In this session we talk up a few Masks.
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V For Vendetta (2006) – The “Guy Fawkes” Mask
Released in 2006, V for Vendetta is a film based on the original 1982 graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Set in a futuristic, dystopian United Kingdom, V for Vendetta tells the story of V (played by Hugo Weaving) and his quest to bring down a fascist, corrupt government. Through a series of calculated terrorist acts, V hopes to ignite the citizens in a revolution against the status quo. One of the most visually striking images to come from the film is the “Guy Fawkes” mask V dawns to conceal his true identity; at this point, the mask has taken on somewhat of a cultural meaning, and has been used as a visual tentpole to demonstrate civil unrest as well as highlight corruption. There is no doubt that the “Guy Fawkes” mask remains a favorite in the Diabolical Penthouse, if for no other reason than it’s appearance usually gets people talking- and that’s never a bad thing. If you have yet to view the V for Vendetta film or read the graphic novel, we highly recommend both. If you’re a fan of The Watchmen or other dystopian tales, V for Vendetta is right up your alley.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – The Masquerade Mask
Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 film produced and directed by, Diabolical Penthouse stalwart, Stanley Kubrick. It has the dubious distinction of being the last project Kubrick worked on as he passed away shortly after the film was completed. Eyes Wide Shut is loosely based on the 1926 novella Dream Story– and while we could analyze the film at length, for our purposes, we really wanted to hone in on the mysterious Masquerade invitational Tom Cruise’s character partakes in. We are presented with a pretty wild scene where socialites dawn masquerade masks and partake in, what can only be described as very lucid, sexual acts. The idea is that the use of the mask helps these individuals live out their deepest fantasies without the risk being recognized or chastised. In this sense, Masquerades, as well as the masquerade mask, have long been associated with duplicity and acting out illicit, often illegal, transgressions. It’s these types of gatherings where the power of anonymity takes center stage and you see what, even the noblest of men, are capable of given a lack of consequences. As for the film, while we can’t say it’s Kubrick’s best work, we can give it a recommendation if for nothing else than the masquerade scenes. Trust us, it’ll stay with you for a bit.
El Santo – The Luchador Mask
One of the great traditions in all of Mexico is that of Luchador wrestlers and the culture around their masks and identities. To the Luchador, the mask is everything and should the mask ever be removed in public, it is presumed that Luchador’s career is over. Perhaps the greatest of all Mexican Luchadores is El Santo who was a fixture in Mexican popular culture for nearly five decades. El Santo was one of the first to really make the Luchador lifestyle popular beyond just the wrestling ring. While a great athlete and wrestler in his own right, El Santo probably became more known for the many films and other forms of popular media he appeared in from the late 50’s to mid 70’s. El Santo is credited with starting the masked wrestler craze in Mexican culture, a phenomena that, to this day, is still alive and well respected. You have to marvel at the level of success El Santo had, as at one point, he might well have been the most popular man in Mexico. For us in the Diabolical Penthouse, however, we love El Santo, and most Luchadores for that matter, for the simple fact that they are the closest to real life superheroes. They dawn a mask and from the mask achieve great popularity and acclaim; however, at any time, they can take the mask off and perfectly blend into regular society. You have to admire that sort of duplicity; and for our money, there is no other phenomena like it in the world.
Artwork Provided By:
Bunny Pasig: http://artauxeo.deviantart.com/