July 28, 2021

On a day like today, an empowerment icon was released: Thelma & Louise

They are never seen as murderers, although the police hunt them down for a crime they did commit; they are never seen as thieves, even though they are outlaws because they stole; They are never seen as threatening, although revolvers in hand were as capable of tormenting a lustful driver and blowing up his tanker truck as they were of locking an officer in the trunk of his patrol car who had stopped them on the road for speeding. . Thelma and Louise, in reality, were that and much more, because in times when feminism had not taken on the universal force of recent years, they represented and put on the billboard the empowerment of women. The one who rebels against the social circle that surrounds her, the one who does not allow herself to be subdued by the system, the one who reacts and acts as best she can in the face of abuse, the one who chooses her destiny without conditioning.

It is true that that free destiny that awaits them ends up being death, for which they choose to face the despair generated by the thought of a life of confinement. And it will be possible to reflect that the world and its societies must still evolve enough to release all the ties still pending, but without denying this Hollywood film released 30 years ago, having broken a mold, planting a seed that mutated into a strong root in favor of the fight to break inequality.

The years – and the rise of the video stores of the 90s – turned it into a cult film, which was enjoyed in the cinema but much more on home TV that allowed us to see it on more than one occasion and fix situations that were then very striking. One of them, that two women they were the main protagonists of a film and that the plot never put them as rivals, but as friends first and, finally, unconditional allies. The author of the script, Callie Khouri, who won the Oscar in that area with Thelma & Louise, said that much of her motivation to write this story went through removing women from the passive role that they always occupied in American cinema. “They never drove history because they never even drove a car”, he once explained. The film, of course, takes place through a trip through the American desert on an old Ford convertible.

Thelma y Louise

The role of the vehicle is as important as that of both women (Thelma, played by actress Geena Davis, and Louise, by Susan Sarandon). These three pieces make up the final scene, which ended up giving the work directed by the English filmmaker, Ridley Scott, a symbolic character that lasts through time. Cornered between a line of patrol cars and the emptiness of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, the women decide not to surrender but not to shoot with the policemen who point their rifles at them and only wait for an order to fire. Louise will then accept Thelma’s proposal to “move on”, will kiss her on the mouth as a farewell – it was an idea from Sarandon that was not in the script and which the director accepted – and will step on the accelerator fully while they intertwine their hands, in a grip that will unite them for eternity.

So much united them, that both protagonists became great friends, a relationship they have maintained over time. And they accepted MGM’s proposal to hold a special screening of the film to honor it three decades after its premiere (it will be today, outdoors, at a drive-in in Los Angeles, with a previous conference in which the actresses will answer questions from the press and also the fans). Geena Davis, in fact, had such a strong identification with the film, that since then she became an activist for women’s rights both in Hollywood and in other areas, such as women’s sports and gender equality in the media. communication, either for increase the presence of women in different productions, so that they can earn the same as men in the face of similar activity, or break stereotypes where they can get trapped.

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis

“The relationship of intensity between the audience and the film was surprising, because ultimately Thelma and Louise end up jumping into the Grand Canyon and viewers are still excited about their story,” reflects Davis, with a smile, although in a more serious tone reveals his feelings: “It made me realize how few opportunities we women have to finish watching a movie and leave the theater feeling inspired and empowered. by the female characters. This film changed everything about how I chose my roles in the future.”. For six years, the actress has also been a promoter of the Bentonville Film Festival and aims for diversity and inclusion, both in front of and behind the camera.

This production, which had a cost of 16 million dollars and a collection of more than 45 million -only in ticket sales-, put sexual abuse as a traumatic and painful trance for those who suffer it or suffered it. In fact, the knot of the story is triggered when Louise, who had been raped in her teens, shoots a man who was about to rape Thelma. And they decide to escape instead of making a complaint to the police because “no one would have believed us and I was dancing with that man all night: they would say that I looked for him”, as Thelma assures her friend, whom she thanks for having it. saved and asks him not to feel guilty about what they were living through. Of course, in that flight began the persecution that led to the final decision.

The development of the award-winning script touches on other abusive points, beyond the sexual, such as Thelma’s faded life in her home in the shadow of a successful, wealthy and possessive husband, or Louise’s daily sacrifice to work as a waitress while her boyfriend enjoy your life as a musician without responsibilities or commitments. The desire to live a “different” weekend is based on these two individual paintings, just for them, because “two days in life never come at all bad”, as Fito Páez portrayed in a perfect synopsis made into song.

“When we were filming Thelma & Louise we had no idea what kind of cultural impact it would continue to have for decades. At that time it was revolutionary to have two women in a movie who were not enemies and had fun together. I think that was one of the greatest advances, because today there are many brilliant actresses who make films in which women are not adversaries to each other and have the power to determine their own destiny “, reflects Susan Sarandon, Louise, 30 years then, emphasizing the possibility that women can determine their own destiny.

The freedom that this film shows does not pass only by choosing to die with dignity over living badly, but it also reaches the entire odyssey through which they pass. That begins with the decision to go alone, leaving their partners without explanations, continues to stand up to abuse and injustice, continues in rebellion to advance even with the uncertainties and fears that may arise – many products of the cultural construction of the gender weakness-, it is strengthened in the personality to wield a revolver and shoot anyone who tries to humiliate them, until ending in the jump to eternal life, that eternalization in Thelma & Louise moves 30 years later. And that he is preparing to celebrate his legacy and his characters, which time and the reverence of the public, made iconic.

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Capture from the movie.