“A Girl & A Gun” The Lazy Basics of Drama

“All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun.” That’s a quote from French Director Jean-Luc Godard. I guess you can say, these two images are ‘instant tension’ from a male orientation. Tension is pretty much the source of story.

This post was originally supposed to be about how guns are an easy elements to create drama around. Then I heard about the new documentary “A Girl and A Gun” and though I haven’t seen the film, I realized the two were integral in today’s age of cinema. A Girl and A Gun is a documentary that explores this cliche, and it’s almost as cliche as A Black Man With A Gun, a podcast I enjoy.

Recently I was prepping for a shoot and my sister who was visiting asked, “Why do yo have all of these fake guns?” When I started producing, many of early shoots were people arguing for their life. My very first production was a couple talking amorously, and though it was cheap, there really wasn’t much at stake. Some people liked it, some thought it was boring. I realized there’s a lot of technique required to bring, ‘a relationship’ to life on screen. So I concluded, I might need to ham-hand it until I learned the craft of subtle storytelling.

I think this is %60 of what you see on YouTube, and %80 of what you see from Hollywood. If it isn’t Freddie Wong recreating some video game, it’s the trailer for some movie where people are shooting each other, zombies, vampires or robots. I even lump those Star Wars and Harry Potter flicks in the same pile, a weapon is a weapon, right?

The idea of ‘the woman and the gun’ are also a popular notion these days. Laura Croft from Tomb Raider anyone? If you’re of a certain generation, I’m sure you remember, the horror/revenge/gorefest, “I’ll Spit On Your Grave.” It’s a typical Western notion that, as R. Kelly so aptly put it, “When a woman’s fed up, no matter how you feel, there ain’t nothing you can do about it.” This plays on paternalistic ideas that women are pure, sacred and should not be provoked. A couple Films that have played with this motif are:

  • Kill Bill
  • The Exorcist
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Foxy Brown
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Misery
  • and the list goes on

Then there is the idea that “women are tension.” I’m sure there are a lot of women who don’t feel this way. It reminds me of how American women were outlawed from riding bikes in the early 20th century, because the shape of the seat might ruin their, ‘femininity. Yes, this is a strange world.

Ladies, what do you think of this idea of ‘women are tension.’ and how would you define tension? Do you see this in many films?

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One Response to ““A Girl & A Gun” The Lazy Basics of Drama”

  1. Doug Mayfield says:

    In order to have a story, you have to have good strong conflict. In my view, a woman and/or a gun gets you started, grabs attention immediately, because it suggests exactly that.

    But action and/or violence is not conflict, which I think of as a clash of closely held values. To confuse the two concepts is to reverse cause and effect. The clash of values must come first.

    That clash may lead to action/violence but does not necessarily have to do so in good story telling, as Jane Austen proved conclusively (and continues to prove, as they remake her stories again and again successfully).

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