Although action heroines, exploitation vigilantes and femmes fatales have long appeared on cinema screens, filmic representations of violent women continue to intrigue journalists and commentators. At the time of writing this book, a new film franchise has become the focus of an animated discussion about violence and gender in cinema. Following the likes of Kill Bill Vols 1 & 2 (Quentin Tarantino, 2003; 2004), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000), Charlie’s Angels (McG, 2000) and other action blockbusters featuring violent female protagonists, the massively successful film The Hunger Games (Gary Ross, 2012) and its sequels are the latest in a long line of mainstream action texts to elicit commentary from observers. Like those who followed the ‘action babe’ cycle of 2000 and 2001, these critics are wondering what the new violent heroine, the creatively named Katniss Everdeen, indicates about women’s cultural position in the social world. Paul Byrnes opines that The Hunger Games franchise aims to empower young girls ‘by turning the violence back on men’ (2013: n.p.); Suzanne Moore declares that Katniss is a feminist role model, ‘shooting a flaming arrow across a cultural landscape barren of images of young, self-contained female strength’ (2013: n.p.); whereas David Cox ponders whether contemporary action heroines are a symbol of gender equality or ‘macho’ male imitators (2013: n.p.).
KeywordsCinema Screen Narrative Discourse Female Protagonist Popular Cinema Femme Fatales
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