Sunday, 18 March 2007

Woman-machine

In Lenzi's A Quiet Place to Kill and Argento's Cat o' Nine Tails there are sequences where a woman – Helen / Anna Terzi – drives her sports car fast, scaring her male passenger – Maurice Sauvage / Carlo Giordani – in the front seat, “the death seat” as it is termed in the former film.

What both sequences depict is a kind of role reversal, with the woman in control of the situation, confident in her abilities and the man in a position of helplessness. They also suggest a different relationship to technology, specifically the car, as the woman experiences the vehicle as an extension of her body, knows what she / it can do as an assemblage and revelling in its power. The man, meanwhile, is for a change alienated from the technology which entraps and encases him but remains distinct from his being.

Beyond this, the two sequences also seem to embody the confidence of their respective directors, their control over their material and technique. (Say what you like about Lenzi, but he knows how to shoot a chase sequence.)

2 comments:

stephen grimes said...

This reminds me of the scene in D'amato's excellent EMANUELLES REVENGE where Rosemarie Lindt drives off from the beach in her sports car with George Eastmans clothes,leaving him standing there soaking wet and protesting.
One of Bruno Mattei's better writing efforts.

Cam1020 said...

I'd suggest both sequences may have been inspired by a sequence from Hitchcock's Notorious, where Cary Grant contemplates taking the wheel from a drunk Ingrid Bergman.