The Waist as Feminine in The Terrorist

While I watched the movie “The Terrorist”, I couldn’t help but notice how many times Malli’s waist was emphasized in different camera shots.  There’s the shot at the very beginning, when she is being measured for the belt that will eventually be the weapon that she conceals.  She is just as tough as any male in her camp, but when the shirt is drawn in and her waist is revealed, it struck me as something very intentional, so I kept an eye out for it in the film.

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Her waist at first struck me as a constant reminder that she was female, that she had a woman’s body, no matter how much she could act like a man.  When her pregnancy was revealed, it only heightened her femininity, but I also noticed how her waist suddenly changed for her.

At first, her waist was just a means to convey a bomb.  It transported death with it, and she was willing to use it to kill.  However, with the revelation that she was about to have a baby, everything changed.  Suddenly, she becomes protective of her waist, encircling it with her arm as she watches children at play, or as she sleeps.  Suddenly, having the bomb around it conjures a new experience for the viewer, as how can one have such an object of destruction so near the beginnings of a new life?

I found it fascinating how Malli’s waist could convey so many different meanings, and evoke different emotions every time I saw it.  I thought all her waist shots were very well made, and very cleverly planned throughout the film to show Malli in her all her different stages to show that she might be willing to die for her cause, but at heart she’s still capable of being a mother, and that was what mattered most in the end, or so I thought.


One thought on “The Waist as Feminine in The Terrorist

  1. I think this is a really good observation. Malli’s waist was the focus and I do agree that it did signify a shift in the film. I think the image of the bomb on her waist after we learn she is pregnant is such a powerful image. This film reminded me of Kill Bill because after Beatrix Kiddo found out she was pregnant she no longer wanted to live the assassin lifestyle, same with Malli. Malli became conflicted about her purpose and in the end decided that bringing a life into this world was more important than taking one away.

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