Mayday Review: A woman’s answer to Zach Schneider’s sucker punch

Myths often try to build structures on things that humans think cannot be explained. For some reason, women are often included in this category. Misogyny has shaped religious and cultural beliefs around the world, turning women in myths into symbols of fear and disaster. Pandora’s curiosity caused her to open a box and release evil and despair into a previously pure world.A scary character like a succubus Jello They are related to men’s fear of female sexuality and society’s expectations of female fertility. For a long time, sirens have been positioned as dupliers, who have transformed the so-called natural tendency of protection and assistance to oppose them and lure sailors to death. Does no one think of the poor embattled guy surrounded by female predators? !

Karen Cinorre’s independent fantasy film Labor day Aware of the disasters that fables are often associated with women, and deliberately put oneself in a dialogue with this tension.Similar to Zach Schneider’s in narrative and theme sucker Punch, But no male gaze (or minimal attire) sucker Punch Used as fashion rhetoric, Labor day Also concerned about a young woman fighting abuse and objectification. After she fell into what seemed to be another world, she joined a group of people who united against men. In the modernized version of the siren song, they use radio distress signals to lure sailors and pilots in. They disguised themselves as hapless girls in need of help. When those who want to be white knights come to lend a helping hand, they are like fish in a bucket.

Has a lot of narrative potential Labor day, And the idea of ​​a fantasy spin set by women’s revenge on men’s tried-and-tested actions. (I must have seen a series of simple improvisations on this formula this summer: Gunpowder Milkshake, Bumps, be protected, Kate.) Labor day There is a complete compass that can be expanded and detailed. What brought women to this place? What are its geographic boundaries? Do the women travel backward or forward in time? What is the dialogue with comrades-in-arms around the world, and how do they formulate a strategy for a never-ending gender war? What is their long-term outcome? What will happen to the world without men?

So this is a disappointing time Labor day Rather than stick to a narrow, character-driven plot, instead of indulging in the world-building necessary to contextualize the fantasy. In an unnamed coastal city in the middle of a fuzzy century, Anna (Grace Van Patten) works as a waiter at the wedding venue. This job is demanding. She has only one friend, her colleague Dimitri (Theodore Pellerin). Moreover, she was harassed and abused by her superiors. At an extremely rare moment, Anna walked into the walk-in freezer in the kitchen, and her boss followed behind and forced her into the corner. Since cinematographer Sam Levy kept the audience’s perspective outside the room, the scene was full of uncertainty, and when the man opened and closed the door, hearing Ana’s pleading “No!” only made the situation worse.

But vicious men are the norm Labor dayThe chef at the venue sneered and told her, “The last girl did not succeed.” The bride (Mia Goth) arrived in tears at the wedding where Ana worked, thanks to her jerky, yelling groom. The bathroom attendant Joan (Juliet Lewis) didn’t care about the reaction of all these traumas, which in itself was a clear sign: “It feels like a nightmare. This is normal,” she told Anna and the bride. Living under the thumb of a violent man seemed to be an inevitable trap-until Anna was suddenly teleported. With complementary blue and orange tones, flashing lights, and the journey through the oven and the ocean evoked by Sylvia Plath, Cinorre has produced a fantastic sequence reminiscent of Alice’s fall in wonderland.

Photo: Magnolia Picture

When Anna surfaced, she was on the front line of endless wars, each battle led by the charming and passionate Martha (again, a Goth). With a cheerful smile and unwavering moral certainty, Martha introduces Anna to young women Bea (Havana Rose Liu) and Gert (French musician and actress Soko), both of whom live in an abandoned U-boat. In the boat-and all the people unite to seduce and kill men. They use distress signals to attract pilots and sailors, and then either take them into the storm and sink their ship, or wait for them to land on the beach and then shoot. Anna doesn’t remember her past life, and she’s not sure if she is dreaming or the next life, but her new friend comforts her: “It’s better for a girl to die, because now we are free.”

However, what women are free to do will soon become repetitive (seduce, shoot, repeat), and Labor day It has little effect on distinguishing these sequences.On the one hand, this limited attention makes Van Patten and Goth’s performances the focus, and Goth is particularly fascinating: she is always good at conveying painful pain and moral gloom, from Cure health arrive suspicious arrive High lifeMartha started a vibrant and subversive life in Goth’s hands, especially when she lazily lit a cigarette, issued a distress signal, and when the man she was talking to asked her how many souls were on the ship, she joked, “We don’t have “In the scene of the ship, after she sent him the wrong coordinates, she heard that his ship was destroyed, and then casually asked Anna, “Do you like the radio?” That kind of bold and arbitrary bluff is full of vitality. Labor dayAnd playing the role of cult leader should be realized in the future of Goth.

On the other hand, Sinore Limit the audience’s understanding of these characters by ignoring the conditions that brought them here, and by the friction that ultimately causes them to diverge.Other elements also feel inappropriate (imitating scenes from 1950s-style musicals; recurring bird themes), and Labor day By shifting the focus from the struggle between women and men to the struggle between women, any attempt to understand is thwarted. The latter method, and how it leads to a false “Go, girl!” Like “You fight like a girl!” is not as disruptive as Cinorre imagined. Despite this, Goth is still a scene stealer, and some of Levy’s visual effects are unforgettable with its otherworldly quality. Cinorre’s initial provocative vision of revenge at least made Labor day It’s worth seeing.

Labor day It will be shown in limited theaters and open on VOD on October 1, 2021.