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What with torture, politics, enclosed space and Roman Polanski being dead serious, Death and the Maiden is a masochist's idea of a good time. Frankly, I was ready for a swig of Kia-Ora and a quiet snooze, only Sigourney Weaver (far right) suddenly started bashing Ben Kingsley (right) about the bonce with a gun, and Ben couldn't do a thing about it, and not because he was still playing Gandhi, but because Sigourney, the strapping thing, had tied him up real tight, and boy, did I get excited. "Hit him, Siggy" I screeched. The man in front of me spilled his popcorn , but I didn't care. "Smack him! Go on! Get the flex of the electric kettle and whip him big time! Unzip him and bring on the Magimix!"

I keep forgetting that, as sexist as cinema is, it's still one of the few places you can watch women being violent, even if the movies these moments adorn - The Assassin, Single White Female, The Rookie, Natural Born Killers - are more interested in pathology than gender defiance. Not that women being violent is necessarily against "nature". Growing up in Belfast, I saw the gals routinely give as good as they got, including my Mum, who once casually bashed my Dad with a poker.

Now, that could be why I adore girls with metaphorical boxing gloves - happy childhood memories. That and seeing the tables turned, of course: the joy of seeing Bridget Fonda shoot imperfect strangers, Jennifer Jason Leigh employing the stiletto (heel), Sonia Braga taking a knife to Clint Eastwood, Juliette Lewis mowing down the nearest male... isn't this what they used to call liberation?

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