Anger is a Liquid

Lilian Robl | Germany | 2020 | 8 mins


Anger is a Liquid Synopsis

Anger Is a Liquid deals with the connection between gender and emotion. In three chapters, the suppression of and one’s own handling of anger in female socialized bodies is thematized and examined from historical, sociological and psychological perspectives:

In ‘Medusa’s monologue‘, the mythical figure of Medusa recounts her true fate in a monologue addressed to her rage, acting as a matriarchal tutelary goddess who continually pours oil on the fire and thus maintains women’s rage as a genuinely ‘feminine virtue’.

In ‘Vectors‘, two young women perform an exercise adopted from anti-aggression training that is meant to make the physical affects of rage tangible. The Medusa head is now merely a simulacrum on their fake brand clothing.

The final chapter – ‘Anger is like liquid‘ – is a reflection on linguistic metaphors of anger and culminates in a thesis on angry speech. Anger, as a liquid, passes through different stations and takes on different manifestations, ignites fires, overflows: Female anger – insofar as it is justified – can be a powerful tool for not remaining in a passive victim role, but for taking responsibility and experiencing self-efficacy, especially when women join forces.

For even if history books like to keep quiet about it, the driving force behind revolutions was often angry women.

About the Filmmakers

Lilian Robl (*1990) studied fine arts in Munich (DE) and Brussels (BE) and graduated as a master student of Prof. Alexandra Bircken in 2019.

Her work is shown internationally in exhibitions, e.g. Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin (DE); Wienwoche, Sandleitenhof Vienna (AT); fructa space Munich (DE); Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich (CH) as well as at international film and video festivals, e.g. Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR); FILE electronic language festival, São Paulo (BR); Non-syntax Experimental Image Festival, Tokyo (JP); Athens AnimFest (GR); hungry eyes festival Gießen (DE); ALC videoart festival, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Alicante (ES); International Moving Film Festival (IR); Athens Digital Film Festival (GR); International Film Festival with Alternative Media (MX).

She has received artist-in-residence fellowships at the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris (FR), the Institute for Advanced Study Delmenhorst (DE) and RIFT London (GB). Lilian Robl lives and works in Munich, Germany.

More from the Filmmaker

Feelings are gender-neutral – in theory. But in most cultures, the expression and evaluation of feelings follow certain norms, such as gender. For example, many women claim that they never get angry, but sad instead. This is due to their individual character. But it is a misunderstanding to think of one’s self as merely a personal matter – it is always shaped to some extent by social forces as well. Sadness seems to be unconsciously perceived as a more feminine, more elegant, also more selfless and thus for women socially more acceptable emotion than anger.

Even in childhood, girls are often taught – albeit unintentionally – that they should restrain or suppress their anger, in contrast to boys, whose anger tends to be perceived as a natural temperament. I believe that many girls and women are much angrier than they believe themselves to be. However, not only in personal experience, but also in the external perception of society, male and female anger is valued differently: For example, there are various studies that show that male superiors who openly show their anger do not have to reckon with a loss of status, while female superiors who show their anger lose respect and authority and have to reckon with negative consequences.

Accordingly, I believe it is instructive and worthwhile to trace the historical conditions, manifestations, and consequences of female anger at the present point in societal development, and thus to reflect on a larger context of gender and emotion in order to derive predictions, demands, and desires for the future: Anger – insofar as it is justified – can be a powerful instrument for not remaining in a passive victim role, but for taking responsibility and experiencing self-efficacy, especially when women join forces.

Angry women were often the driving force to revolutions, even if history books tend to be silent about it. It was mainly women who marched to Versaille and demanded bread for the people and hereby initiated the French Revolution.

It was the Suffragettes that revolutionized the American election rights. And also Rosa Parks, who triggered the black rights movements of the USA in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person, was not a quiet, submissive woman, but instead a noisy, angry and dedicated activist. So it is no wonder that the climate activist movement is led by a young, angry woman.

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