10 August 2006 | simpsonsfan62
A political allegory
Yes, this movie is very sexy, but unlike 9 1/2 Weeks to which it has been compared, this one has real depth. The sexually charged submission is meant not merely for titillation, but also to underscore the connection between violence and submission. The fact that the movie is set in France during the opening years of WWII is not coincidental. Yes, it's fair game to an extent to refer to the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" but as this movie shows, there are two sides to submitting to another's will.
The movie examines how the French and so many others could so easily give away their freedom and perhaps even come to enjoy it on a certain level. Look around you today: Polls show that a staggering majority of Americans are still willing and eager to give up certain rights in freedom and privacy in exchange for the promise of security and protection. This movie, and when I saw it was under the title "Submission" takes that frightening concept to its logical, or perhaps illogical, extreme. Would any of us walk naked down a street if an employee ordered us to? Yes, we would, provided we were getting something in return.
In the movie, the shopowner is outwardly forceful, even intimidating, to most people. Beneath that lies a deep sense of wanting to be taken care of. Watch this movie at first for the truly erotic qualities, but then watch it again with an eye toward its deeper levels of meaning. That it can be enjoyed as a particularly perverse soft-core sex flick and also as one of the most subversive political statements made on film during the 70s is a testament to its power.