Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

02/04/17, Ghost in the Shell

Bewildered anger from one friend afterwards, in the bar of Cameo cinema. A nonplussed, unimpressed set of views from another. I was embarrassed to compare ratings with them over cider, with my '6.5-out-of-ten' against their two and four. Is Ghost in the Shell so bad? This was its first Saturday showing, and Cameo had moved it to one of their lesser screening rooms. Word has got around, it seems, that it's not a film worth watching.

As a 3D Imax experience, it would have been more spectacular, slightly. But even '3D' won't stop it from being a 2D film in every other sense: the 'philosophy' never goes anywhere, whether you compare it with Blade Runner's meditation on what it is to be human, or Morpheus asking Neo 'what is real?' in The Matrix. Ghost in the Shell wants to be this kind of movie but arguably tries too hard, or at least, too obviously. The mood gets killed by the amount of 'Tell-don't-show': Scarlett Johansson's protagonist, the 'Major,' articulates her disconnectedness by telling people she feels disconnected. With better script writers, this could have been a Blade Runner, but the futuristic imagery – and the dross-like conditions behind the glitz – are never explored or exploited. At the end, we get the kind of statement from Johansson we've heard more poignantly in other films, not least from Nolan's Batman, of the 'It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.' For Ghost in the Shell, it's about memory. We are not our past, or even our memories. We are what we do in the present. The problem is, Johansson's protagonist is rescued by her memory. Her past does define her, ultimately, once she's come into contact with her mother, and when she remembers her crucial past relationship to the mysterious figure she's hunting.

Perhaps, though, I can understand the existential angst this film's expressing, and be grateful that it's trying. You don't want to be chained to your past, you want to feel you're autonomous. It's the illusion of reinvention; I know, because I occupy my own illusion, this past year especially. But I also know that it's important to have illusions and even to reach for them, because people can change even if the illusion is a thing that's anti-climactic. It's a shame the film didn't dig just a little deeper to explore this aspect of ourselves: that constant tension between the way things have been against the way we want them to be, and the spaces of 'nearly-but-not-quite' we fall between as a result. Like Ghost in the Shell itself.

Free Fire 09.04.17
Life 26.03.17


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Monday, 08 March 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...