Indie Film Legitimate–Horror With A Message

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Politics | 0 comments

While horror is not generally my thing, I am interested in just about any story that is well told and any storyteller who has something worthwhile to say. So I came to have the privilege to view Legitimate, an independent short horror film that has a powerful message. Directed, written and produced by Izzy Lee, this film is intense and uncomfortable, as it should be because the message should make people uncomfortable.

She uses the genre of horror to convey a powerful message in a powerful way. Not only does the message need to be communicated, but also it is a message promoting empathy and compassion to people who are fully lacking empathy and compassion.

<em>Legitimate</em> is just over 5 minutes long and opens with the infamous quote by Rep. Todd Aiken, “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Yes this short is a metaphor for the impact of rape on the victims. It is also directed at the calloused, hateful laws the GOP are currently trying to pass in state after state, enslaving women and denying them their civil rights.

It opens with a madam guiding a senator to a seat at a little table. He is given a drink and an exotic dancer comes out to dance for him. She is bound nearly from head to toe in a number of knotted ropes and throughout the dance she removes them one by one in a near striptease fashion, often handing the ends of the rope to the senator as she dances. While there is no full nudity the costume is quite skimpy and we do see her backside. The bindings of the rope are a clear metaphor for rape and the dancer removing them takes back her sexuality with each one that she removes. It is hers to give, not someone else’s to take and if it is taken from her by force that is not a referendum on her it is a condemnation of the one who would violate another person so brutally.

Of course the senator has no empathy for the victims and only sees the dancer before him as an object, a toy for his pleasure and entertainment. As he drinks his booze and watches the dancer he falls into unconsciousness. The next scene shows several women standing over him. Clearly they planned this together. Next we see them holding a jar with a monstrous embryo in it.

When next the senator wakes he is lying in an alley with his jacket over his face, blood on his shirt and no one around. The music in this scene is genius because it implies that something unremarkable has happened to him. It takes a few seconds for him to realize that he has been violated in a very profound fashion. The music starts to be interrupted by harder, more ominous music in short bursts while out of his crudely stitched up stomach comes the monster child that became of the embryo.

He is now face to face with the agony and horror of being forced to carry a physical violation against his will to its bitter end, with all of the pain and fear that comes with it. There is no one to help him and no one to care what was done to him. He is alone, in a litter-strewn alley. He is cast out and cast aside.

<em>Legitimate</em> was difficult to watch because it is so well done and so effective at conveying, for just those all too brief minutes, an inkling of what a rape victim goes through and the additional horror of the real results of the kinds of draconian laws the GOP and their fundamentalist allies are passing in state after state. It is a graphic visualization of a message for those who wholly lack empathy for rape victims. Legitimate is brief, intense and metaphorically brilliant. It is not for everyone, but if anyone can get a message of compassion for rape victims through the thick, sexist, misogynistic skulls of the current GOP it might be Izzy Lee and it might be with this film.

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