Casual Dismissal and Objectification of Rape in Quantum of Solace

This weekend I went to see Quantum of Solace, and thanks to my severely reduced expectations, rather enjoyed losing myself in the car, boat and plane chases.  One scene, however, snapped me from my suspended reality back to the misogynist world that Bond operates in.

Trigger Warning

Working up to the climax of the film, the recently enstated and subsequently duped Venezuelan president crime lord sends a young girl up to his room to await him while he finished his meeting.  The next time we see him, or rather hear him, he is grunting obscenely over her, ripping her dress.  The camera flashes from the rape to Bond, running though the president’s compex as it explodes around him.  Back to the president, and a shot of the girl’s face, crying.  Back to Bond, framed with fire and flying debris.  Then to the heroine, whose parents the president killed years ago.  There is a brief, violent scene where the president and the heroine grapple for the gun and in which the heroine gets thrown through a coffee table.  The heroine is finally able to reach the gun and shoot the president, to his surprise, and then…

And then we see the girl on the bed.  We see her from the waist down, as she moans, rolls over, and gives us a big, heaping shot of her VAGINA!  It was dark and blurred, and she could have been wearing underwear, but this scene, this intrusive, gratuitous, violating scene was the only one to make me flinch.  Why?  Why did the director, editors, cinematographers feel the need to punctuate that scene with the violating reminder of the president’s violence and the girl’s recent terror and humiliation?  And why in such a disgusting, overt manner?  I am used to Bond films being sexist, racist, and generally bigotted in every way, but they can be relied upon to tend more towards direct physical violence than indirect, insidious, sexist sexual violence.  To film the girl from the waist down, remove her face and her own feelings from the situation, to remind us of who she was to the president…To enforce her objectification.  She was an object to her rapist and now she is an object to us, a vagina and a sound. 

Even worse, we never see her again.  The president’s complex blows up, and even though Bond is able to rescue the heroine from the room in which she killed the president, there is no attempt to even pay the girl any more attention.  She is forgotten, just as the president forgot her.  She is burned, along with the building she was raped in.

I was absolutely horrified at the complete gratuitousness of the shot, and frankly, it ruined the film for me.  Did any one else notice it, and if so, what are your feelings?

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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