Emma’s Random (Reylo) Thoughts Part 10: Triumph of the Bridal Carry

I really enjoyed writing about the interrogation scene, so I wanted to talk more about the bridal carry scene.  But before I do that, I want to talk about Triumph of the Will.

Triumph of the Will , directed by Leni Reifenstal, is a well known Nazi propaganda film.  One of my history teachers basically insisted that we all see the film.  The use of Nazi imagery is a common way for filmmakers to show to tell the audience that the Bad Guys are the Bad Guys.

We see a bit of it in The Two Towers.

We see it more explicitly in The Lion King.

The question is, is J.J Abrams aware of this motif in film?

That’s a yes.

I started with this because the Nazi imagery is a very convenient way to show that the Bad Guys are the Bad Guys.  Because most people (sadly, not all) realize that Nazis=Bad, it would be strange to show the Good Guys using Nazi imagery.  This would immediately add an ambiguity to the film.  Are the Good Guys really Good?  Are the Bad Guys really Bad?  This means that filmmakers must be aware of the common meaning of symbols, and use them carefully, otherwise they may send the wrong message.

Which brings me to the Bridal Carry scene.

Unfortunately, there is not a short clip of that scene, but the Battle of Takodana does contain it.

Now, as I have said before, this imagery has a very clear meaning in film.  Drawing on the image of the groom carrying the bride over the threshold (and restricted from showing sexual acts on screen by the Hays Code) the filmmakers needed to be creative in how they expressed sexuality.  One way monster films found was to show the monster carrying an unconscious woman in his arms.

I did not see The Force Awakens in the theater, but I saw a clip of the bridal carry in the Screen Junkies Honest Trailer for the film.  When I saw the bridal carry, I was shocked.  Even the guys on Collider Videos, when they watched the bridal carry scene in their commentary on the film, shouted out, “It’s just like the monster movies!”  That’s right guys.  It is just like the monster movies.  Now what does it mean when they show it in the monster movies?

To me, one of the questions about the possibility of Reylo in the Star Wars films is a very simple one.  Is J.J. Abrams a good director?  A good director is aware of the meaning of images and symbols and uses them strategically to convey meaning to the audience.  (As for Death of the Author, I agree with Lindsey Ellis.  Filmmakers’ intent do matter, but only insofar as they know the language of film, and how to use film language to convey their meaning.)

So, is J.J. Abrams aware of the meaning of the bridal carry in films?  Is he aware that this image in film was used by directors as a sexually suggestive image?  This is not a purely academic question.  J.J.Abrams was recently tapped to direct the last filIm of the Star Wars trilogy.  Because if J.J. Abrams is not aware of the meaning of symbols in his film, we could very well see Luke Skywalker give a speech filmed like this.

I really hope he’s a good director.

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2 Responses to Emma’s Random (Reylo) Thoughts Part 10: Triumph of the Bridal Carry

  1. I understand your question, and I do believe that JJ knows what the symbolism behind the carry is. Isn’t it filmmaking 101? And even if he doesn’t, he’s an American, a Western male; there is no chance he doesn’t know the significance of a man dressed in black carrying a woman in white(ish) over a threshold. Both have sexual connotations.
    I frequently see anti-Reylos say that the carry is the same as Chewie carrying Finn onto the Falcon.
    Finn was gravely injured which negates the traditional meaning of carrying someone over the threshold. Now, I don’t assume that you don’t know that; in fact, I’m sure you do. I was simply pointing out a frequent counterpoint offered vis a vis the monster or bridal carry.
    Back to the specific carry – JJ goes to great pains to ensure that the viewer SEES this. He literally shows it to us FOUR times. He wasn’t being subtle. It’s also an excellent counterpoint to how Poe is literally dragged by stormtroopers onto the transport as opposed how Rey is carried (at personal risk to Kylo Ren) on board his personal shuttle.
    It defies credulity to think that doesn’t mean something significant.

    • I am so glad you pointed out that JJ makes sure the audience sees this 4 times, including zooming in on the two of them as he carries her over the threshold of his ship. Plus, as you said, the scene already contrasts with how Poe was carried into the the ship. If JJ does not mean anything with this, and especially if he is unaware of the sexual connotation of the act, then JJ is a terrible director and I am desperately afraid for episode 9 because it will likely be a muddled mess.

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