A Marine Story

A Marine Story (2010) by Ned Farr

Once a month (except for the summer months) L-Mag (the German magazine for lesbians, I think there really is only one, correct me if I am wrong), Edition Salzgeber (a German film company that produces gay and lesbian documentaries, and also publishes international films on the German market, if I understand it correctly, again correct me if I am wrong), and Cinemaxx (a company of movie houses in Germany, and elsewhere? I am not sure) presents the “L-Night” by showing a lesbian movie (or lesbian short films) that otherwise would not have been shown on the big screen in Germany in several German cities. I once again attended Friday night’s screening and they showed A Marine Story.

Chief editor of L-Mag, Manuela Kay, introduced the movie as “overly patriotic” and I guess that did not go down too well with the audience, it certainly did not with me. But the movie itself showed itself a little different, or maybe this is just my imagination but, I think the movie used patriotic images to drive its message home. The message is (or rather was since it has been received): stop “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Manuela Kay also cleverly asked how many of the women attended because of Dreya Weber’s abs and I among others raised my arm. I mean, how can you resists these:

Okay, this was not supposed to become a post about the night I watched A Marine Story but about A Marine Story. The story is simple enough:

Marine Alexandra Everett comes from a family of people who serves for the U.S. Marine Corps. The story starts with her coming home from (was it?) Iraq, she has been honorably discharged. She was accused of being gay and as far as I understood it the discharge was only honorable because her father was a big honcho (he’s now retired in Florida with all his buds) in the corps.

While at home now she is asked to train a young woman for the military because that girl faces prison if she does not enlist. Alex gives this girl, Saffron, new purpose in life. But Alex’ private life (her closeted lesbanism) catches up with her even in smalltown, California and word (and pictures) get around that she and Saffron are in a lesbian relationship (which, unfortunately for the audience, is not true).

Saffron gets into more trouble but is “safed” by Alex in an heroic finale and the girl can still join the forces, so all good. Well, I wish it was…

The patriotism within the film is warranted by the setting in smalltown, USA and the fact that the main character is part of a family tradition in the military. I don’t think it is too whack to show someone hoist an American flag in an American context (even though German’s are not into that kind of patriotism). So, patriotism is not my problem here.

My problem is with the near raping scene nearing the end of the movie. I make a bold statement here when I say: it would not have been in there if the movie had been directed by a woman, instead of Ned Farr, instead of a man. We have this insanely capable woman, Alex, who can bust heads with the best of them in a bar fight but gets nearly raped by crack heads? I don’t dispute that even a woman like her can be beaten unconscious by a couple of guys, I just dispute that in a situation like the one they were all in rape would be on the guys’ minds. I mean, they have an ex-military in their house which is a big meth-lab. It is likely the cops are going to show up or any of her muscle-packed, righteous friends and Saffron’s self-acclaimed boyfriend would want to rape her because… I don’t know, because it’s what men do when they have a woman bound. Any woman, in any given situation.

Well, I guess, even with me being a sexist and all my picture of men is not quite as severe as the director’s (or maybe the fault lies with the script writer? which is coincidentally the same person!). Well, she is not raped after all but things do not get better until they got a lot worse and the main characters almost die…

If my criticism is harsh it is because I have a problem with rape as plot device. It makes me sick and I do not think that it is necessary. The scene had enough violent potential as it was, the implication of rape as ultimate violation of the female is such a typical male device that one can only go with Freud and ask how much men have to fear female sexuality to always have to remind us what they can do to us (all of us, even women like Alex Everett).

The movie was not all that bad. It has likable characters and it has some unlikable characters. It presents well what happens when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is continually enforced and this is what the movie is really about. The actors do a good job, especially newcomer Paris P. Pickard who plays Saffron. So, on the whole, it is alright (though one should see it in its American context, and not make comparisons with the e.g. German context which is a completely different one).

And because you sat through the whole blog post without complaining, here they are again: Weber’s abs!

Have a good weekend all.

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