Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Women in Boxes
Director: Phil Noyes, Harry Pallenberg
Writer: Blaire Baron
The only reason I really chose to watch this today was due to the fact that it will be removed from Netflix streaming at the start of July. In fact, a couple of my queued items are disappearing that day so I figured I'd give them a watch before then. So if you're so inclined to watch this film and have Netflix then you'd better hurry up.
The documentary focuses on various women who have been magician's assistants at various points in time. Footage is shown of their respective acts and some of the tricks that they discuss in the interviews. There is one magician's secret revealed in the entire documentary but that is because it is very old and nobody ever uses the method anymore. It's the secret to the first "sawing women in half" trick and, personally, I never knew it so that was neat.
What I also found so interesting was that these assistants really are intensely important in shows. They do a ton of work and in fact maybe more than the magicians themselves in most cases. Magicians just have to present and move and wave but the women have to curl up in a box or get themselves in precarious situations. The tricks themselves are dangerous even if they aren't in the outright ways. For example, a woman getting sawed in half never has the danger of actually getting sawed in half but many tricks still are dangerous. In fact, one woman talked about a trick where swords were stuck through a box and that apparently the "trick" thing was set backwards so she did actually get sliced with a sword. It's scary stuff!
In fact, it's when those stories of injury came up that I wished the entire documentary could possibly be about that. It really interested me to realize just how dangerous it is, even though we all usually expect the female performers are in no actual harm. But then the documentary went on to talk about the sexist nature of magician performances and stuff. I also found that really interesting because, again, I never viewed them in that manner. It's weird to think about. Magic acts sprung up with the women being in distress for what reason? It seems because nobody would care to see a man in peril, but to see a woman being "mutilated" on stage is something else entirely. Weird, weird, weird.
The documentary isn't the most exciting thing out there, but it caught my attention. I'm interested in magic acts very much though so that might be part of it. I liked it and that's all there is to it.