16.10.09

Marquez's Whores and a Porn Star

A 90-year-old bachelor decides to give himself the gift of a night with an adolescent virgin. This happens in life and it takes place in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's latest novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores. Anti-prostitution groups are objecting to a movie being made on this work. They believe it will promote child prostitution.

Literature, cinema, art have always been questioned along these lines. It is assumed that fewer readers get influenced than viewers. The possibility of the visual being more straightforward and tangible does have definite and definitive appeal. I wonder why no one is concerned about 90-year-old men, then.

If it is assumed that young girls will watch a film and think of joining the profession, then won’t this spur on elderly men? It has in fact happened when a German offered to pay a huge sum and wanted to die in the act. He wanted to reach a climax the right way. We have had Lolitas and Geishas in various forms.

The protestors ought to divert their attention to the large number of children who are already plying the trade. The virgin is a big draw, and in India it has got religious sanction in the form of the devadasi cult where a girl in some families was offered to a deity, but is exploited by the priests and the feudal lords of the area. That many of them later find themselves in the red light areas is evidence enough that the racket is flourishing.

Cinema does have responsibility, but not merely to protect people from the truth. And young children are very much desired. I have not read the book, but at a psychological level I can imagine how men might find them non-threatening – a harking back to their callow youth.
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In another report, there was this precious headline: ‘Porn star barred from fully-clothed role’

It is ridiculous. Maria Ozawa, of mixed Japanese and Canadian parentage, has been described as one of Asia’s most successful pornographic film actresses. A report states that she “does not look like an obvious candidate for the blacklist…she is not a terrorist, journalist, or a convicted criminal. But Ozawa has been forced to cancel her arrival in Jakarta on Thursday in a row that has drawn in Islamic fundamentalists, feminists and others”.

Can someone please elaborate? Who are these others? Why would feminists have a problem with her being a journalist or a convicted criminal? Indonesia, like several countries, does have a problem with pornography even though it might be hugely popular in private. No wonder the account is breathless:

Although little known in the West, she has surpassed even acting legends such as Pamela Anderson as the most searched for celebrity on Indonesia’s internet version of Google.


Since when did Pamela Anderson become an acting legend?

As happens often, the crux is to hit out at “conservative Islamic organisations in the latest round in an ongoing debate about sexual morality”.

The supposedly fully-clothed role was to be a comedy “about a group of teenagers obsessed with Ozawa’s work who ‘accidentally kidnap’ her as she is attempting to escape from a mob of fans. The screenplay ends happily with the adult star settling down in Jakarta, where she opens a lingerie shop”.

Why would they be obsessed with her work? Why does she settle down? Is Jakarta the only place where she can open a lingerie store? And why only lingerie? Why not nuts and bolts?

The Indonesian Ulema Council has put its foot down: “If someday we approve the film, many teenagers will see it, then after that they will idolise her and we are worried that they will eventually seek out her porn films.”

You know what? They are technically more right than those anti-Marquez film protesters. For, this is not based on a classic; it has populist appeal and shows teenagers in awe of her body of work, so to speak. They are bound to find out what lies beneath those clothes, if they already don’t know.

If the filmmakers are so keen on the subject, they could cast someone else in the role, could they not?

In both instances, however, we are dealing with situations where women are the objects of desire. It would be foolish to assume a self-righteous posture and say that they may not enjoy it. The difference lies in the details. Ozawa has made the choice; a child prostitute does not. The influence of the former is greater on the general psyche because she is not catering to individual but herd instincts.

It is herds that decide on social behaviour and values.

End note:

‘The Taliban in Orissa’…

I am surprised they did not use such a headline for the following report:

Residents of a village near Soro in Orissa’s Balasore district dragged a woman by her hair, tied her to a tree at a marketplace and then flogged her after accusing her of prostitution. The villagers even shot the barbaric act with a video camera.


I can imagine the reaction. Oh, but the men were caught. They were denied bail. The cops rescued the woman.

Will we see how the case is followed up? Will we?

9 comments:

  1. Dear FVji - many greetings to you

    Having read most of GGM works and seen the few (okay one) made into film, I am wondering even if it is at all possible to transform his written words into moving pictures. How does one project a multidimensional dream scape convoluted with warped time onto a two dimensional linear silver screen? I am thinking perhaps its not as straightforward - perhaps watering down of the written work ought to be more of a concern. The only ones who might go to watch a film based on Garbo's work are those who read him - but than it's like asking them to read the Reader's Digest abridged version - not that the good digest has any such plans in the foreseeable future. I don't know about you, but doesn't sound quite tempting to me. The best way to experience Marquez is to read him - and imagine ... unless of course the dream police comes knocking.

    My best regards to you
    moonbat

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  2. Good points. You are correct that most countries will not allow porn.Also do you think this Orissa video will be on YouTube??

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  3. fv
    There is a married nurse who sleeps with her patients and says that she is not whore, she is just treating her patients via sexual intimacy and they get cured. She says that God'll bless her for this act of kindness.

    Talibans were first American whores, and now are Russian and Al Qaida whores.
    circle

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  4. Moonbat:

    The transference of words to screen may or may not be two-dimensional...there have been films that have managed to convey even more nuances than the written word. However, I agree that Marquez is better read and the possibility of his work being mauled out of shape is there.

    The issue, here is different, though. It is about how such a film would influence behaviour. Just as not many would read Marquez, I don't think many would watch a film based on his work and go and act upon what appears to be only one aspect of the book.

    I personally have valid reasons for propping up the idea of the dream police, but that is another story...

    Regards to you too...

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  5. KB:

    No, I don;t think that video will be on You Tube and i don;t think it should and even if it is you won't see it here...

    Circle:

    Hmmm...just wondering. How are the Taliban whores? Who did they sleep with and, more importantly, who did they cure?!

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  6. Dear FVji

    Film is a two dimensional medium, that is what I was referring to - volumetric displays in three dimensions has not been accomplished as yet. I would be very much interested in your list of films that convey more than the written word - its hard to imagine something not being lost in the transition, let alone translation, which makes it into a double whammy.

    I have purposely not touched upon the issue, I find it ridiculous the notion that films can influence behavior if the propensity isn't already present.

    Does your dream police use blind folds as hand cufs?

    my best regards to you
    moonbat

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  7. Dear Moonbat:

    By two-dimensional I was referring to projection/characterisation and not technique. I understand words being lost on their journey to celluloid but movies are beyond words. I would love to give a list of such films but since I am typing from the phone and would wish to engage in a detailed endeavour we will leave it for later.

    Off hand I'd mention Satyajit Ray's older films that were based on Bengali literarary works. Given the respectful 'Ji' you address me with I do hope you have had access to what might be ancient for your young mind. I do know that knowledge is not age-driven, though. We must discuss this sometime.

    PS: Should not the dream police be using hand cuffs over the eyes rather than the other way round?

    Happy Sunday thinking!

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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