Movies in Frames: Ms. 45 (1981)

I’m on a bit of a Movies in Frames blitz.  This one is from Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45.  Track it down if you are a fan of rape-revenge films.  It would serve as a fine B side to Thriller by Bo Arne Vibenius.  Maybe you could serve a bit of I Spit on Your Grave for dessert?  Ms 45. is probably the lesser of this group of films in terms of execution and effectiveness (all due respect to Mr Ferrara!).  Thriller is a near masterwork that somehow achieves a strange existential quality at its pinnacle.  It rises above its sleazy beginnings and transforms into a beautiful and spare celebration of both the cleansing fire of vengeance and the white hot fury of woman’s scorn.  I Spit On Your Grave is a fantastic film that arguably spends too much time with the rape and too little time on the revenge.  The deaths of the perpetrators are certainly enjoyable to watch but I am left a little hollow at the close of the film.  Perhaps I Spit seems to be commenting on the fleeting nature of revenge.  We stay with our triumphant hero after the final death and are forced to contemplate the future as she silently rides away on a boat, stoic yet irreparably damaged.  Ms. 45 certainly is an enjoyable gem and the showdown scene at the dress up party is haunting and magnificent.  It is operatic, strangely beautiful and filled with overt symbolism.  It is an odd film overall but it certainly has its place in the revenge rampage canon.

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