Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Gaze (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
"Come and have some green tea with me," he says. Is he just one of those socially clumsy men who has found his way into a privileged position and is trying to be a good boss, but being over friendly? She hesitates. Something doesn't feel right. If he's trying to be kind, why would he interrupt the work that she stayed late in the lab to get done? It's a feeling that many viewers - especially women - will know all too well.
The recent social movements to wipe out workplace harassment have struggled to find a foothold in the sciences. Despite researchers like Kathryn Clancy finding that the problem is widespread, it has proven particularly difficult to bring about change. Many disciplines are still heavily dominated by men. In a lot of the more equal ones, the generational process of inclusion means that men still hold most of the senior positions. Victims of harassment tell researchers that they daren't speak up for fear it will damage their careers, or that they've spoken up and not been taken seriously. So individuals still focus on looking after themselves - but refusing that cup of green tea could also damage a career.
In such situations, frustration and rage can build up. She doesn't remember everything that happened that night, the crisp, clean atmosphere of the lab replaced by a fuzzy blur, but she has pretty strong suspicions. Now her rage is taking form. There's only one way to know for sure, and that's to put herself in that position again.
Director Ida Jogler uses fantastic elements to put across the violence inherent in her protagonist's gaze. Where women are still frequently perceived as easy targets, essentially risk free, she communicates the cold, murderous hatred that many feel in response to victimisation. The result is crude, but that's partly the point. A single act of raw brutality sits primitive and fleshy within a landscape of polished white linoleum, glass walls and neat rows of factory-made work units, as out of place as a swirl of white powder in the bottom of a glass.
The Gaze screened at Fantasia 2018, but the chances are that only half the audience saw it as horror.Reviewed on: 27 Jul 2018