The Polish film "365 Days," streaming at number 1 on Netflix, has the Internet up in arms. Yesterday, Soeurcières, the feminist group, launched a petition demanding its expulsion from the platform. Advocating rape, gender stereotypes and dominant relationships, every possible flaw has been invited to this appalling production which nevertheless succeeded in bringing in more than a million spectators in Poland when it has been released.
Just as the documentary series about the Jeffrey Epstein case is being screened on Netflix, you would have thought the streaming site was just too aware of the consent problems that the #MeToo campaign has recently brought to light. Yet the American giant has proven that this is not the case by broadcasting the Polish romantic thriller "365 Days", directed by Tomasz Mandes and Barbara Biolowas - totally unknown in France.
Culture of rape, and women's infantilization
An Italian mafia's member kidnaps a woman and gives her a year to fall in love with him. Although the pitch sounds like something you would read on the cover of a cheap airport book, it has, for the last few weeks, ignited the internet. Presented as the Polish edition of Fifty Shades of Grey, 365 Days was adapted from Blanka Lipinska's literary saga, and trended on Netflix from the moment it was released on June 7th. Perhaps a spine-chilling success because rape is condoned in this film.
Racism, sexual harassment and the abuse of victims. All of these themes were condensed into 2 (very long) hours. While the poor quality of the script and acting skills leaves the spectator understandably confused, 365 Days stands out for its sexist and insulting content above everything else. The movie's intrigue topic can be summarized in one point: the characters' decay, both male and female. While women are the first targets in this thriller – as weak, venal beings – the men are not much better. They move inanely about like dogs incapable of controlling their desires in front of the women they deem dangerous because of their beauty.
In short: when Laura goes to Sicily, Massimo, the muscle-bound leader of the Italian mafia, kidnaps her. He confesses to being obsessed with the young woman and gives her one year to fall in love with him. "It's hard to act differently when you're used to having something by force," he describes kindly to her as she rejects his advances. You may be forgiven for assuming this was a statement on approval or even rejection acceptance, but 365 Days is nothing more than a putrid stack of clichés. The women in the story are reduced to sexual objects while the swaggering powerful men are brainless. From then on, the only suspense the film might have relied on is the supposed love of Laura for Massimo, and the moment she finally falls for his 'charms.'
A deluge of sexist and vacuous inanities
"Pretty women are heaven to the eyes, but hell to the soul. And wallet purgatory." We're only two minutes into the movie when we hear this phrase from Massimo's father, just before he dies. Although we would like this to be a big joke, in truth, 365 Days takes itself very seriously and is close to being intolerable. If the film is so controversial it's because each scene brings with it its own slew of stereotypes and violence. Just like the moment a woman is forced to fellate a man, and yet we see her smile through her tears. As if rape was a pleasant thing that could satisfy the victim.
"I'm going to fuck you so hard, they're going to hear your screams in Warsaw", "I wouldn't have had to shoot if you weren't dressed like a prostitute", "you need balls to do this job". And so the sexist vulgarities continue throughout the movie. We couldn't count just how many times Massimo asks his victim not to provoke him. Besides being so shockingly misogynistic, 365 Days is revolting as it attempts to dress up kidnapping and rapes in a hot, romantic love story.
All of this explains why a petition has been launched by the French feminist collective known as the Soeurcières to immediately remove the film from Netflix. If the platform refuses to comply, "it will be further evidence that society is spitting in the face of all sexual violence victims," the group has said.
Apparently this year, the movie based on the life of English ex-singer and fashion designer Victoria Beckham is going to be released telling us the story of her complicated relationships with the Spice Girls band members and its producer.