Friday, April 25, 2008

Lake of Fire

Lake of Fire (Tony Kaye, 2007) [5]
Give Kaye credit for making an in-depth documentary that attempts to be even-handed in its coverage to both sides of the abortion argument. There is a red flag blowing in the breeze however. For a film that is about such a delicate issue of abortion and have hardly any female interviewees is wrong and short-sighted of Kaye. How can you talk about the issues that women have to face in this debate and have ideas for both sides interpreted through men? The film has such a male perspective of the issue that it makes a flawed film. The one idea that kept running through my head is that this film is so authoritative in the male realm of things, that it treats women as victims and not rational people, like many of the talking heads interviewed. Many of the women interviewed by Kaye are just that, victims. There's the woman who worked at the Florida clinic where two doctors were murdered by zealots. There's the woman who was injured by Eric Rudolph's bombing of a clinic, and there are the two women that let Kaye film the procedure. Kaye also handles the events in such a theatrical, emotionally charged way that it never lets a thoughtful perspective of these women get through. I feel that the woman at the end who allowed herself to be filmed in such a private, emotional moment is completely exploited for the sole purpose of creating a moment. Kaye also does this by showing graphic footage of fetuses, for no reason other than Kaye wants to provoke a reaction. The only time the film really finds a steady groove is when the discussion moves more the sociological spectrum, talking about abortion and in regards to class, birth control, and gender politics. When abortion itself is brought up, a lot of time is spent on talking to right-wing zealots who use their religious beliefs as their sole defense of "life." (Authors note: I know I said that I would not bring politics up but my ideas on the Christian right and religion in general are fairly negative, and I think their pro-life argument is lot of bull.) The times when the film is actually sober and rational are when it's best, and those are not the times when any of the religious zealots are on screen. And, by creating a film that operates more on emotion than rational thought, the film is inherently pro-life. Yes, the film gives time to the pro-choice argument but visceral nature of the pro-life people and their argument overruns the more measured, nuanced explanations of the pro-choice argument. It's not that Kaye is doing this on purpose; I don't think he realized that by framing the film the way he does, he gives more leverage to one side. Some or most may disagree, but I don't feel this film ends up being as neutral as its director thinks it is.

1 comment:

minhye said...

hello can i get this film??
i really need this cuz i have to researh about abortion now. but it's very hard to get this film in Korea. please help me!! plz contact me by e-mail, if you can!!