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The world of visual art.

Images are our dreams, our reality and sometimes complex and inexplicable combinations of both. A single glance or a snapped photo can provide a vast amount of detail and emotion. It's the artist perspective that creates a vision that we can truly experience and feel totally apart of.

Visual art is not just cinema and photography. It is art created by hand, sculpture, drawing and painting. Installations and street art. It is the world that surrounds us and the fantastic unreality that exist only in our minds. Immerse yourself in visual art and find what you are looking for.


Mad Max: Feminist Road - Patriarchy vs. matriarchy in the latest Mad Max movie

It is as if this patriarchal society is unable to learn from its mistakes and the attempts to create a new civilisation end up on yet another destructive path towards a new apocalypse.

In George Miller’s long-awaited return to the Mad Max films, Mad Max: Fury Road, reluctant post-apocalyptic hero Max Rockatansky once again ends up fighting for his and others’ lives in the future desert world created by war, pollution and a shortage of resources. Spectacular car crashes with spectacular vehicles and explosions are in abundance and it would be easy to dismiss the film as yet another simple summer action film, but there is more to it as Miller’s story includes feminist ideas of a patriarchal society’s oppression of women and how women might only be allowed to grow to their full potential in a matriarchal one.

The post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max: Fury Road, is a patriarchal one and a world which has not learned anything from what caused the apocalypse in the first place. It is as if this patriarchal society is unable to learn from its mistakes and the attempts to create a new civilisation end up on yet another destructive path towards a new apocalypse. The worst aspects of our patriarchal world are very much present in the chaotic mix of ideology self-appointed leader Immortan Joe uses to control the people and justify his actions from his citadel high up above the poor masses below. There is segregating capitalism where the ones who have nothing are asked not to waste and the ones who have access to the resources live in wasteful abundance. There is religious extremism and young boys are bred to die for Immortan Joe hoping to “McFeast” in Valhalla. And in the middle of this mess, we find the women, as passive and as submissive as might be expected in this type of society.

Women are used as cattle strapped to milking machines providing Joe with mother’s milk to be traded and sold to the neighbouring societies, maintaining and furthering his wealth at the women’s expense and he has his own harem of women locked up in a room for him to have sex with and impregnate as he sees fit. Most of the other women seem to serve little purpose except for one of Joe’s best warriors and the driver of the massive truck, the War Rig; the Imperator Furiosa.

Furiosa’s appearance differs from that of the other women seen close to Immortan Joe. She instead shares characteristics with the other male warriors with her shaved head and greasy oil make-up. Even her name is different from the other female characters. While Joe’s wives are named Splendid Angharad, Toast the Knowing (what she would know is never mentioned), Cheedo the Fragile, The Dag (a socially conservative person) and Capable (capabilities unknown), Furiosa’s name holds the very title of the movie and it invokes the saying Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She would be the perfect argument to contest the idea that patriarchal societies turn women into passive obedient slaves. However, Furiosa is not a native to Joe’s society.

As a child, Furiosa was kidnapped from her birthplace The Green Place of the Many Mothers, clearly referencing a matriarchal society, indicating that she was old enough to remember growing up there and also implying that she had learned to be the strong woman she grew up to be there and not in Immortan Joe’s citadel.

Given the mission by Joe to trade mother’s milk for gasoline from neighbouring patriarchy Gas Town, Furiosa instead frees Joe’s wives with promises of a life in The Green Place, where they will be in control of their own lives and bodies, and sets off in the War Rig to find her old world and the women who made her who she is. This treason against Joe and his property, wives included, must of course be stopped and he sets out after her with his entire all-male army.

The wives at first come across as exactly what can be expected of them. They are passive, somewhat fragile, dressed in clean white, almost angelic, clothes showing that they have clearly not been allowed to leave their room and come in contact with the sandy outside world which dirties everyone else’s clothes. To further show the submissive and male-controlled nature of their lives they have also been fitted with chastity belts, which are being cut off in one of their first scenes, casting off the ultimate symbol of a patriarchal society in complete control over their bodies. As the movie progresses the five wives become more empowered in the presence of Furiosa and the dangers they face. As they come in contact with the last remaining people of Furiosa’s native society they see with their own eyes what women can be like if they are not brought up to be secondary characters in world created by men, for men.

The female Vuvalini of the Many Mothers – the word vulva being quite apparent in the name – consists of a small group of older women and one younger, the same age as Furiosa. They ride motorbikes in the desert, suspicious of anything male and even going so far as to admit to killing men simply to be on the safe side. Being brought up in a matriarchal society, the Vuvalini have never been told what women can and cannot do in the way they are told in a patriarchal society. They are very much capable of fending for themselves and show no signs of weakness when fighting Immortan Joe’s male soldiers in a spectacular battle between patriarchy and matriarchy. Instead, they hold up just as well or even better than the men who behave irrationally due to them being driven by their wish to die for their leader and are kept uneducated to serve their purpose.

What Mad Max: Fury Road ends up being is not only an entertaining summer blockbuster reusing the old tired gender stereotypes and formulaic storytelling. Instead, beyond the spectacular crashes and explosions, there is the idea that our patriarchal world is very much capable of causing an apocalypse and if the post-apocalyptic world is also a patriarchal one, it is doomed to repeat the same mistakes again. In that world, women will be secondary citizens with fewer rights and possibilities, which that world will claim to be simply unavoidable due to the nature of women, a nature consciously or subconsciously created by men who want to justify the advantages given, or taken by, them. Were women in fact, given the same possibilities and expectations as men, they would develop equal abilities. But for that to happen, it seems matriarchy is a woman’s only chance.

Written by Mattias Danielsson, 2015-06-01


The Monstrosity of Female Sexuality

The sexual characteristics of the female monster in horror movies

Please note that when referring to whore in this essay, a female gender stereotype is meant which is portrayed as sexual and at times evil – such as for example the Biblical Whore of Babylon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whore_of_Babylon) – and is the counterpart of the madonna in the madonna-whore complex. It is not used with the intention of being offensive.

Within literature and arts, and society in general, women tend to be placed in to one of two categories. They are either angelic, virginal and basically good characters wanting to care for others or they are sexual beings, at one with nature, almost beast-like in their characteristics. Compare for example the stereotypical mother to the stereotypical girlfriend. They are two almost completely different characters and the idea of the two of them merging into one is often met with disgust for example in comedies, especially if there is even the slightest hint of a mother’s sexuality.

This paradox is known as the madonna-whore complex and is often referred to in gender-based – or feminist – analysis of literature, movies and art in general. So what about horror movies? An earlier text on the subject brought up the madonna-like features of the final girl and the more whore-like tendencies of the women set to be victims in slasher movies. It does not however stop there. The female monster is also highly sexualized and most of the time more so than her male counterparts.

First and foremost it should be mentioned that female monsters tend to appear less often than male ones, which in itself could be a result of seeing women as less capable of committing the atrocious acts needed for a horror film, but of course it could also simply be a result of real-life crimes more often being committed by men. But when female monsters do show up, they tend to be highly sexual creatures, almost as if being monsters have moved them further away from anything resembling the madonna and since they are closer to the whore, the sexuality of the whore seems to be a natural addition to what it is that makes up the monster.

Even though the female monster is not as prevalent in horror as the male one, there have been enough horror movies made to see different aspects of female sexuality portrayed. For example the need to reproduce is the driving force in the 90s sci-fi horror Species where the hybrid of a young woman and an alien escapes a scientific facility to find a suitable male. It could be argued that the movie combines the angelic characteristics of motherhood with the monster’s sexuality, but motherhood here is closer to that of the animal kingdom. Similar to an animal, she feels an uncontrollable urge to reproduce in a manner closer to the idea of it being mating season rather than wanting a child to care for.

The transition from childhood to womanhood as seen in Species, is the main focus of quite a few female monsters and it is this change from an asexual child to a sexual woman which brings out the monster inside. In teenage werewolf movie Ginger Snaps, the titular Ginger is attacked by a werewolf and her asexual self is slowly transformed and with it comes a newfound sexuality making her a predator in more than one way. Her unbitten sister remains asexual and is the one who has to try and save her, but once the transition from asexual girl to sexual woman or beast has begun, there is no stopping it.

Even parts of a woman’s body can become the monster. For males, it is not rare that if this happens it is often a hand that is affected, as in Evil Dead II and Idle Hands, but in Teeth, it is a young woman’s vagina that is the monster as she in becoming a woman discovers that it has sharp teeth, a myth so common that it has its own name; vagina dentata. Having taken a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage, but becoming the subject of sexual violence, her vagina becomes her protection against the young man trying to rape her. So at first, she is acting in self defence, but as she is subjected to more sexual violence she eventually embraces the idea of having a vagina with teeth and uses it to punish sexually violent men.

Since blood tends to be an important part of horror movies, a woman’s period can also be the source of the monstrosity, as in the short film that is the fake trailer for the movie Alien Tampon where a woman is transformed into a monster by using a tampon which has accidentally been in a puddle of alien slime. Menstruation as a symbol of the transition from innocent child to sexual monster can also be seen in Ginger Snaps and the low-budget horror film PMS Cop (or Monster Cop), which uses the stereotype of female anger caused by PMS. The title can be compared to the film it might very well be inspired by, Maniac Cop, where the murderous male police officer is not driven by anything associated with his sexuality.

There is however one male monster that is seen as sexual; the vampire. Especially the character of Dracula is a seducer of women, using his sexuality to lure unsuspecting women into his arms where they are subsequently drained of blood completely or themselves turned into vampires. However, though quite the sexual monster, Dracula is no match for the female vampires who seem to be completely unable to control their sexual desires as they squirm and moan near their master or their victims. The female vampires in the German film We are the Night are clearly sexual beings, but that film also at times show the vampires longing back to their more madonna-like origins, such as looking longingly at a pair of baby shoes. Unfortunately, there is no turning back once you have strayed from the path of the nursing, virginal woman.

And so it goes on in one horror film after the other. In The Exorcist, the possessed, and changed, girl Regan shouts sexual profanities and stabs her vagina with a crucifix. In Zombie Strippers, having already discarded the idea of being the madonna, the strippers fully embrace the idea of turning into zombies, especially since it also appears to enhance their stripper abilities. In Jennifer’s Body, Jennifer is already the beautiful popular girl and when she becomes the monster, she uses that sexuality to lure in boys and kill them. In Splice, Dren, a genetically modified girl, grows up in the care of the scientists who created her and it is of course impossible to leave out Dren discovering her sexuality which even serves as a plot twist in the movie.

Monsters in horror films are more often male than female (as for ghosts and evil humans, that is a topic for a different essay), but when they do make their way into a film, sexuality tends to be a common characteristic. This follows the idea that since the monster is the woman removed from the possibility of becoming the madonna, she therefore becomes the whore – no other option seems available – with all the features that comes along with it; such as violence and uncontrollable sexuality. There are however horror filmmakers interested in more complex female characters, whether they are monsters or not. Lucky McKee’s The Woman, among other films by him, shows a savage, almost monstrous, woman being captured by a “civilised” family and subjected to sexual abuse from the men in the family, whereas she herself seem almost asexual. Rape-revenge horror Savaged (or Avenged) by Michael S. Ojeda is about a woman becoming possessed by a vengeful spirit after having been left to die in the desert. The female body becomes a vessel for the spirit’s revenge on the men, but the possibility for using female sexuality as part of the story is left out. Perhaps this can be seen as a new direction for female monsters, that there is a middle road to take instead of simply reusing the old and somewhat tiresome stereotypes that are contained within the madonna-whore complex.

Written by Mattias Danielsson, 2015-04-23


Another leftist analysis of The Purge (This time, the first one.)

Even though changed, the wealthy middle-class family has not become empathetic enough to offer the man a place to stay. That ending would have been too unrealistic.

This analysis contains spoilers.

Sometimes watching films in the wrong order might not be such a bad idea. A while back I wrote a leftist analysis of the film The Purge: Anarchy, the quite highly acclaimed sequel to the less acclaimed first film, The Purge. As with the sequel, the first film lends itself well to a leftist analysis.

After having watched the second film and seen it from a leftist point of view, the first film, at least to this writer, is not at all deserving of the bad reviews it received. It tells the same story as the second film, but in a more intimate setting which presumably might be more difficult to deal with for some viewers as it might strike a bit too close to home, especially to those with a middle-class upbringing.

Just as in the second film, The Purge takes place in the not-too-distant future US. Unemployment and crime is at an all-time low and this is credited to the new founding fathers’ introduction of The Purge, a night when all crime, including murder, is legal in hopes that people will cleanse themselves of their destructive violent thoughts and for the rest of the year live life in a happy productive manner.

Understandably, companies within the security industry are making huge profits securing the homes of those wealthy enough to be able to afford it. Turning their houses in to almost impenetrable forts, they can be certain they will most likely make it through the night unharmed if the violence was to end up in their neighbourhood, which also is not as likely as it tends to surface within the poorer communities.

The Purge being more a way to deal with unemployment and poverty among the poor is one of the major criticisms of it brought up in the film, but not to the same extent as in the sequel, since in the first film we are firmly situated in upper middle-class suburban America throughout the film. The main character is a well-to-do employee at a security firm who has made plenty of money last year equipping most of the houses in the neighbourhood with state-of-the-art safety systems. As the film begins, he arrives home to his family while they prepare for the annual lock-down.

Being a firm believer in The Purge, the father is at times questioned by his son who seem to cling to the belief that there is more to living an ethical life than simply obeying the law. Young, quiet and somewhat reclusive the son has not yet become able to express himself, but clearly he has trouble seeing the good in the crimes committed.

It is this belief in something more ethical than upholding a law that works as the catalyst in this movie. During the beginning of the night a wounded, black, homeless man stumbles into the neighbourhood crying for help and claiming that he is being chased by people out to kill him. Terrified of any outsiders, no one on the street lets the man in to their highly secured homes apart from the son, who cannot stand hearing the screams and watching the frightened man. He disengages the security system and lets the man in, leading to a fight and the subsequent disappearance of the stranger inside the house. The middle-class dream of a large house with several floors and rooms turns into fear as a possibly dangerous stranger is given multiple places to hide.

Soon though, it becomes clear that the homeless wounded black man is not the real threat to the family’s upper middle-class existence as the group chasing him appear at the house to claim what they see as rightfully theirs. The persecutors are a group of upper middle-class youths out cleansing themselves and their beloved America of the filth and degeneration of society they see the poor and lower classes as.

Donning well-groomed haircuts, expensive clothes and sewn-on patches showing the names of the expensive private schools they attend, there can be no doubt that they symbolise the well-to-do rightwing law-abiding America who are only doing what their country is permitting them to do. However, the wealthy classes lack of empathy and willingness to prey upon each other to gain success is quickly demonstrated when the leader of the group, without hesitating, shoots a fellow purger in the head for not living up the class standards regarding use of language. The other members see this as no threat to their lives, but instead continue supporting their leader, most likely not seeing how they could be in any danger even though the leader’s outbursts of violence at times do appear quite random. As long as you conform to the norm of your society you should have nothing to fear, even though an event has just taken place that clearly demonstrates otherwise.

The group of youths of course manage to enter the house and a violent cat-and-mouse game ensues where the family is at times helped by the wounded homeless man. Eventually the family is rounded up by the group and as all hope seems lost some neighbours storm the house killing all the young people who are left. But as it turns out, this is not an act of neighbourly assistance, but more one fuelled by jealousy as the neighbours have been planning all night to kill the main family and are not ready to have someone else take that opportunity of cleansing themselves away from them.

The reason for their jealousy is the way the family has prospered selling security systems to everyone in the area. While the other families have had some of their wealth taken away from them it has ended up in the pockets of our main character. Greed and jealousy are clearly shown as relative feelings. Even if you are still wealthy, the idea of someone becoming wealthier than you is a threat to your perceived or actual position in a capitalist society. Luckily though, you have The Purge to give you an opportunity to cleanse yourself of those feelings while still being ”a good American” obeying the law.

And this fixation with law and order among the rightwing is clearly being criticised in The Purge as they build their idea of ethics and morale on a notion that as long as you follow the law, you are never doing anything wrong, even if the law is saying that it is acceptable to commit murder once a year. In real life this can be seen time and again as wealthy companies work within legal boundaries in order to keep as much tax money as possible away from being used for the common good and instead ending up in a few wealthy people’s pockets. These actions, both within the movie and in real life suggest that rightwing ideals and morals are to a certain extent nonexistent and are dependent on what the law says. If the law says that is okay to commit murder during one night every year, it is not wrong to do so. If the law says that avoiding paying taxes is okay if done in a certain way, it is not wrong to do so. The problem with having laws as your main guideline for how to be a good person lies of course with the fact that laws are often created and changed by the wealthy and powerful to benefit them. They create the morals and ethics they wish to have and look on in horror and disgust as people break the law, while they are able to act immorally without risking imprisonment.

As The Purge finally ends at dawn, the main family seems somewhat changed since they now have firsthand experience of the brutal reality that takes place during the night and how their wealthy neighbours’ friendly appearance was nothing but a facade poorly hiding a selfish, greedy capitalist personality, only interested in how well they are doing for themselves based on what they earn and what they own.

The homeless man has survived and in helping the family has also provided them with yet another perspective on life. In their well-protected homogenous community, the only one they could trust was the very stereotype of violence and crime in America; a young, poor, black man. As he limps away from the neighbourhood, the wife of the family asks if he will be okay. He nods and then he is off, back to a life of poverty and homelessness. Even though changed, the wealthy middle-class family has not become empathetic enough to offer the man a place to stay. That ending would have been too unrealistic.

Written by Mattias Danielsson, 2015-02-16


Fascism and the Other in The Boxtrolls

The rise of fascism follows the same basic pattern throughout history. It begins with generalised rumours which spread slowly, almost unnoticeably, through society until enough people believe in them. Then more severe rumours are spread and so it continues until an almost complete dehumanisation of the other is complete.

This analysis contains spoilers.

From the creators of the somewhat dark and twisted puppetry-animated children’s movies Coraline and ParaNorman comes their latest animated feature The Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are troll-like creatures donning cardboard boxes living in the sewer system of Cheesebridge, a town where those in charge seem to spend most of their time discussing and tasting cheese. During the evenings and nights the Boxtrolls emerge from the sewers to gather whatever garbage they come across to bring home with them to use in various creative ways to improve their lives. Also out at that time is a sinister-looking character by the name of Archibald Snatcher and his goons, busy trying to catch all the Boxtrolls of Cheesebridge. Snatcher has his eyes set on a white hat, the symbol of the highest order in the town; the cheese-eating men in charge.

Years ago, Snatcher convinced Lord Portley-Rind, the most prominent white hat, that not only were the Boxtrolls likely to be targeting the town’s cheese supply but they had also stolen a baby. In exchange for capturing all the Boxtrolls, Portley-Rind promises Snatcher a white hat, which would grant him power and all the cheese he can eat. That he is highly allergic to cheese, bothers him not. The symbolism in being able to taste the cheese is far too tempting.

As the movie progresses, the Boxtrolls turn out to be the friendly ones having looked after and raised the “kidnapped” baby boy as their own since he was brought down to their world. Actually, he was not kidnapped but instead rescued from the anything-but-good Snatcher after a fight with the boy’s father, an inventor who befriended the creative Boxtrolls. Willing to do anything to gain power, Snatcher continues to spread evil rumours and his work follows in the footsteps of real-world fascists throughout history, hopefully helping our children to recognise emerging fascism in our own societies. He even goes as far as disguising himself as a beautiful female artist, who also becomes tremendously popular in Cheesebridge and under that more polished persona he is able to further spread myths of hideous Boxtrolls.

The baby-stealing myth is a very effective one, since it speaks to the humanity in almost all of us when the most innocent are targeted. The people responsible must be truly evil to commit such an atrocious act and the myth has been used to falsely portray the wickedness of among others the Romani people, whom have long been an easy target for various fascist movements until present time. Even though the baby-stealing myth might not be used that often nowadays, people with fascist agendas keep making up new myths to demonise and dehumanise the Romani. In countries where there are Romani beggars, they are said to be wealthy or working for wealthy people. The Romani who are doing well are instead accused of stealing, accusations made in order to maintain the idea of a people not like us and not as good. What this negative stereotyping leads to we know very well from history, but it can also be seen in the abuse the beggars are subjected to every day as they are spat on, beaten and have their camps vandalised and set on fire.

In the film, Snatcher continues to point out the evil doings of the Boxtrolls and gradually more people begin to agree with him. It takes years, but fascism is not established quickly. Like a disease it grabs hold of a few who begin spreading it throughout society, testing the waters for what is accepted until they can carry out acts of injustice and violence with either the direct or indirect support of a large part of society. And just as in our real societies it is done with both a more upfront, ugly and violent faction but also with factions that come across as well-dressed, well-spoken and embracing the democratic idea, but they in fact are heads of the same beast. In The Boxtrolls, the duality of fascism is clearly shown in Snatcher’s two sides; the hideous fascist prone to violence that is the real Snatcher and the beautiful female he dresses up as.

The access to the white hat comes with the termination, the genocide, of all the captured Boxtrolls and as it is supposedly completed, the fascist Snatcher – with the support of the townspeople – finally reaches his goal. Even though he is transporting himself in a huge steampunk-like monstrosity which bellows out smoke and seems to destroy the town with every step it takes, people still see him as their saviour, until his true self is revealed as the Boxtrolls appear unharmed in another vehicle and his willingness to murder all the friendly creatures is finally exposed. During the final battle, he falls into a large wheel of brie cheese only to emerge hideously disfigured due to his allergy, his outside appearance showing him as the monster he truly would be with all that power and all that cheese.

The rise of fascism follows the same basic pattern throughout history. It begins with generalised rumours which spread slowly, almost unnoticeably, through society until enough people believe in them. Then more severe rumours are spread and so it continues until an almost complete dehumanisation of the other is complete. On the way, the waters are tested in small-scale violent attacks until enough of society is either openly supportive of the violence or indifferent to the fate of the other. What follows is government-sanctioned persecution and murder and as the fascist monster reveals itself in all its ugliness, we are by then too blind to see what comes out of the brie. The Boxtrolls provides an opportunity for parents and children alike to learn about the emergence of fascism, hopefully before it is too late.

Written by Mattias Danielsson, 2015-02-12


The Unknown Guest as Catalyst

Family. A group of people who are supposed to be the closest to us and also a group of people we cannot choose.

The importance of an outside character to set a family drama into motion in Adam Wingard’s The Guest and Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q.

Family. A group of people who are supposed to be the closest to us and also a group of people we cannot choose. That very premise alone is enough to inspire plenty of stories due to its complex nature where family members are more difficult to avoid having a relationship to than other people. Someone who is not family we can simply decide not to be friends with – though that at times can prove difficult as well – but a family member is someone we already have some sort of relationship with and that is harder to get out of. There are several stories where the family itself is enough to both begin, set in motion and end a complete family drama. Then there are those families who seem to be stuck in limbo, incapable of moving forward. The family situation might contain several elements which make up a good story, but the members are too traumatized or have long given up any hope for change that nothing is moving forward. This is where an outside force is needed. An unknown or unexpected guest who enters the family and sets things in motion. In Adam Wingard’s The Guest and in Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q, this is precisely what is necessary.

The Guest
The Guest (2014) is the feature-length follow-up to director Adam Wingard’s You’re Next which might best be described as a survival horror film set in a house and its surroundings as a group of young people are attacked by people in animal masks. In his latest film however, he seems to have been given a higher budget which he spends on a more open environment. We are introduced to a family stuck trying to maintain an image of a functioning family, but since the oldest son died in Iraq, things are understandably not what they used to be.

Each member of the family has enough to deal with that a family-only storyline would have worked. The father seems to be stuck in the same position year after year at his work with a promotion close, but never within grasp. How he deals with the loss of his son is not explicitly told – and neither is it for any of the others in the family – but a drinking problem is hinted at. Being a stay-at-home mom, the mother tries to go about her day keeping her family together and at first she might actually appear to be the least interesting character. The younger son is still in high school and is the victim of quite severe bullying from the more popular sporty students and his older sister works as a waitress during the day and spends the evenings with her stoner friends. And this is their lives and there is no sign of it changing any time soon.

Enter the guest, a young good-looking man who claims to have been a friend of the dead son during his time in Iraq. The mother immediately takes him in and her reaction to meeting this, up until now, unknown person fills a void in her and the offering of her dead son’s room to this guest clearly suggests that she sees him as more than just a friend of her son’s. The other family members are at first a bit more suspicious, but it doesn’t take long before they are all on board and the story can be set in motion, thanks to this catalyst that is the guest. Bullies are dealt with, job opportunities open up and things just might be heading in the right direction for the family. At least at first.

Visitor Q
Similar to The Guest, Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q (2001), also introduces us to a family stuck in limbo, although there is no doubt of this family’s problems. Miike is not a director known for subtlety, and while The Guest hints at problems and dysfunction, the family in Visitor Q would provide a team of family therapists work material for decades to come. The father is a failed television reporter trying to achieve some success by documenting the bullying of his son without him knowing it. The son meanwhile takes out his frustration caused by the bullying on his mother in violent bursts of outrage. Being a Miike film, the problems do not end there as the mother is a heroin addict and a prostitute and the daughter in the family is a prostitute as well. The situation is so severe that no one knows where to even begin trying to save this family. The father comes across as impotent in both a figurative and literal sense being unable to control neither his life nor his family. And the film would simply stop right there with no change or twist taking place. An outside catalyst is desperately needed.

This is where Q appears in the film. He introduces himself to the audience and the father by smacking dad on the head with a brick. Invited home to the family by the father after the incident, Q sets the story in motion and what unfolds before our eyes is one of the darkest, most twisted, but somehow lighthearted, comedies/family dramas ever made.

Finally, even though there are several films that could be used for this particular type of story, The Guest and Visitor Q provide two examples of films where the problems of the family are interesting enough to provide at least the backbone of a story, but all the family members are too deeply involved emotionally with themselves to bring about any change whatsoever. An outsider is needed. A guest is needed.

Written by Mattias Danielsson, 2015-01-19