Scandinavia, fuck yeah! Four Swedish movie theaters are rejecting the widely-used MPAA movie ratings system in favor of introducing a rating system based on the Bechdel Test to evaluate films based on their gender diversity. “The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction, and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test,” Ellen Tejle, who runs the Stockholm art-house theater Bio Rio, explained while naming, um, all the most popular films of the last thirty years and generally crushing a part of my soul.
Telje believes that moviegoers’ perceptions of women in society are negatively affected when they never get to see, for instance, “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them.” The initiative is supported by the Swedish Film Institute, and apparently a Swedish cable station has also adopted it as well, planning a marathon of A Grade films including The Hunger Games, The Iron Lady, and Savages.
I would also like to mention the existence of a new test along these lines, named for Mako Mori, the main character in Pacific Rim, that focuses on individual female characters and the importance (and/or independence) of their narrative arcs. I would also like to suggest that perhaps both of these tests should be used, repeatedly, until the day comes when we no longer need them at all.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Sweden.
Someday, with enough hard work and practice, Leah Schnelbach will learn how to spell “Scandinavia” correctly, the first time, without looking it up.