You're preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it's as simple as you're one kind of man, I'm another

You’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another

 

Sometimes I wonder about identity – I wonder what it is that makes us us. I don’t mean this in a Rachel Dolezal “I identify as black” sort of way, more in the way that we carry certain mantles while others are just wrapped around us.

Is our identity informed by the people around us? Is it fostered and fashioned, or is it something that is hardwired from the word go? If so, how is it that we can identify as so many different things as life goes on? Our political leanings can change; our national allegiances. We call ourselves children and spouses, but some time later orphaned and widowed.

So little seems permanent. So much dependant on other people.

Maybe it’s all just in a constant state of flux. Maybe that’s where a film like VICTOR VICTORIA comes into play.

The amazing thing about VITOR VICTORIA is its understanding of identity, and how for some identity can be fluid. making this all the more impressive is that these ideas were being put forth into a somewhat conservative 1980’s America audience…after first being presented to a fiercely conservative 1930’s German audience. Within the span of the film, we meet Toddy who has had a grip on his identity for a long time, and Squash who has as well – even if he pretends to be something else to the masses.

But then there is Marchand, who is suddenly unsure of himself in the face of a man who entices him so deeply when posing as a woman (admittedly, for good reason). Likewise, Victoria who has to embrace life as a gay man to make ends meet as a hetero woman.

You gotta hand it to those who will challenge the notions of what makes men and women…well…”men and women”. The wild thing is that Marchand just gets taken by the charisma of “Victor” and falls over the edge. Victoria, on the other hand, needs a push.

So here we get the visual metaphor: Victoria in the foreground wearing the traditional men’s clothing, Toddy behind her wearing the soft and flamboyant slippers on bare legs. Gathered at his feet, Victoria’s strawberry blonde tresses as she begins her stint as Victor. A glimpse of both the deception and the luxury that the act hopes to achieve. Two identities in one shot, with a clear path from one to the other.

 

Three more from VICTOR VICTORIA for the road…

 

CARNATION

YOU BITCHES

SHAKE

 

This series of posts is inspired by the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” series at The Film Experience. Do check out all of the awesome entires in their series so far