Mad Max’s Post Apocalyptic Feminism

I have an undying love for post apocalyptic action films, much to the disgust of my mother who considers it to be a morbid obsession. But she doesn’t complain as often due to my love for other films too.

Speaking of post apocalyptic films, many weekends ago, I had an amazing experience watching Mad Max: Fury Road. Under all that guns and stunts were multitudes of beautiful characters and concepts; and a wonderful story.

A hungry for power warlord-cum-leader, Immortan Joe, manipulates his citizens to achieve his desires. He does so by controlling water-the very essence of life. He claims to have seen Valhalla (heaven), and that he can guide his followers into it. Young men are bred to fight for him, willing to die in battle with silver in their mouths and asking to be witnessed, believing they are awaited at the gates to heaven.

The leader also has prized breeders- beautiful young women caged up to give birth to his soldiers. But there is more to these women than just beauty; their hope and courage drives them.

Then there is this powerful, determined woman-an Imperator (general) of Immortan JoeFuriosa (Charlize Theron in an awe-inspiring role) who moves towards her goal of a greener, safer land in the desert landscape. She, too, crumbles when the desired land turns out to be diminished into an uninhabitable swampland. Yet she picks herself up and moves on, finally taking on Immortan (with help from titular Max), and establishes the land she moved for.

Furiosa belongs to a matriarchal tribe, the Vuvalini, who fled after the destruction of their homeland (the one she is trying to find). These are strong women, constantly moving on their motorcycles, protecting the last seeds from their home.

Through all these indomitable beauties, the film takes a feminist turn. Though set in a post apocalyptic world, it had an apt representation of the circumstances women face in current society.

There is a guitar guy, the bard, who does not part with his instrument in any case. This character sure is one of the best portrayals of determination.


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