What would have otherwise been a clear end to a relationship, Gabi asks for the copy of her apartment, becomes an opportunity for Michael to repair his relationship. An opportunity built on the delusional notion that Gabi's real intentions could not possibly be to end the relationship. Rammbock: Berlin Undead is about Michael's transformation from groveling and pathetic creature bowing to the altar of Love to recuperating his self-respect by coming to terms and his regression to ultimately being crushed under the weight of his fantasy. For Michael, the concept of Gabi has is hegemonic. Everything, Michael knows and perceives reverses back to the projection or rather the idea of Gabi. Gabi is an ideal that Michael uses to materialize his sense of self; particularly his self-esteem. Michael, like most men, have been indoctrinated in the masculine ideology that reduces one’s girlfriend to private property.
Chivalry and Control
Woman as private property has its roots in the Christian practice of chivalry. Chivalry was a romantic code that bourgeoisie men used to regulate the reproduction of family and patriotic ideals. What at first was a code among Knights eventually became generalized through romantic fiction and social codes that adopted the normalized and regulated behavior that chivalry could provide. The ideology of chivalry played out in both the private and public modes of production. For example, a knight would shake a dude's hand or kiss a lady's hand of equivalent or above social class, in order to symbolize status. The ritual was a performative. The act gave forced meaning on to the women. Specialized her as a lady, indicating to her and those under the present of the ritual that she was something to be appreciated. In the private, realm chivalry regulated the sexualized division of labor in the household. Men and woman, acted out the social expectation and trained their children to do the same. Chivalry in the home was a way to maintain gender distinctions, and control women through social norms rather than force. Men were held to the task of maintaining their honor in the eyes of their peers and the general public. The public practice of masculine honor became closely associated with one's sense of self. Men came to define their identity in so far as they were recognized for their coherence with chivalry. This subjectivication of chivalry was significantly called into question when women entered the work force during the industrial revolution. Women were now contributing to the income of a household, and de-totalizing men’s control of over a family's money. Over a hundred years later Glass Ceiling is cracked but still firmly holding its place. The fiscal gap between men and women has improved significantly. Thus creating a situation where a working wife is a near necessary component of a family's economic feasibility. With the move towards a less sexuality differential in the household budget, also came an increase of women's power. The sexualized division of labor in the household has become a place of contention. The code of chivalry appears to be dead. Men are taking out the trash, and women are making bank.
Post-Modern Romance and (Pirated) Intellectual Property
What has become of masculinity in the death of Chivalry? Chivalry has lost its material effervescence and has become wholly internalized; signalling the shift between material to intellectual. Before women were men’s private property and now they have become his (pirated) intellectual property. Returning to Michael’s obsession. He has created and internalized, and idea of Gabi that is more real to him than reality. The functional contradiction, Gabi as the fulfillment of Michael’s fantasy, at once structures Michael's reality, and his self-concept. There is a sense in which this internalization and making ones lover into intellectual property defines the post-chivalry.
What has become of masculinity in the death of Chivalry? Chivalry has lost its material effervescence and has become wholly internalized; signaling the shift between the material to intellectual. Before women were men’s private property and now they have become his (pirated) intellectual property. Returning to Michael’s obsession. He has created and internalized, and the idea of Gabi that is more real to him than reality. The functional contradiction, Gabi as the fulfillment of Michael’s fantasy, at once structures Michael's reality, and his self-concept. There is a sense in which this internalization and making one's lover into intellectual property defines the post-chivalry.
The materiality of the relationship has become displaced. Men and woman reduce each other to a concept they have of each other, and in turn seek to become the other’s fantasy. In this sense, post-modern-romance has a shaping effect on subjectivity. We codify our personal existence and modes of being in our fantasy of the others fantasy. Lost to the imagination, romance becomes a mutually transcended fiction. The difference here, between chivalry and post-chivalry for masculinity is in the past a man’s honor was wrapped around the idea of total control over a family's ideology. The dude was in effect the family's ambassador of a societys' culture. The father was the one who taught and regulated a wife and children’s compliance with the dominate order.
The collapse of the head of the household ideology. Blasted the foundation of the key point of misogynist production. Men aren't in charge of the lived reality of the feminine experience. But rather destroying chivalry's grip on the masculine psychology, the psychology continued while the power differential's lost their fixity. Michael here is symptomatic of this disconnect. His desperate longing shows us the lengths in which he is willing to go not just to reinforce his own fantasy, but to conform reality to his fantasy.
Because romance has become a display and interplay of fantasies, honor looses its capacity to regulate a men’s behavior. The fantasy becomes what is real rather than reality itself. Men making poor social controls, the broadcast television steps into reproducing the social controls. Before TV a man’s position puts him in the most powerful communicator of social control to the family, but when the internet and TV has secured a fixed position in the living room, and as a family ritual, men lost their relevance and need to control their honor. TV didn't kill the radio start it killed the materialization of misogynist hegemony.
Masculinity and the Intervention of The Real
Just before we get too annoyed with Michael's Whining, the zombies intervene. Zombies here represent this materialized social control, like TV, they enter your home and violently dismantle your sense of self while giving everyone the power to act as social controls. The couple’s interplay and interface of fantasy also have to find a space the correlates with the dominate romantic narratives in the couple’s social circle. Failing to find resonance between a couple’s fantasy and the domination romantic scripts seriously challenges the ability for a romance to maintain its fantasy.
The dominate social narrative, who’s main representatives are the zombies, are here to collapse Michael’s maladaptive fantasy because it has encroached too far past its ability to reproduce a family. Michael’s obsession halts his flow into a new romance by fixing his reality on a fixed point (Gabi) which no longer conforms to the fantasy. The dialog between Michael and Harper that transpires when Michael catches him making slingshot projectiles by bending (Gabi’s) forks.
Michael: What’s with the forks?In this dialog, Michael admits that his belief in Gabi’s concern about bent forks has risen to a totalizing imperative. Gabi is all he has - Gabi is all he is. Honor foreclosed, Michael bow down before the altar of his Love. It is only when confronted with the fact that Gabi has been fornicating through the apocalypse and that while he was spiraling through his neurosis she was knocking dirties that Michael is shaken loose from his fantasy. The scene that sets up this Intervention of the Real, with more than a little irony, is when Gabi leans over the collapsed Michael in the attic.
Michael: These belong to Gabi
Harper: So get her new ones
Michael: And what she comes back and sees what you did? Then what?
Harper: I mean seriously, do you really think that when she comes home all that she will care about are the lousy forks?
Michael: Yeah I believe it. I have to believe it, man, I mean its all I’ve got!
Harper: Your breath smells
Michael: I guess I’m hungry
Gabi: What are you doing here?In this scene, the post coital Gabi is leaning over Gabi. At one at the same time, they seem to be lovingly embracing each other, light piano in the soundtrack emotionalize the context. But while Michael's eye’s gaze up at Gabi with a long, Gabi is cringing out a smile and trying to pull herself out of his grasp. Suddenly, their dialog is interrupted by her new lover flipping a light switch. Michael’s fantasy finds a harsh confrontation with the reality. When he is ousted from the attic and forced to the roof there is a genius scene that materializes Michael inner conflict. Standing on the edge of the building, the camera focuses on the exploding and flaming city-scape. Michael’s fantasy like the Berlin is collapsing in such a way where structure fails.
Michael: I wanted to give your keys back.
Gabi: My keys?
Michael: You said you wanted them back.
Gabi: Yeah, but in the mail.
zombies away, and directs the couple to a nearby boat. By this time, Michael has succumbed to the zombie and awaits his transformation. Alone in the courtyard, he sees Gabi’s lover making a run for it. Gabi appears and she is zombified. The star-crossed lovers connect and embrace one another resurrecting Michael's fantasy and syncing the lover under a new phantasmagorical desire; Brainzzzz