Emma’s Random (Reylo) Thoughts Part 2

So, I return to the idea of the Reylo ship (see part 1 for more details) and this one will detail both what Reylo devotees see as evidence that Reylo is canon (a part of the film) and the criticisms of this interpretation of the film.

1 Many people who support the idea of Reylo point, first of all, to the scene where Kylo Ren and Rey meet.  For reasons that I talked about in the prior post, it is strange.  Think about it.  Imagine, for a second, that Rey and Kylo Ren are nothing more than protagonist/antagonist.  The screenwriter, director, composer, and many others all decide, the following.  “Ok, now this is the scene where the heroine and the villain meet.  We need to set up that dynamic for the rest of the movies.  The best way to do that is to have the villain sweep the heroine off her feet, hold her in his arms, and carry her over the threshold of his ship.  Oh!  And the music should swell!”


Imagine this scene another way.  Imagine that Kylo Ren, instead of using the force to knock her out and swoops her up in his arms, hits her over head with his lightsaber to knock her out.  He then allows her to fall to the ground and forces the stormtroopers to drag her back to his ship.

2 Then there is the interrogation scene.  As I said prior, the interrogation scene is deliberately set up to mirror the first scene with Poe.


Look at this image.  Notice how dark the scene is, with only a little light on Poe.  Notice how Kylo Ren is entirely in shadow, reminiscent of the Grim Reaper.  I also almost feel as though their is a bit of forced perspective at play.  While Adam Driver is tall, they seem to emphasizing his size in this shot, and making Poe look diminished.  This adds to the menace.

Now look at this image in the scene where Kylo Ren interrogates Rey.


It is a very similar shot, but in important ways, they are opposites.  The room is brightly lit; there is no “horror movie” vibe.  Second of all, Kylo Ren is kneeling before her; he is no menacing presence.

Once again, this is the scene where the director is trying to set up the protagonist and antagonist.  In the theater, they talk a lot about the stakes of the scene.  Normally, when protagonists and antagonists meet, they want to establish the antagonist as a threat.  The audience should feel that the antagonist is a threat to the protagonist, and the audience must doubt, at least for a moment, that the protagonist will triumph.  And yet, in this scene, they do exactly the opposite.  The scene mitigates the threat that Kylo Ren poses to Rey.  Indeed, she even “defeats” him, resisting his efforts to probe her mind and eventually reading his own mind.

Put it this way.  Imagine, for example, that this scene had begun by showing Rey’s face.  It is beaten and bloody, as Poe’s face was.  Kylo Ren towers over Rey , masked, and begins reading her mind.  The reading is painful and she screams with pain, just as Poe did.  That is a very different scene than what we have.

I could go on, but I briefly want to get to the controversy.

Many people online are opposed to Reylo because they feel that it glorifies an abusive relationship.  They point to the kidnapping, the mind reading, and the fact that he threw her against a tree. All of these events are true.  For anti’s, this dynamic is not adversarial, but abusive.  Even if they do not hold it as abusive, they feel that Disney successfully established the protagonist/antagonist dynamic in the film and there is no alternate interpretation.

Many others criticize Reylo as racism.  Rey and Finn, as I have said before, are good friends and have a cute, puppy love chemistry in moments in the film.  To many, the fact that fans would rather see Rey end up with Kylo Ren (who is white) than with Finn (who is black) smacks of racism.

Others accuse Reylo if sexism.  They point out that if Rey redeems Kylo Ren in some way and marries him, or joins the dark side and works with him, then the story ultimately becomes about Kylo Ren, not Rey.  They also point out that it is not a woman’s job to fix a man.

I should also point out the men who may not be aware of Reylo, but who feel that Kylo Ren is irredeemable after killing Han Solo.  Many men who grew up watching the original trilogy feel a strong kinship with Han, and for them, Kylo Ren murdering his father sealed his fate and his path to the darkside.

Ok, I gave a brief summary of a bit of the evidence that Reylo supporters cite when they talk about Reylo as well as sum of the arguments about it.

Up next, will be my views on the subject and what I think Disney should do next.


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Star Wars and Human Rights

Ok, I am going to have to get really, really nerdy on you right now.

A few months ago I went to a meeting about politics for young people and one guy wrote about how he and a friend were arguing about human rights and Star Wars.  His friend felt that the Star Wars galaxy was better off under the Empire than under the Republic.  He reasoned that the Republic did not do anything to eliminate slavery on Tatooine, whereas the Empire had banned the practice.  (Is that true?  I don’t remember that in the movies.  Is that from the books?)   But setting aside whether or not the Emperor really eliminated slavery, the friend argued that because human rights was better under the Empire, the galaxy was better off under the Empire than the Republic.

The young man at the meeting disagreed and argued with his friend, and the friend said, “I guess that I care more about human rights than you do.”

Of course, I side with the young man at the meeting.  Here’s why.

1 First of all, I would argue that human rights were not better off under the Empire.  The Empire blew up a planet, Alderaan.  Blowing up a planet is a human rights violation.  This is even more true of Alderaan.  I remember reading in my brother’s book about Star Wars characters and it stated that weapons and violence were banned on Alderaan, and Princess Leia says that “Alderaan is peaceful, we have no weapons.”  In other words, blowing up Alderaan is the equivalent of nuking Switzerland.

2 Second of all, even if the Emperor did eliminate slavery from the Empire, that is not necessarily a victory for human rights.  If the right not to be a slave can be dispensed on high from the Emperor (without any justification under individual rights, morality, or the rule of law) but purely by fiat, then the Emperor can similarly revoke the freedom of a large group of people, purely by fiat.  The rights of the people are less secure in such a system.  I would much prefer a Republic than an Empire for rights.  In a Republic, rights may be more difficult to obtain, but once they are obtained, they are far more secure.

Ok, nerding out finished.

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Bruckner’s Seventh

My mom and I did get to hear Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony on Saturday.  It was conducted by Franz Welser-Most.  He even wrote the musical guide in the program!  He has a real thing for Bruckner.

I had never heard of Bruckner before but I really enjoyed the concert.

This is a short clip of Welser-Most conducting Bruckner’s Seventh with the Cleveland Orchestra.


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Artist’s Garden in Argentuil by Claude Monet


I saw this painting in person a little over a year ago at the Cleveland Museum of Art as a part of the Impressionist series about the garden.  It was the first of three exhibits to kick off their centennial year, and it was by far the best.

I believe this picture is from the National Gallery of Art.

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Nostalgic Films

I saw La La Land on Monday.  I enjoyed the film; the acting was good, the story was well told, I liked the music and it was well shot.  But it made me think about the role of nostalgia in film.

Film is an art form, and like any art form, film has changed drastically in the past 100 years.  We ended up discussing that today briefly at work, when we were discussing ’80’s movies.  My co-worker even placed 1984 as the last year of the 80’s film.  (For the epitome of the 80’s movie, see Flashdance.  That film eightied more than any other film ever eightied before.)

Naturally, artists are inspired by their predecessors.  But what do we make of films that are incredibly nostalgic, and self-referential?

When I watched La La Land, I kept thinking about the movie The Artist.  They are both done in the style of an earlier form of film (silent films and the 1950’s musical).  But how well do they hold up?  I have not seen The Artist in several years; I don’t know if the conceit of the silent film in modern day holds up.  Will La La Land hold up in future years?

I have no idea.  But I do know that the audience in my theater burst into applause after the opening number.

Postscript: The movie itself is aware of these dangers.  A key exchange between two characters points out that a person who consistently looks to the past can never be a revolutionary.

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Madonna at the Fountain James van Eyck

The Cleveland Museum of Art was fortunate to receive this painting as a part of its Centennial Loan program from the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp.

I took this picture on my cellphone.


Happy New Year everyone!  May 2017  be better than 2016, no matter what you thought of 2016.

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Te Deum for Empress Maria Theresa by Haydn

I was privileged to hear the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus perform this piece back in November.

According to the program, this is not for the famous Maria Theresa (one of the most powerful women in Europe and mother of Marie Antoinette) but rather the second wife of Emperor Franz II.

This is a recording of the Ravenna Festival.


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