Friday, January 2, 2015
Female Filmmaker Project: The Gold Diggers (Sally Potter, 1983)
The film also has a fascination with how money effects celebrity. A matriarchal figure appears in queenlike fashion towards the end, but it isn't so much a scene of success on her part for having broken through this system as it feels like a moment where her celebrity gives her the privilege of existing without the issues of finance. Men carry her around and preach about gold, but it doesn't effect her. This is one of only two real scenes where women are seen as being above men on a visual level. The other scene features a dance, and echoes a "what if" scenario as women unshackle themselves from dancing men and embrace each other instead. They twirl around and the black/white colour scheme no longer fills the screen, instead it's filled with transcendent whites as the men hit the floor and the women run off to do whatever they want. It's a real sense of freedom, and plays opposite to the scenes where our two female leads cannot escape men.
Gold Diggers doesn't exist exclusively in the role of woman though, even if it's more consistently about them. There are scenes where the problems of how our financial system effects men as well. The name of the film takes it's cue from the recurring image of men hiking along a hill in the dead cold of an ice-y winter just trying to make ends meet for their families. The monochromatic colour scheme is only pierced by the clothes on their back as they hike and hike. They appear to be absolutely miserable; cogs in a machine, and ultimately working towards their own dead end as they walk into nothingness. The other scene where men find themselves sympathetic is in the dream sequence I mentioned above in the computer workspace. One man continually does the motions of his superior. He mimicks his voice, his actions, he sits beside him, and this once again conveys a sense of being a cog in a machine. He's kissing ass for forward mobility.
The Gold Diggers ultimately leaves me asking myself the questions of what does a capitalist system ultimately benefit, and the thesis of the picture would have you believe it is oppressive, and more specifically to women.