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Rants and Raves: Lisbeth Salander

Is the US Ad Campaign Being True to Larsson’s Character?

Above: Noomi Rapace looking as Lisbeth Salander should.

This isn't so much a rant as it is an observation. I want to highlight the difference between how the character of Lisbeth Salander was presented to us in the Swedish film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2009) and how she is being represented by Rooney Mara for the upcoming American remake.

I know sex sells. And I know Hollywood loves to use sex to sell its movies so I'm not in the least surprised that Columbia Pictures is using sex to try and stir interest in its upcoming remake of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." That's why you find star Rooney Mara in various stages of undress as the main character Lisbeth Salander in all the poster art and photo shoots promoting the film. I'm not prudish about such overt sexuality but I do feel like this approach is betraying the character of Salander, a female character who watched her mother suffer physical and psychological abuse at the hands of a man, and who herself had been sexually assaulted. The reason media campaign bothers me is that I am worried that the film, like the ads, will get Salander's character wrong.

Some foreign poster art for the Swedish adaptation and American remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Music Box Folms and Columbia Pictures

Above: Some foreign poster art for the Swedish adaptation and American remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Above is the poster art for the 2009 Swedish film and the new teaser poster for the American remake. In the Swedish poster actress Noomi Rapace is covered up in jeans, hoodie, and leather jacket, and looking the way she does throughout the film -- tough and guarded. Those black clothes are in part an armor that keeps her isolated from the rest of the world. The American poster depicts Mara in a much softer, sexier, and exposed manner. She is a sex object in a way that Rapace never allowed herself or the character of Salander to be.

Novelist Stieg Larsson introduces his character to readers as "a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows. She had a wasp tattoo about an inch long on her neck, a tattooed loop around the biceps of her left arm and another around her left ankle. On those occasions when she had been wearing a tank top, a dragon tattoo can be seen on her left shoulder blade."

Left, Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander and, right, Rooney Mara in a teaser photo as the same character but slightly more exposed.

Music Box Films and Columbia Pictures

Above: Left, Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander and, right, Rooney Mara in a teaser photo as the same character but slightly more exposed.

As we get to know more about Lisbeth, we discover that her traumatic childhood has made her introverted, anti-social, and particularly hostile to men who abuse women. In fact, she takes great pleasure in exposing and punishing such men. In the book she is described as, "the woman who hated men who hate women." She is also described as bisexual. Larsson describes his heroine as, "She went around with the attitude that she would rather be beaten to death than take any shit." Rapace perfectly embodies that attitude even in the still images. Mara, not so much.

Again Rapace and Mara, each giving their take on Lisbeth Salander.

Music Box Films and Columbia Pictures

Above: Again Rapace and Mara, each giving their take on Lisbeth Salander.

In "The Girl Who Played with Fire" there's a line: "He felt that he had to find Salander and hold her close. She would probably bite him if he tried." Again, Rapace sells those qualities to us. Plus, Salander in the book and Swedish films is a figure of female empowerment. She may suffer abuse but, as described in the book, she asserts "never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you are in a position of strength- even if you no longer need to strike back." That's why I like the fact that the images of Rapace as Salander often show her with a gun or in a position of power rather than as a sex object or vulnerable looking victim like Mara.

Rooney Mara trying to show the feminine and tough sides of Lisbeth Salander in a magazine photo shoot selling her as Larsson's heroine. A tutu? Really?

Columbia Pictures

Above: Rooney Mara trying to show the feminine and tough sides of Lisbeth Salander in a magazine photo shoot selling her as Larsson's heroine. A tutu? Really?

The American ads and the various photo shoots trying to sell us on Mara as Salander undercut that image of Salander as a figure of female empowerment. Rapace's Salander would never have to strip down or teasingly display her cleavage in order to be sexy. Rapace's strength, confidence, and toughness make her sexy not her exposed skin. Mara is presented to us like a sex object in a Calvin Klein or Victoria's Secret ad. That's fine and dandy for selling pin up posters but it's totally out of character for Salander and if all this media attention is meant to stir my interest in the remake, then it is failing miserably because all I feel is deep concern that Hollywood will ruin this great character.

But my only hope lies in David Fincher. Fincher is directing the remake and he has a knack for nailing creepy, disquieting material. If you look at the trailers for the original film and the remake, there is a greater similarity in the treatment of the material and I do spy causes for hope that the remake may indeed capture Salander's fiery, tough, and violent character.

Video

Trailer: 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

Above: Here is how the Swedish film "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" teased its story.

Video

Trailer: 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2011)

Above: Here's how the American remake is promoting "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

So I'm hoping my observation... okay, my rant... about the American teaser campaign for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is unjustified, and that the print materials coming out are simply being handled by some publicist with no creative connection to the film. I just don't want to see Lisbeth Salander abused by the American remake. I want to see her kick some ass.

Comments

Avatar for user 'IanForbes'

IanForbes | June 7, 2011 at 10:49 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Great observation and really well put, Beth. I hadn't thought of it that way because I'm still steaming from the idea of remaking these films to begin with. Rapace so perfectly captured the character and while Rooney will probably do a good job, those of us who saw the Swedish films will instinctively fill in gaps that she brings to the table because we know who this character *should* be.

I have little doubt that Fincher can deliver on darker material ... I just can't shake my disapproval at the need to redo these films so quickly, if at all. Anyone who can read the book should be able to read the subtitles and anyone unwilling to see the foreign films has plenty of Twilight films they can watch.

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Avatar for user 'Miguel Rodriguez'

Miguel Rodriguez | June 7, 2011 at 11:26 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

It is always dangerous, worse, pernicious, to sexualize the victim of rape or sexual assault because it further confuses the crime of rape in the public conscious. Rape is a crime of hate, violence, and, above all, power over another human being.

I have to admit, I never read the books and I've only seen the first film in the Swedish trilogy. From that limited experience, I have to admit to being fascinated by the fire and drive of the title character. She was driven not only by what happened to her, but by her own personality and uncompromising spirit. Any scenes of her sexuality were colored by that sprit, and clearly not meant as titillation material for the audience.

This article, though, isn't talking about the film, but the ad campaigns--and that is what makes the American marketing seem so much worse. Noomi Rapace's images are full of character. The American images are completely bereft of character. All I get from them are an American fashion photographer trying to look "sexy through edginess." It's BS--especially considering the story of the character involved.

Whew, sorry about lending my own rant to this page, but we live in a culture where rape victims are more stigmatized than rapists. I'm not saying this ad campaign and ones like it are reasons for that, but they do contribute to the mentality that sexualizes a rape victim and leads to her dehumanization.

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Avatar for user 'KathrineFaust'

KathrineFaust | June 8, 2011 at 4:59 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

"Above is the poster art for the 2009 Swedish film and the new teaser poster for the American remake".

^ That poster is not swedish. Just saying.... Looks more like a russian poster, but I'm not sure (:

Other than that, I think the new posters are a bit too... Well, nude.

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Avatar for user 'inthebuff'

inthebuff | June 8, 2011 at 5:15 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

1. The film's not finished yet. And you haven't seen it.
2. The posters that you used to illustrate points are ridiculous. The Sweedish poster is in Greek and the one you alleged to be aimed at American audiences is in French.
3. Throughout the movie(s), Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth doesn't hesitate to get naked. Didn't you see this in the movies?
4. Rooney Mara's character looks more like the description in the book. She's mistaken for an anorexic. Noomi's looks are more in line with someone who works out a lot.
5. Most movies, especially those presumably getting R ratings, sell sex and violence in order to get the sales that they want.

Let me re-emphasize my first point. The movie is not out yet. You've seen trailers and one photo shoot. Don't be so quick to judge.

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Avatar for user 'amills'

amills | June 8, 2011 at 6:39 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Inthebuff: you seem to be missing the point. The author is criticizing the advertising campaign itself, NOT the film. So the fact that she's not yet seen the (unreleased) film is beside the point. What she is critiquing here is the way in which the film is being marketed.

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Avatar for user 'Andri'

Andri | June 8, 2011 at 6:45 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

to Inthebuff: I agree with amills, you missed the point...the author is not critiquing the movie, but the ad campaign. I think what the author said is on the spot, it doesn't really matter in what language the posters are - they are promoting the swedish movie.
Lisbeth in a tutu is indeed in the "really???" category. Also the hugging - my impression from the book was that Lisbeth was not a real fan of hugging...or any kind of expression of "love" emotions, she garded herself all the time! She gets naked because there is nothing wrong with being naked, it was not erotic at all! And in my opinion, Rooney doesn't look anorexic either....

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 8, 2011 at 7:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I did not say it was the Swedish poster for the Swedish film or that it was the American poster for the Hollywood film -- I said these were the posters for the Swedish and American films. But no matter what country the poster is from I am pointing out the different choices the Swedish and American films are making in their advertising campaign.

To inthebuff- I never pretended to have seen the film or to be judging the finished film, and if you read what I said you would understand that the whole point I am making is that the TEASER campaign has raised concerns about the film for me but that I am still hopeful about the film because of Fincher. I am analyzing the marketing of a film and not the film itself, and since marketing is meant to increase interest in a film I felt what the American film is doing is turning me off. I do agree that Mara looks more appropriately anorexic than Rapace. But Rapace's nudity in the films does not objectify her the way the ads for the American films objectify Mara.

Thanks to those of you who did get my point and understood that I was critiquing the advertising and not the film itself.

And thanks to everyone for the comments!

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Avatar for user 'kernel_thai'

kernel_thai | June 8, 2011 at noon ― 3 years, 1 month ago

While u may turn out to be totally correct, ur case, much like Prosecutor Ekstrom's is based on speculation and bad evidence. The two pics u used of Rapace as Salander (both from the 2nd movie I believe not GWtDT) r not publicity shots they r captures from the film. I believe the pics of Mara r from a magazine shoot. Apples and oranges. The posters, which someone already pointed out, arent from the same the same country. If u had posted the original French poster u would have found it was also softer and sexier. I guess that's how they r marketing to the French. As too how they market the new movie, I'm guessing it will be to make the most money. Marketing people don't care about how wonderful a character is drawn or emotional themes of a movie, only people do.

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Avatar for user 'emilyclairmont'

emilyclairmont | June 8, 2011 at 1:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

pardon this... but this article pissed me off. it is biased. honestly, yeah, the pictures may be showing a different side of Salander, but that does NOT mean anything about the movie; you've already made your opinion on the movie based off of the Swedish version (which strayed away from the books), and the goddamn movie hasn't even come out yet! yeah, the marketing may be bad, but who are you to say that Rooney will make a bad Salander? because of the pictures? no. you have captured stills from the movie, as kernel_thai said; the posters are different. i think this article would be more useful if you weren't so biased and actually open-minded about this new film; Fincher is a WONDERFUL director, and this film will probably just as great as his other films.

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Avatar for user 'sallydunn7'

sallydunn7 | June 8, 2011 at 2:59 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I could not agree more. I loved the character of Salander in all three books. She was edgy, troubled, powerful, brilliant and flawed. I just don't see this Americanized version of the film as portraying the woman I read about in the books. To bad the author is not alive to defend his character.

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Avatar for user 'dreaveronica'

dreaveronica | June 8, 2011 at 4:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

to IanForbes: How can you say "I have little doubt that Fincher can deliver on darker material", do you not watch any of his movies!! I mean come on that man has made such great DARK films such as Fight Club, The Game, and Seven. I think that he can do a fine job making the movie be as dark as the book had intended it to be.

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Avatar for user 'Miguel Rodriguez'

Miguel Rodriguez | June 8, 2011 at 11:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I usually try to stay out of comment threads when they degenerate into fighting, but I have to mention this one.

dreaveronica--Ian said he had LITTLE doubt Fincher can deliver on dark material. That means he was just saying exactly what you are in a different, more subtle way. I have never eaten at Islands, but I have little doubt they serve burgers.

For other complaints, I can't help wondering whether or not the actual article was read. There was nothing in this article expressing doubt at the quality of Fincher's upcoming film.

There is also nothing talking about the abilities of the actress Mara, herself. The complaint was merely about the DEPICTION of Mara as Salander. The criticism is of whoever is behind the marketing campaign. That's it. Not the director, not the screenplay, not the actors, not the tone. Just those photos in that marketing campaign. I can't believe anyone would be able to justify that tutu picture.

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Avatar for user 'Byronik'

Byronik | June 9, 2011 at 12:06 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Could Inthebuff be some kind of paid attack dog? He seems more determined to bite the author than to read her thesis.

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Avatar for user 'Byronik'

Byronik | June 9, 2011 at 12:08 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I have little doubt that Ian Forbes was not knocking Fincher.

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Avatar for user 'Andri'

Andri | June 9, 2011 at 6:54 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

it's inetersting that some people really didn't get the point the author was trying to make....I just looked at the magazine shot of Rooney Mara as Salander in W and I am really sorry but it's horrible! http://www.wmagazine.com/celebrities/2011/02/rooney_mara_girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo_lisbeth_salander_ss#slide=9
to kernel_thai and emilyclarimont: most of the people who are fans of the books (and the swedish movies) are fans of Salander - the woman who tried her whole life to not to be depicted as the photo shoot did! I personally feel that Salander as a character is bigger than the books and the movies (that's how powerful the character is)...I am not sure I expressed it correctly...for me she is "more" that just a "character from a book"....

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Avatar for user 'IanForbes'

IanForbes | June 9, 2011 at 7:59 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

First, like Miguel and Byronik point out, by saying "I have little doubt", i did indeed mean that I have faith that Fincher is GOOD at making films with darker themes. Sorry, I like to speak in the passive voice.

As for all the people up in arms thinking Beth has made up her mind, the point of the article was about the ad campaign (NOT the film) and how it seems contrary to the character of Salander for the marketing department (NOT Fincher) to sell the movie based on sexual appeal.

Also, Beth has not stated that Mara cannot deliver an acting performance that will work, just that the publicity stills delivered so far present the wrong image for the character. She identified the person in the stills as Mara because that's her name, she can't identify them as the character when there are two actresses being discussed in her article.

There was already a decent amount of buzz simply because of the popularity of the books, the general success of the Swedish films (of course the remake will make more money, it'll be released on more screens and doesn't ask people to **gasp** read subtitles), and Fincher's track record is outstanding.

We'll all know the results of the American remake once it's released. But like so many movie marketing campaigns, they're goal is to get people in seats, not to 100% accurately represent the film. Whether or not marketers use different tactics in other countries is irrelevant, the point is that misrepresenting the character of Lisbeth Salandar (as portrayed by Rooney Mara in the upcoming Fincher film) is a shame.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 9, 2011 at 8:57 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

First I would like to thank those of you that actually read what I wrote, and didn't just look at the pictures and scan the captions. I especially appreciate Andri's comments about Lisbeth's character -- I agree. She has become an iconic image of take no sh-t female empowerment. So I think Lisbeth would be appalled at some of the images being used to market the American remake of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO because it is out of character.

I am not prejudging the upcoming film but rather expressing concerns over the MARKETING campaign (which includes poster art and magazine photo shoots attempting to sell Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander). I ended my post expressing the fact that Fincher's involvement is the one thing that gives me hope that the film, unlike the teaser campaign, will be on the mark.

To kernel_thai- the images of Rapace as Salander are publicity shots; they are the images the studio chose to include in the press kits for the film and were used to market the film. Plus I never said the specific stills were from DRAGON TATTOO but rather that they were simply of Rapace as the character of Salander. I did state that the pictures of Mara were from a photo shoot but it was a photo shoot presenting Mara as Salander and therefore, as with the studio press stills for the Swedish film, do qualify as publicity material. So it's not apples and oranges at all but two marketing campaigns taking very different approaches to the same character.

To emilyclairmont - You seem to have missed the point of the post entirely. It is biased because it is an opinion piece. But it is not an opinion/review of the upcoming film, only an opinion/commentary on the teaser campaign for that film. The point of my post is that the American film's marketing campaign may be making an error in judgment in how they are pitching their film and Mara as Salander to audiences. Again, I have voiced no opinion on whether the film itself or Mara's performance will be good or bad. All I'm saying is that the people behind the teaser posters and photo shoots for the American remake appear to have no clue who Salander is. It would be like creating an ad for the recent film MILK in which Sean Penn is depicted in bed with a naked woman -- that might get attention and be sexy but it would be out of character for the gay activist politician Penn was playing.

Thanks to all for the comments. (Sorry Ian you got caught in the crossfire.) We'll have to wait until the end of the year to find out what Fincher has in store for Lisbeth.

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Avatar for user 'rockisimo'

rockisimo | June 9, 2011 at 1:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Want more controversy? ->
Why change the original title in anglophone countries instead of
Men Who Hate Women.
Beth Accomando has been clear with her article and responses.
I do find it bothersome that (the) Hollywood machine wants to catch up on the success of other projects instead of just embracing them. But it is business. And Hollywood will put all the meat to the grill by putting the best. How's that for a commercial blockage? Whilst I respect David Fincher, it is obvious he was not there to approve the marketing of the film by having Mara doing the editorial photoshoots and the visual campaigns of the film. Beth's point is ace. The campaign depicts American Salander, differently as what she really is.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 9, 2011 at 1:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Rockisimo!

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Avatar for user 'jeremykylefan'

jeremykylefan | June 9, 2011 at 1:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago


"We need more extreme movies in Sweden, personal projects that aren't necessarily made for a bigger audience. I think it creates a creative block to always have the audience as a goal."
- as said by Noomi Rapace (protagonist in Swedish version).

I think this really highlights the fear some people have of the American remake; that by seeking to satisfy a larger audience the plot will lose its niche and this 'creativity'.On seeing the film I was drawn by Lisbeth's character.

However, I do think the film scene in Hollywood is changing and including some more original plot outlines, so it's 50/50.
Still I wonder if Salander will be aimed at 'darker' teens as a hero figure (an easy sell in my view) rather than the ruthless, empowering, yet fragile, female conveyed in the Swedish version...

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Avatar for user 'DeistBrawler'

DeistBrawler | June 9, 2011 at 4:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

You seem to take what you want of Salander out of the books while eliminating the other things about her. Was Salander a tough little lady? Yup...she was also a sexual tough little lady.

"She is a sex object in a way that Rapace never allowed herself or the character of Salander to be."
This is true. Rapace didn't really expose the sexy Salander of the books. The Salander that was bisexual, that was into S&M, that had sex when she wanted to have sex with whomever she wanted to have sex with.

"Plus, Salander in the book and Swedish films is a figure of female empowerment...That's why I like the fact that the images of Rapace as Salander often show her with a gun or in a position of power rather than as a sex object or vulnerable looking victim like Mara."

So a gun is her symbol of power? No. Salanders power was her brain. If you wanted to show her power you should have her with a laptop in her hand...not a gun. Vulnerable looking? The character was vulnerable looking. She was constantly cited as looking like a little girl, being tiny, thin. I mean...she eventually gets breast implants so she'll look older.

If anything I would say that the American character, so far, is sticking closer to the actual book character of Salander.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 9, 2011 at 11:01 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

To jeremykylefan - you make a good point, Lisbeth was tough yet also fragile or at least vulnerable. An interesting combination.

To DeistBrawler - Rapace's Salander is very sexy but just not in the conventional way the media likes to sexualize and objectify women. Rapace's Salander in the films she is not shy about sex (and is shown having a sexual relationship with a women), and she does enjoy it but she likes to have it her way and when she wants it, and she hates men who try to take sexual advantage of women.

And no, the gun is not her symbol of power. She is powerful without it. But I wanted the image with a gun to highlight the contrast between the two films marketing campaigns. So an image of her with a gun is definitely a stronger, more empowering image than Mara in a tutu.

As for vulnerable, Rapace's Salander has vulnerabilities that she works very hard to hide and her clothing is one of the ways she masks that vulnerability. I do agree that Mara's rail-thin physicality is closer to the book's description of Salander than Rapace's more buff physique. But there's a real difference between the emotional vulnerability Rapace presents in the Swedish films and the way the nude Mara looks in the international poster art for the remake like she needs a man to protect her. Rapace's Salander fights against the image of being a victim but the photos of Mara teasing the film don't seem to do the same thing.

Thanks again for all the comments.

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Avatar for user 'Triflic'

Triflic | June 10, 2011 at 9:28 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

We have been having a similar discussion on the International Poster Key Art here -- http://www.rowthree.com/2011/06/10/friday-one-sheet-international-dragon-tattoo-poster/

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 10, 2011 at 6:08 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Ha! Thanks for sharing that. Since I like Daniel Craig I actually think the poster is kind of cool from a design perspective. It's just all wrong for trying to capture the essence of Lisbeth's character.

Cool site. Thanks for sharing.

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Avatar for user 'sprig'

sprig | June 11, 2011 at 12:23 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

The problem with your analysis and everyone else's negative responses to the images is that they are too literal. Fincher is clearly going for something more abstract. I think you are doing a disservice to the material by posting knee-jerk reactions without deeper considerations. People whined about the purposeless of the original, but when Fincher actually tries to make his version significantly different, there are automatic complaints. Now these complaints would be justified if he misrepresented the character, but he actually isn't. People just aren't analyzing deeply enough.

For example. Let me explain my interpretation of the poster.

I think it is clearly a poster revealing the subtext of the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist. You've remarked that Salander has a cold and snappish personality, and there is no way she would let Blomkvist have his arm around her like that. She takes pains to make sure that no one impedes on her personal space. But that is only her outward disposition.

The fact still remains that in the story, Blomkvist is actually quite an EMOTIONAL imposition in his relationship with Salander. He is an odd intrusion into her life. As their relationship develops, despite her natural coldness, she begins to warm to him and she develops certain feelings that actually affect her core.

Take everything in the image to represent emotion. No one gets closer to Salander's NAKED emotions than Blomkvist (even if he doesn't realize it). The grip of evil abusers may have Salander's life in a choke hold, but they don't even get a whiff of her emotions. Using the visual metaphor of emotion, this explains why Blomkvist's arm is the arm around her naked body. He is the only one who she even allows within ARMS REACH of her emotions.

But Salander's relationship with Blomkvist is not harmonious. He looks at her and sees only a damaged soul who needs to be shielded from those who wish to do her harm. But she sees him as a potential lover not a father. Maybe that is why her hand is tugging on his arm. An expression of that emotional dis-unity. Because she feels that his presence can be suffocating. Even if he doesn't directly impose himself, the affect he is having on her emotions almost feels like he is choking her.

Maybe she wants to stand beside him, not before him.

That is a beautiful artistic depiction of the subtext. People may or may not agree with my interpretation, but it is such a shame that only a minority of fans are even trying to understand it. Give David Fincher the benefit of the doubt. I am not his biggest fan, but at least I can acknwledge that he is not a director who exploits cheap gimmicks for a quick buck.

Now if I need to explain why naked shots of Salander are not strictly exploitative and are actually in line with her character, I can happily do that as well.

And I apologize if there are grammatical errors in the post.

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Avatar for user 'sprig'

sprig | June 11, 2011 at 12:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, when I said "purposelessness of the original," I meant "purposelessness of the remake."

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Avatar for user 'StwartJenssen'

StwartJenssen | June 12, 2011 at 11:39 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

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http://bit.ly/mHj21S

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 13, 2011 at 9:42 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Sprig -- I enjoyed your comments and analysis but you have misinterpreted some of what I said.

You paraphrased my comments as: "You've remarked that Salander has a cold and snappish personality, and there is no way she would let Blomkvist have his arm around her like that." I never said anything of the kind. I said she was a woman who had suffered sexual abuse and that made her more guarded and distrusting. That doesn't make her cold or snappish. And I did not say she'd never let Blomkvist put his arm around her. I just objected to the fact that the pose in the poster made it look like he was protecting her as if she was too fragile to protect herself. Their relationship was more between equals than a cliched one of the woman needing a man to protect her.

And if you had read my closing comments you would have seen that I do give Fincher the benefit of the doubt. None of my comments were directed at Fincher but at the MARKETING campaign. The only reason I remain interested in the film is because I think Fincher is an outstanding director and one suited to this time of material.

Thanks for your thoughtful analysis.

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Avatar for user 'sprig'

sprig | June 13, 2011 at 2:17 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I equated the "short fuse" quote you used with "snappish" and Salander's hiding under layers of clothing, with "cold," in terms of personality.

But I think I justified my interpretation of why the poster works for me. I don't think the image represents her literal personality, and I don't think she is fully submissive to Blomkvist's grip. Glamor photos have that unique capability to capture things like emotional subtext. In the same way a music sequence in the middle of a musical movie takes the characters out of their concrete world, and places them in a sort of abstract limbo, where they express themselves with much more surreal behavior.

That is what I believe is happening here. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. But basically this gives curious audiences a taste of something deeper than just Salander's personality. Full length trailers can do the literal stuff. Props to Fincher for mining the book deeper than the Sweedish films. And I think it's inherently wrong to compare the Swedish film with the American re-adaptation, because the American version is based off the bok alone (but please don't dwell to long on this point).

But, your issue with the marketing flaunting her sexuality. I believe your point is that it is tasteless to exploit the sexiness of a girl who has previously been sexually abused. Normally that would be true, but to say that in this case is to miss a key characteristic of Salander's uniqueness.

Yes, Salander is that girl who was tormented by sex in many aspects of her life. But unlike most victims, she did not shrink away from the pain of it. On the contrary, she embraced it. She used it as a way to rebel and gain her own independence. She flaunted her sexuality because, in the face of those who wanted to exploit it to keep her pinned down, her decision to be open about it had a subversive effect. It showed that she would not be controlled by their sexual cruelty and it diffused the oppressive power that sex once held over her.

One would expect her to fear it, but she did not and she perplexed those who thought she should. That is what makes her bold, provocative and controversial. Similarly, that is what makes the poster bold, provocative and controversial. The idea that deeply "damaged goods" would still have the sexual vibrancy within her for her SPIRIT to strike such a pose. It shows that she's still beautifully sexy inside (if Blomkvist's emotional intrusion doesn't suffocate her emotional vulnerability).

The poster, just like Salander doesn't care what you think about her nudity or sexuality and whether you think its appropriate given her abusive past. She only considers what she thinks about it. That is virtually the definition of sexual independence. And it happens to be a very pro-feminist message. Again, that is what I think is conveyed by the nudity in the poster and that is why I think it IS consistent with the themes of the character.

btw the poster was Fincher's idea

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sprig | June 13, 2011 at 2:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

And of course, my sincerest apologies for this 3000 character post! Sometimes it's hard to stop the thoughts from spilling out of my head.
_______
ononyeui.wordpress.com

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 13, 2011 at 2:37 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Some of the things you are attributing to me are quotes directly from Larsson's books. "Short fuse" is a quote from the book. And while the poster works for you (I am guessing you are male but correct me if I am wrong) it does not work for me and I do not read the same things into it as you do.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great image but it betrays Salander's character. She may flaunt her sexuality but she doesn't let herself become a mere sex object. Those are two very different things. I did not say it was "tasteless," I only said it was wrong for her character. To me as a woman she does not look like a woman displaying bold "sexual vibrancy." How about her wrapping her arm around a naked Daniel Craig? That would be much bolder and more in her character. The poster image and magazine photos all make her an object of male desire and one not in control of that image.

Nothing I have said is about Fincher's film, only about the ads. And there is nothing yet to show that FIncher has gone any deeper into the books than the Swedish films. And it is perfectly fair to compare the Swedish film to the American film once it is released because they are both based on Larsson's books and character, and their interpretation of the character can be compared.

I'm interested in your comment that Fincher came up with the poster. Can you link to any sources about that? I'd like to hear what Fincher has to say.

Thanks.

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 13, 2011 at 3:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Sprig- No apologies needed. Nice to have people who are willing to think about something and take the time to share their thought. :)

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sprig | June 14, 2011 at 12:49 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

---
Some of the things you are attributing to me are quotes directly from Larsson's books. "Short fuse" is a quote from the book.
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^ I didn't really intend to attribute them to a source. They're just quotes that defined your argument. Not worth getting hung up on. I wasn't even disagreeing with them.

----
"She may flaunt her sexuality but she doesn't let herself become a mere sex object. Those are two very different things. I did not say it was "tasteless," I only said it was wrong for her character. To me as a woman she does not look like a woman displaying bold "sexual vibrancy.""
---
^ I'm slightly dismayed by this because it would suggest that you might be ignoring all the time I spent differentiating between the spiritual and corporeal. And anyway, she DOES let herself become a sex object...she has casual sex partners from whom she develops no deeper relationship with, other than being an OBJECT for sex...

anyway here's an article about Fincher and the poster
http://www.movieweb.com/news/david-fincher-wants-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-topless-rooney-mara-poster

the article writer, like me, believes that the poster is going for something more artistic (though she doesn't elaborate). That's why I'm saying give Fincher the benefit of the doubt. Clearly his interpretation of the source material is reflected not just in the film, but in the part of the marketing that he is responsible for as well.

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sprig | June 14, 2011 at 12:50 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

lol this comment section is strange. Not sure why the font went ballistic there...

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Kelia | June 14, 2011 at 7:37 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Hi, the first poster is not Swedish. It's Greek, and written in cyrillic letters. It reflects how the film was presented to a Greek audience. That's a different culture and different religion than Sweden.

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 14, 2011 at 10:29 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Sprig - I thought you were just trying to emphasize your point with the large font. And I still have to disagree. Having casual sex partners does not mean she is allowing herself to be a sex object. She is not letting herself be objectified if she is choosing to engage in sex with someone. There is a difference between being viewed as a sexual object by others and simply engaging in casual sex for fun or pleasure.

Thanks for the link about Fincher. I said it before and I'll say it again I AM giving him the benefit of the doubt based on an impressive track record.

And Kelia - I never said it was a Swedish poster. All I said was that it was a poster for the Swedish film. I identified it that way to distinguish it from the American remake. And the Swedish company would still be involved to some degree with the marketing campaign in foreign countries. Just as the American distributor has some say in the foreign posters for an American film. Either way the first Dragon Tattoo film took a very different marketing approach in all countries than the American remake is taking across the board in its teaser campaign.

Thanks for all the comments. Let's try to keep them in fonts that aren't shouting. ;)

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sunnysalander | June 23, 2011 at 1:25 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

Probably no one cares but me, but I wonder if Hollywood will pronounce Lisbeth's last name right. I've spent a life time listening to people mispronounce Salander. It's not a common name and few people have heard it - until now. Hollywood is not off to a good start. Twice now I've heard characters on TV shows say Sa`lander instead of Sala`nder.
It's common for people to make this mistake. If those reading this have made this mistake , consider yourself newly educated - it's no different in the US than in Sweden. The accent is on the second syllable.
Smiles!

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sunnysalander | June 23, 2011 at 1:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I didn't realize how that would come out in my first post. I tried adding a character to show which syllable is accented. oops! The last sentence should clarify.
Smiles!

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | June 28, 2011 at 11:13 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Thanks. I always have a hard time pronouncing names. I will refer back to this if I have to review it for radio.

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adevoli | July 22, 2011 at 4:41 p.m. ― 3 years ago

In the first book it even says that showing her naked body to someone for the first time is one of the worst things for her. Also, I hate that Daniel Craig has his arm around her in the picture because in the beginning of the book she hated having anyone touch her. I'm excited none the less though.

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Passiveaggressive | August 7, 2011 at 4:33 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Somehow Rooney Mara doesn't seem to fit as Salander. She's too tall for one. She doesn't possess the 'edge' of the character in the story. Lisbeth Salander is a misfit. A thin and strange mystery that cannot easily be sounded. Her description by Larsson is a woman who is barely five feet tall, inaccessible, brilliant. The film character seems too butch. Too much a bit of a Hollywood Nick Danger.

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | August 8, 2011 at 11:32 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the comments. I appreciate hearing from people who have also read the book since you have additional insights into the character.

And I agree about Daniel Craig having his arm around her -- it just seems wrong for the character on a number of levels.

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snedley11 | August 12, 2011 at 1:59 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

I just came upon this discussion today. I think it's a worthy topic about a character we all seem to have a very high regard for. This alone is significant and cause for some genre of praise.
For me, Noomi Rapace embodied this character seamlessly and so profoundly that it belongs up there with some of the great portrayals in cinema history by an actress or actor.
My initial reason for jumping in was to say: Rooney Mara has her work cut out for her!!! Big Time!!!
Also, can Daniel Craig convey the (also) somewhat vulnerable character of Blomkvist?

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miglelaur | November 16, 2011 at 5:44 a.m. ― 2 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't agree more with you. This poster is completely absurd to anyone who has atleast seen the Swedish version of films, let alone having read books. The essence of Lisbeth Salander is that she is aboslutely against voliating women's right and any kind of abusse against them as her mother and she herself has suffered a lot from that. And in this American poster woman's nudity it's how it's tried to attract public's attention. It's pretty clear for me that Hollywood uses sexuality in oder to promote their movies and I put up with that but not in this case, not with Lisbeth Salander. Moreover, Lisbeth Salander is kind a extremely reserved person, who wouldn't allow anyone to take picture of her nude body. In Swedish trilogy there are just two occasions when Lisbeth Salander appears nude - it's when she is having sex with Michael Bolmkwist and Mimi. In both cases these are people who are her closest relatives. In all other cases she has her body fully covered and in a kind agressive manner (as it's written in the book it's her way of letting people know that they should stay away from her). So I am completely against such type of advertising of Holywood version. It makes me angry to think that one of the gratest characters might be destroyed by indifferent attitude of the film makers.

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roguedesignmonk | December 27, 2011 at 10:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 7 months ago

I think what bothers me about the marketing, and the discussions that I'm seeing, is that people get so bogged down in looking at and analyzing ONLY this image without proposing that there were an infinite number of other ways to represent what has been talked about that did not involve Daniel Craig (clothed) with his arm around Rooney Mara (nude). Although that may have been the intent by Fincher, and it is possible to read it as Sprig did, clearly many, many other people will not come to that conclusion for completely valid reasons.

The other thing that bothers me is when people think that because sex sells, or because that's what the director (may have) intended, that all arguments are off. End of discussion. The observation that sex sells is not a justification for a poster like this, even if it is true. The simple assertion that this is what the director meant is not, in itself, justification for this particular poster when it could have been done in so many other ways which would have been more in line with the story/character.

imho

p.s. Sprig, I know that you were not ending the discussion, but plenty of others seem to think their interpretation of the poster for x, y, z reason followed by name calling and dismissiveness is acceptable in other forums I've been reading.

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mjh8154 | January 4, 2012 at 6:53 p.m. ― 2 years, 6 months ago

Hello,

I only just stumbled upon your review and having briefly skimmed it I noticed that you attributed a quote to Lisbeth that was not said by her, it was said by Henrik Vanger. The quote you attributed to her was "never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you are in a position of strength- even if you no longer need to strike back." in paragraph 6 of your review. You also sort of infer, if only contextually, that the quote comes from "The Girl Who Played with Fire" when the quote comes from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on page 126/location 2576 of the Kindle version.

Thank you for the thought provoking article, I look forward to thinking more about it.

I LOVE the trilogy so incredibly much, I mourn the loss of Stieg Larsson. And I would do ANYTHING for Fröken Salander, not, of course, that she would need any help EVER, but nonetheless the sentiment is there. :) :)

Matthew

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Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | January 6, 2012 at 2:25 a.m. ― 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the comment and corrections. Lisbeth does provide for a lot of discussion.

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