One of the reasons I’m not watching more television, especially within german public TV programming, is their obsession with violent crime drama. And, after Thomas Harris’ admittedly gorgeous Hannibal Lecter novels and movies, it far too often has to be serial killers, with the addition of some ritualistic fuss providing the generic dark aesthetics. And the victims, it seems, always have to be female.
Even granted the needs for some pleasant creepiness and scare, I’m stunned by the fact that nobody complains, for example about the standard opening scenes of such movies showing a woman in the dark, somewhere, running for her life, in vain. What this signifies, generally speaking, and even more, what it means to the countless female viewers, for whom panic in the dark is an all too familiar experience.
To be very clear: In my eyes this genre serves exclusively a patriarchal perspective, it plays the game of the violator by giving him control and a lustful view of his prey. No subsequent procedure, no smart but conflicted female police officers, no final shootout with the culprit being taken down can make good for this basically affirmative stance to (and even identification with) male violence.
I’m in the middle of watching Regina Schilling’s very good documentary “Diese Sendung ist kein Spiel”, on Eduard Zimmermann’s true crime TV show “Aktenzeichen XY ungelöst” that scared the shit out of us BRD children from the late 1960s onward. In her typically precise psychohistorical approach she shows how the programme served a very conservative agenda. She might as well have called it: Patriarchy.
And the notorious ‘noir’ formats (no matter if US American, Scandinavian, French or German) follow a similar patriarchal agenda, albeit in an even more arbitrary and brutal sense, with the evil male perpetrator being honoured by handing him the camera and giving him the control of the nights and the cult.