed Term Paper


Heritage British Cinema and Thatcherism Term Paper


Giancarlo Giannini Research Paper


Media Worlds Term Paper


View 49 other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Thinking Through Queer Forms and Politics on the Film v. For Vendetta.  (2008, March 2).  Retrieved September 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/thinking-queer-forms-politics-film/7614172

MLA Format

"Thinking Through Queer Forms and Politics on the Film v. For Vendetta."  2 March 2008.  Web.  21 September 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/thinking-queer-forms-politics-film/7614172>.

Chicago Format

"Thinking Through Queer Forms and Politics on the Film v. For Vendetta."  Essaytown.com.  March 2, 2008.  Accessed September 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/thinking-queer-forms-politics-film/7614172.