Barbie Blues (2011)

*. It’s the basic porn set-up. A hot girl (Mika) lounges by the pool in a bikini. She sees a dead bird floating in the water. For some reason she feels inadequate to the task of scooping it out with the skimmer so she calls on her new neighbour to come help.
*. The neighbour (Gershon) isn’t the classic pool boy. He’s older, overweight, wears glasses, is bald. But he gets the bird out of the pool and Mika proceeds to flirt with him. She tosses him in the pool. She asks him to inspect her pedicure. She gets him to rub lotion on her back. Just looking at the script you’d know where this was going. Are Mika and Gershon familiar with the script as well? How could they not be? They grew up with the Internet.
*. We can feel the tension rising. From the looks Gershon gives Mika we know she’s playing with fire. The industry definition of a happy ending is inevitable. This upsets Mika, naturally, but she seems to get over it quickly. After all, things might have been worse.
*. I don’t think there’s a whole lot going on here aside from the obvious question of how we apportion blame. This is a slippery point. There is a sexual assault and we don’t want to say Mika was asking for it. We are made to wonder, however, just what it was she was thinking. The signals being sent in such a situation are notoriously hard to interpret, but she’s clearly being provocative in a way that goes beyond merely being friendly. The escalation is on her. Is she without any responsibility for what happens?
*. Looking at things from Gershon’s point of view, is this a case of an assault being more about dominance than sex? That is, to the extent the two can be separated. Note that he doesn’t call Mika a slut or a whore. He calls her a spoiled brat.
*. It’s not obvious how we should judge Mika and Gershon, but then being obvious would kill a short film like this. The dead falcon suggests something destructive in the natural order of things, the chlorinated pool as a form of honey trap. Mika’s going back to just doing what she was doing before this all got started might mean what? Resignation? Indifference? What does the title refer to? The signals are hard to read.

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