Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
My dear passengers, our voyage today is towards a classic in which politics is treated in an extreme way: by the title you already know, but did you really notice the similarities between the movie and our current days?
I, Sel, am leaving today to the world of V and I hope you tag along with me.
Are you ready?
V for Vendetta has always been a story that’s not far from reality – maybe back then it was something we wouldn’t imagine to live, but we surely can’t say the same today, once not only we’ve been through governments that harmed their population, but also through a disease that left everyone confined on their homes, unemployed and, mostly, dead.
We are all aware of the situation we live in and mainly how the movie we’ll talk about today has similarities with our current situation.
About the Movie – V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta is a 2005 movie, inspired in a comic series with the same name, created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
The plot is set on the end of the 2020 decade – yes, exactly on the year we are, and this isn’t even the most shocking fact about this prevision. There, the world is in crisis and war – which, depending on the point of view, we can conclude we’re going through the same; the United States isn’t a super potency anymore as the consequence of a civil war and, the craziest and most important fact: a mortal pandemics of the “Santa Maria virus” that devastated the European continent happens (it looks like coronavirus changed its name to show up on the big screens years ago).
On the movie, the United Kingdom remains as one of the few stable countries under the fascist and totalitary regime of the party Norsefire, commanded by the High Chanceler Adam Sutler.
Political oppositions, homossexuals and other “undesired” people are arrested and sent to concentration camps – which is something very important to be talked about, once, further in the movie, it’s something the plot introduces us to.
But, following the plot, we have as main character Evey Hammond – portrayed by Natalie Portman – a woman who works at the British state television network. The movie starts with her and an attempted rape by the members of the secret police, who are known as the “Fingermen”. Evey is rescued by a “vigilante” with a Guy Fawkes mask and known as “V”.
“Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.”– V’s speech when meeting Evey
He offers her a chance to see a show of explosions in first hand, taking her to a roof to watch the destruction of the Old Bailey building, in London, that he himself has caused.
The Norsefire quickly explains the incident as an “emergency demolition” of a building that was structurally unstable – showing one more time how politics manipulates true facts. It isn’t too different from current days, for instance: when presidents forbid disclosing numbers of deaths on the pandemics we’re going through.
However, on V’s case, he soon intercedes for his action: interrupting TV’s transmissions to take on the responsibility for it, apart from encouraging the British people to rise against their government – which harms them more than helps them – meeting him in one year from that moment, on the 5th of November, in front of the Parlament; the building he promises to destroy on this date.
Evey helps V to escape from the TV network headquarters, but is knocked out during it, ending up being taken to V’s house – the famous shadow gallery, where he possesses rare items stolen from the government.
V has a strong and athoritary personality in my opinion – his leadership streak makes him like that, whether he wants it or not. V says Evey should be hidden until the 5th of November – Guy Fawkes’ Night – of the next year; but after acknowledging V is murdering government officials, she runs away to her boss’ house, because she’s scared.
Her boss, the comediant and talk show host Gordon Deitrich, in return for Evey trusting her security to him, reveals a collection of forbidden materials by the government – as we know, things that took people on ways against the totalitarian government; being those: subversive paintings, an old Koran and homoerotic photographies by Robert Mapplethorpe, which were extremely forbidden, once, for them, it would incite a forbidden type of behaviour.
Deitrich, who is homossexual, explains he has to hide his real sexuality in order to maintain his carrer on television – I know we are in 2020, but I want to take the opportunity to talk about how this is present currently and not only with the choices people make, but also with the genders they are born with.
With the movie starting with Evey almost being raped by Fingermen, a government who incites improvements and change certainly wouldn’t put people like that on those positions – after all, the person’s personality would, at some point, betray them, making them a risk to the other citizen’s welfare.
On this case, we can see how authority abuse was huge, because, at the moment she recognizes them, she gets scared of what could happen. Nothing surprisingly different from present days; NOTHING different from the society we live in.
And, another opportunity to bring examples like the Brazilian case of Mariana Ferrer’s rape, don’t you think? On it, we can see Justice not being made, in which authority’s abuse was used to humiliate her and, of course, we cannot leave aside the fact that people with power and money use that to obtain authority.
Evey wasn’t using shor clothes or anything that some people say to “encourage” the act – in this case, what would be Evey’s future if V hadn’t shown up?
The authority abuse would win and, once more, justice would never be made – similar, isn’t it? It just goes to show that, definitely, we aren’t far from a reality that years before was seen as something shocking.
The government and society that was created – with dubious principles – made me think a lot about how abuse of power is seen currently as something normal annd that it needs a lot for people to see that, in reality, IT ISN’T SOMETHING NORMAL – or, at least, it shouldn’t be.
Let’s reflect about V in all that. The man only became what he became, because he has been through a lot. Everything was a change made from the moment he was taken to one of the places the government made what they wanted to people who didn’t fit their patterns.
Tortures, repression, experiments, etc.
Which happened, also, after Gordon made a government satire during his TV show. His house is invaded by government agents and Evey is captured while trying to escape. The woman also has a strong and unique personality: her parents were activists who were killed and his brother was also dead.
The woman has been through many complicated situations, so she knew how to deal with the worse – and knew that V’s cause was for a higher purpose, and, for that, after being arrested and tortured for days, with the goal of obtaining info about V’s whereabouts, she didn’t break. Her only comfort were notes written by another prisioner in a piece of toilet paper she found on her cell: an actress called Valerie Page, who was arrested for being homossexual.
Although Evey literally hates V at first – because, to a certain extent, she finds out her arrest is because of him – the woman realizes she is a stronger person than before being arrested. That makes her promise V to return before the 5th of November to be present on his great moment.
In general, it’s all part of a big manipulation: the virus was part of a plan from the government to obtain support from the community – once, if they know were the disease comes from, they know the cure, right? The government promotes its things with the goal of improvements and progress for something bigger and better, but can it really guarantee you that?
Well, some clear examples are around to show us that from the moment the government takes charge, everything changes.
It depends on the government to fulfill its promises or not.
It depends on the government to maintain the welfare of its people or not.
In my memory, one of the most marking things from the movie, apart from the main character never revealing his face and using V’s identity as himself, is the end.
V distributes clothes equal to his – because, after all, those who participate are him and are part of him, because they bring the same objectives; which is fighting against a system that imprisions people – not only physically, but also mentally.
Therefore, his plan is put in action, leaving on Evey’s hands the final choice, knowing he wouldn’t be able to make the final decision.
And, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812, the Parlament and the Big Ben explode and are destroyed while Evey and Finch (the one responsible by the case) watch to it. Finch, curious as all of us, asks Evey what was V’s identity – to which she responds the most marking phrase of the movie, in my opinion.
“He was Edmond Dantès. And he was my father, and my mother, my brother, my friend. He was you and me. He was all of us.”
Showing that V was someone who obtained success in his cause – even if in an extreme form – but that all of us could do something; because there’s a V in each of us.
- V for Vendetta uses the Gunpowder Conspiracy as a historical inspiration for V, which contributes to his language and appearance.
For example, the names Rookwood, Percy and Keyes are used on the movie, which are also the names of the three gunpowder conspirators (Ambrose Rookwood, Thomas Percy and Robert Keyes).
- The movie creats parallels with the work The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, on stablishing direct comparisons between V and Edmond Dantès (in both stories, the hero flees from an unfair and traumatic prision and spends decades preparing to have his revenge against his opressors under a new persona);
- The movie is also explicit on portraing V as the personification of an idea or ideal, instead of a person, and it does that through V’s dialogues on portraing him as someone without past, identity or face;
- “the use of Guy Fawkes’ mask and persona by V works as a practical and symbolical element of the plot. He wears the mask to hide his physical scars and to hide his identity – he becomes the idea per se.”
- As observed, the plot and the style of the movie has elements similar to the work The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux. Both V and the Phantom wear masks to hide their deformations, have a tragical past and are motivated by vengeance. The relationship between V and Evey is also similar to many of the romantic elements of The Phantom of the Opera, in which the masked Phantom takes Christine Daaé to his underground hideout in order to reeducate her;
As a movie about fight between freedom and State opression, V for Vendetta takes to our imaginary many classical totalitarian icons, from reality or fiction, such as:
- The Third Reich and the book 1984, by George Orwell;
- The Big Brother;
- There’s also the use of the state of vigilance of the masses, such as the use of the closed circuit TV network to monitor their citizens;
- The character Valerie was sent to a detention center for being homossexual and, after that, suffers mediccal experiences, referencing the persecution of homossexuals and Jews by Nazi Germany;
- The name Adam Sutler is inspired by the name Adolf Hitler. Sutler’s histerical speech is also inspired on Hitler’s style, although his targets of persecution now include Muslims instead of the Jews that Hitler presecuted;
- On the plot, the Norsefire party substitutes the Saint George’s Cross by Lorena’s Cross as a national symbol. This was a symbol used by the free French war forces during the Second World War, as a traditional symbol of French patriotism, which could be used as a response to Nazi’s swastika.
We can all search for change – not neccessarily like V did – on simple ways that are at our reach; our reach of choice and making it happen.
With that, I end my post asking you something important.
We have elections – small here in Brazil, but still, extremely important – coming soon. In order to make the big society better, we have to, first, help our own community. So vote counciously: city counselor or mayor, vote thinking not only about you, but about the others.
The same applies for the next President elections: be aware of your choices.
Because you have the right to live better,
You have the right to live with a good life quality.
You have the right.
We from the Sisterhood of the Moon will make what’s on our rech to make the difference in our community. And, mainly, we’ll do everything in our rech, always seeking a better world for us and for those who will live on it.
What about you? Tell us how you see a better world or how you can change it your way: leave a comment telling us what would be a better world for you.
“Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer. Thus destroyers topple empires; make a canvas of clean rubble where creators then can build another world.”– V for Vendetta