A while back some of the more extreme feminists took to daubing the slogan ‘all men are rapists’ on billboards and bottle banks around town. Not being a rapist myself I found it quite easy to dismiss the sweeping nature of the statement, yet a broader point about ‘the dominant nature of men’ was duly noted. Perhaps being a man I found the statement far too easy to dismiss, but then along comes 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days with the empathetic clout to turn me into a self hating man, with all the angst that entails.
A film about backstreet abortions was never going to be a cheery affair, hell, documentaries about legalised abortions can be even less fun. But I didn’t realize it was going to be quite this agonizing. With every detail lit and shot so clean that it almost felt sterile, the ordeal of having to watch the characters quietly writhe was accentuated by the fact the every shot hung for minute after agonizing minute. No music, no erratic camera angles or cuts. Just you, a slow camera, and a horrible horrible drama to sit and endure. More Ludovico technique then conventional film, the drama kept a tension so painfully taught and repulsive that you just couldn’t look away. Walking home in the dark I felt like a deer in the headlights, wide-eyed, unblinking yet equally skittish, flinching at every little rustle of noise.
Coming home to an empty house didn’t help either. Finding the first thing on the telly to be the recently deemed ‘totally-not-leery-or-sexist’ Rustlers microwave advert just made me feel like even more of a dirty-rapist-shitbag-pig. How am I supposed to sleep with the collective guilt of my gender on my shoulders? More importantly, will I ever start blinking at a normal rate again?
A quick-fix of Swingers (90’s cult classic not the sexual sub-culture) and a stiff drink reassured me that being a man is ‘ok’ and that abortions only happen in Eastern Europe. In the 80’s. To women. Not me.