Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gender Norms in The Fifth Element

For my Film Theory class, I am writing my final paper on the movie The Fifth Element. Has anyone seen it? It has Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker. It takes place in the future- the year 2214 I believe and everything is very technological. An entire Thanksgiving meal can be cooked in a microwave when a packet is placed in it, cars fly, and all of Earth is one country called The Federation. In the movie, Chris Tucker is the most popular radio host in the galaxy (or at least I think it’s the galaxy…) and his name is Rudy Rock. Rudy Rock is an extraordinarily strange character. He completely defies gender roles and is very weird androgynous. First, he wears these jumpsuits that are awkwardly tight. His first costume is leopard print and has a very wide collar and his bare shoulders are showing, so he looks like he’s wearing an Elizabethan type thing. Also, his hair is… his hair is just bizarre. I have included a picture if you want to see. His second outfit in the film is another tight jumpsuit that is black, has the same sort of collar, but it has roses all over it. He also has three assistants who are clearly meant to be stereotypical homosexual men. In fact, Rudy appears to be a stereotype of a homosexual, but women are constantly fainting around him and he loves it. He is very provocative towards the female characters and at one point engages in- we’ll just say sexual acts- with a woman. Furthermore, when there is danger, he screams in a very high pitched tone and practically hangs off of Bruce Willis’ character Corbin. He is one of the oddest characters I’ve seen in a film and it’s made even funnier because Chris Tucker (of Rush Hour fame, just in case you didn’t know) is playing Rudy.

If you haven’t seen this film it would be difficult to understand, but based on what I’ve written, what do you think? Why does Rudy defy gender norms? Or, what about Rudy’s defiance of these norms makes him such an interesting (albeit ridiculous) character?

1 comment:

  1. Lol! i have see this movie, and oddly enough I never paid much attention to Rudy's persona. Everything about him, from his dress to the way he speaks and acts would lead people to believe that he is homosexual when in fact he is a bit of a womanizer. I'm very surprised that i never caught that. Rudy really does defy that norm, but the other three assistants seems to fall into those gender rolls. What's weird to me is that i never thought of Rudy as a homosexual character, but i know that his male assistants were supposed to be homosexuals.


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