A Beautiful Rape Scene in Moonwalkers (1400 words)
Moonwalkers is not a comedy. If you thought it was, good for you but it’s not. It’s a false comedy and a real, bitter, condescending and relevant depiction of the world of the end of the sixties. (edit: which is called a Satire and is often classified as comedy)
Now, in the middle of the acid criticisms, there is one thing that got me truly... happily shocked. I don’t know how to describe this feeling when you watch a movie and you realise that the creators had the balls to put something unexpectedly subversive, disquieting and intelligent in it but which is quite probably going to cost it some popularity. (edit: Like the idea that Americans never walked on the moon ?)
When Kidman (Ron Perlman) has sex with the hippie, we’ve already known from the minute they met that it was going to happen. The way she looks at him makes it obvious that she is attracted to him, and the sex/drugs/anything goes environment makes the event unavoidable.
In the movie, Ron Perlman’s character represents will. If you think about it one second, it’s obvious. He is the unstoppable tool who gets you anything done. Ella starts fancying him when he tells “fuck you” to the “leader” of the hippies and director of the movie.
Maybe you thought that guy was funny ? Imagine having to take him seriously because he's the one who's in charge.
She is attracted to his resolution and his firmness. Why ? Because he is a man who knows what he wants and therefore has the power to make her feel desired contrary to the flock of zombies that surrounds her and spend their time having sex out of despair and boredom.
In the following scene, Kidman is checking on the screenplay for the movie of the moon landing that they have to make if he and Jonny want to stay alive. Ella sits in front of him and start sucking on an ice-cream obviously trying to arouse him.
I wish I lived in a world in which it was obvious that in the context of the movie this behaviour is ridiculous, insulting, cowardly and synonym of telling the guy "come on doggy." This is harmful immaturity thinking itself emancipated, mature and irresistible.
Kidman is obviously bothered and unsettled by this attitude though probably turned on.
At that moment of the movie, he is in deep trouble and Ella could very easily realise it if she cared. But she doesn’t. All that she wants is to have sex with this guy whatever the consequences are for him.
In the third scene between them, Kidman is having props unloaded from a truck. In the background, Ella is smoking a cigarette, observing him. At this point if the roles were switched, we’d be in red alert.
It's not creepy you know, because women preying on men for sex are as threatening as an ice-cream doing its best to be eaten. (in case it's not obvious =>sarcasm)
In the following scene, Kidman suffers from a strong headache because he’s smoked some marijuana I believe (or opium, I’m not sure), he looks for some drugs in the kitchen and who’s coincidentally there ? Mrs. Sex offender 1969. She gives him a pill implying it will ease the pain. He takes it and then the f*** b*** innocently tells him that it’s acid. Now, if you think she didn’t do it on purpose, you might be a naïve (hypocritical) feminist but her character development screams “guilty.” As soon as he realises he’s swallowed a pill of narcotic, Kidman tries to vomit in case we might think he was okay with taking acid.
The drug takes effect and the man’s acid trip is a delicious false psychedelic yellow-submarine moment true nightmarish imagery. The same way the film pretends to be a comedy when it’s not.
His vision is subjected to a lot of strange effects => colored filters, kaleidoscope, blur etc… Kidman is dumb with fascination. He sees astronauts with eyeballs instead of heads, a giant spider and walking dead people (he gives a hug to one of them, and I believe this is something important). In case it’s not obvious, there’s an abyss between this trip and flowers and rainbows. And there's Ella too, so he certainly was attracted to her.
Eventually, she comes to him and kiss him and they wake up in a bed. When I saw that, my eyes went round and I exclaimed “Sorry what !?!” I laughed and thought “let’s see what the movie does with this.”
For one second, it seems positive. Kidman tells Leon that for the first time, he doesn’t want to kill him although he could break his neck like a twig. And his hands are not shaking anymore. Yeaaah ! Hippies ! Drug ! Sex ! They solve everythiiiiing ! (To me it's the hug which allowed Kidman to express his compassion and regrets that makes him feel better.)
But when Jonny enters the room and is shocked at their being high when their lives are at stakes, Kidman answers, “We’re already dead. It’s over.” It's the first time in the film that we witness Kidman giving up, and we’ve seen him do crazy stuff before. Ella managed to kill his will. If you are not convinced, ask yourself why she is associated with a giant tarantula in Kidman’s acid trip. (Tarantulas cannibalize their males after mating, I checked !).
So, what makes me very satisfied with this scene is that it is a rape but it does not point at it very strongly. In Super, the main character is raped by his younger sidekick but there's no doubt about it (It’s still a very important scene though because he gets her killed afterwards because of that). Here, there is the vicious and delightful fact that it might not be spotted because of the wonderful general misandry, and "internalized misandry" of our times. Yep, the man is manly and therefore, if a woman wants to have sex with him, there’s no way he can say no. And if she drugs him and they have sex, well, that’s because he wanted to, you know... the fact that in the situation he's in it’s going to cost him his life is not important. Men are ready to die just to fuck young and beautiful women, otherwise they’re certainly repressed homosexuals (Sarcasm).
I love that Kidman doesn't say anything. Like "you raped me you fucking bitch !" Well, ok, it could point at my being totally wrong. Ok. But to me, it points at the absolute incapacity of this man to acknowledge that she's taken advantage of him, because of his manly manly gender role. And I find that fascinating that women who are by definition the victims of rapes are in reality in the privileged position of being able to say "I was raped" while this guy cannot even admit it to himself but suffers the psychological consequences just the same. He is done for, vainquished, he gives up. She destroyed him.
Also, Ella is exactly in the position of a sex offender here. She is attracted to a guy. She tries something and is rejected. Because she cannot cope with being rejected she finds a way not to need the consent of her partner to have sex with him. And she does so without breaking her gender role which is very important, she sticks to a womanly attitude and approach. "I'm passive, I'm not asking for anything, I'm only trying to help, I'm innocent. But in the end, I wanted to fuck you against your will and I did." It's important to show that gender roles are just roles, and that there is something behind these masks and that it's not because women are wearing the mask of innocence that they necessarily are.
I’m getting tired of a contemporary hypocritical pseudo-feminist discourse which puts women in the position of eternal victims of patriarchal society (As if patriarchal society didn’t victimize men because, you know, it’s patriarchal.) and men as eternal oppressors when this discourse cannot change anything as it is the most complacently conformist discourse you can have. Women are innocent, passive, loving and victimized, men are brutal, insensitive, selfish and oppressing. If you want this to evolve, you have to acknowledge that women can be the oppressors and men the victims, not blame men for being the oppressors and ask the whole world to pity women (even though they are strong, beautiful, dangerous and smart and skilled you know, but still harmless innocent victims).
And that’s why this plot is truly great from the gender role point of view. Because these two opposite stereotypes end up sharing a similar nature under their gender roles.
That’s it for the rape in Moonwalkers. I hope you were shocked, amused and captivated by this interpretation.
And if the movie made you wonder whether Americans went to the moon forty years ago, ruled the world partly thanks to this symbol, made us grow up with a starwarzy arrogant perception of unstoppable mankind (which made us not worry about depleting resources of energy for example) but never went again because you know, it wasn’t interesting, you might wanna check the “Van Allen Radiation Belt.”
Edit: And also, Diamonds are Forever (1971), The Astrosmurf (1970), Mr. Monk and the Astronaut (2006).