The Future is Female

9 Jan

Near the conclusion of the completely satisfying and nearly completely male-starred film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, some very loud graffiti is considered.  “The Future is Female!” shouts a crumbling wall in the background. The film is thoroughly atmospheric, its 1970’s period details extraordinarily accurate; therefore the noted lingering on the feminist linguistic black splash situated across from the double-agent safe house in residential London must serve a distinct purpose according to the film’s narrative and aesthetic logic.

What might this purpose be? Is the message meant to date the film according to particular “radical” seventies political tensions? Is the message intended to demonstrate one of the many threats MI-5 and MI-6 are up against? Or, is the message one more way the film reveals how much times and desires have truly changed in the past 30 years? Is the backdrop a barometric reminder of a positive restructuring force or a negative destructing one?

The future is female: it’s a statement, a prediction, a warning, an omen. It’s a  feminist ultimatum, displayed as a kind of stop-motion narrative freeze in the midst of building climax near film’s end. When I saw it, I gasped and laughed. It surprised me. It made me happy. In my mind, the film’s Swedish director, Tomas Alfredson, purposefully positioned the exclamation as a kind of counterpoint–a question to ask of the film’s, the moment’s, the universe’s tendencies. An accusation directed towards the world’s past 30 years. A speculative and rooted position, through which to consider how far we’ve come, and how far we haven’t. An imagining of ways, viewpoints, people, we might not have considered. A radical gesture in the midst of crazy, dangerous business as usual. A footnote  reference to the Situationist struggles and  concurrent artwork throughout Paris in the late ’60’s.

But, after my joy came a rueful disappointment. After all, the future wasn’t female after all. But then, I felt hopeful: there’s always a future, perhaps it still may well be…

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