Friday, 20 February 2015

WOMEN IN BONDAGE












d. Steve Sekely (1943)


Cheap but potent propaganda, Women In Bondage takes the unusual step of showing Nazi Germany on the home front, and from the perspective of the women caught up in the mad world of Hitler and his murderous stooges. 

All women must join a paramilitary organisation, for instance, and spend their time marching, identifying enemy planes and informing on their friends, colleagues, neighbours and anyone else who dares question the Fuhrer. On their spare evenings, the girls are expected to be sexually promiscuous, particularly with soldiers, doing their bit to keep the master race well stocked. Then there are the intrusive medical examinations, and the obsession with Aryan purity (one girl is unable to marry her SS man boyfriend because she fails an eye test), as well as other sundry surprises that the insanely inhuman and unsentimental logic of the Reich throws up (a woman's husband returns from the Russian Front a hero but an impotent invalid; she is officially instructed to get pregnant by his brother instead). 

It's occasionally strong stuff, and is particularly successful in the way that it presents the regime (quite realistically) as a sick but ultimately rather banal bureaucracy that, like all totalitarian states, can only function by the constant exertion of force, a mountain of paperwork and a willing workforce of goon-like enforcers. 

Please note that the title refers to bondage in the sense of serfdom or slavery, not the act of tying or binding for sexual pleasure. Although there is a bit of that, and some whipping.   

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