The beginning of this century has brought with it a host of assumptions about the newness of our technologies, globalized economies, and transnational media practices. Our own time is a period marked by experiences of fragmentation, sensation, and shock. The essays here are joined by a common concern to chart another side to modernity—precisely after the shock of the new—when the new ceases to be shocking, and when the extraordinary and the sensational become linked to the boring and the everyday. Patrice Petro explores how the mechanisms of modernism, German cinema, and feminist film theory have evolved, and she discusses the directions in which they are headed.
Petro’s essays—some published here for the first time—raise such questions as: What roles do television and other media play in film studies? What is the place of feminist film theory in our conceptions of film history? How is German film theory situated within international film theory?
Rather than continue to sensationalize sensation, Aftershocks of the New aims to lower the volume of debates over the place of cinema within the culture of modernity. And it accomplishes this by locating them within a more complex matrix of contending sensibilities, voices, and impulses.
Bringing an art historical perspective to the realm of American and European film, Art in the Cinematic Imagination examines the ways in which films have used works of art and artists themselves as cinematic and narrative motifs. From the use of portraits in Vertigo to the cinematic depiction of women artists in Artemisia and Camille Claudel, Susan Felleman incorporates feminist and psychoanalytic criticism to reveal individual and collective perspectives on sex, gender, identity, commerce, and class. Probing more than twenty films from the postwar era through contemporary times, Art in the Cinematic Imagination considers a range of structurally significant art objects, artist characters, and art-world settings to explore how the medium of film can amplify, reinvent, or recontextualize the other visual arts. Fluently speaking across disciplines, Felleman's study brings a broad array of methodologies to bear on questions such as the evolution of the “Hollywood Love Goddess” and the pairing of the feminine with death on screen. A persuasive approach to an engaging body of films, Art in the Cinematic Imagination illuminates a compelling and significant facet of the cinematic experience.
In Beyond the Public Sphere: Film and the Feminist Imaginary, the renowned philosopher and critical theorist María Pía Lara challenges the notion that the bourgeois public sphere is the most important informal institution between social and political actors and the state.
Drawing on a wide range of films—including The Milk of Sorrow, Ixcanul, Wadja, The Stone of Patience, Marnie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Talk to Her—Lara dissects cinematic images of women’s struggles and their oppression. She builds on this analysis, developing a concept of the feminist social imaginary as a broader and more complex space that provides a way of thinking through the possibilities for emancipatory social transformation in response to forms of domination perpetuated by patriarchal capitalism.
Bollywood’s New Woman examines Bollywood’s construction and presentation of the Indian Woman since the 1990s. The groundbreaking collection illuminates the contexts and contours of this contemporary figure that has been identified in sociological and historical discourses as the “New Woman.” On the one hand, this figure is a variant of the fin de siècle phenomenon of the “New Woman” in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the Indian context, the New Woman is a distinct articulation resulting from the nation’s tryst with neoliberal reform, consolidation of the middle class, and the ascendency of aggressive Hindu Right politics.
If there was a moment during the sixties, seventies, or eighties that changed the history of the women’s film movement, B. Ruby Rich was there. Part journalistic chronicle, part memoir, and 100% pure cultural historical odyssey, Chick Flicks—with its definitive, the-way-it-was collection of essays—captures the birth and growth of feminist film as no other book has done.
For over three decades Rich has been one of the most important voices in feminist film criticism. Her presence at film festivals (such as Sundance, where she is a member of the selection committee), her film reviews in the Village Voice, Elle, Out, and the Advocate, and her commentaries on the public radio program “The World” have secured her a place as a central figure in the remarkable history of what she deems “cinefeminism.” In the hope that a new generation of feminist film culture might be revitalized by reclaiming its own history, Rich introduces each essay with an autobiographical prologue that describes the intellectual, political, and personal moments from which the work arose. Travel, softball, sex, and voodoo all somehow fit into a book that includes classic Rich articles covering such topics as the antiporn movement, the films of Yvonne Rainer, a Julie Christie visit to Washington, and the historically evocative film Maedchen in Uniform. The result is a volume that traces the development not only of women’s involvement in cinema but of one of its key players as well.
The first book-length work from Rich—whose stature and influence in the world of film criticism and theory continue to grow—Chick Flicks exposes unexplored routes and forgotten byways of a past that’s recent enough to be remembered and far away enough to be memorable.
One of the most prolific and respected directors of Japanese cinema, Naruse Mikio (1905–69) made eighty-nine films between 1930 and 1967. Little, however, has been written about Naruse in English, and much of the writing about him in Japanese has not been translated into English. With The Cinema of Naruse Mikio, Catherine Russell brings deserved critical attention to this under-appreciated director. Besides illuminating Naruse’s contributions to Japanese and world cinema, Russell’s in-depth study of the director sheds new light on the Japanese film industry between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Naruse was a studio-based director, a company man renowned for bringing films in on budget and on time. During his long career, he directed movies in different styles of melodrama while displaying a remarkable continuity of tone. His films were based on a variety of Japanese literary sources and original scripts; almost all of them were set in contemporary Japan. Many were “women’s films.” They had female protagonists, and they depicted women’s passions, disappointments, routines, and living conditions. While neither Naruse or his audiences identified themselves as “feminist,” his films repeatedly foreground, if not challenge, the rigid gender norms of Japanese society. Given the complex historical and critical issues surrounding Naruse’s cinema, a comprehensive study of the director demands an innovative and interdisciplinary approach. Russell draws on the critical reception of Naruse in Japan in addition to the cultural theories of Harry Harootunian, Miriam Hansen, and Walter Benjamin. She shows that Naruse’s movies were key texts of Japanese modernity, both in the ways that they portrayed the changing roles of Japanese women in the public sphere and in their depiction of an urban, industrialized, mass-media-saturated society.
Close Encounters was first published in 1991. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Offers new critical approaches to science fiction as represented in film, television, fan culture, and other non-literary media. Addresses the way conventional notions of sexual difference are reworked by science fiction film. Includes the complete script of Peter Wollen's 1987 film Friendship's Death.
Contributors: Raymond Bellour, Janet Bergstrom, Roger Dadoun, Harvey R. Greenberg, M.D., Henry Jenkins III, Enno Patalas, Constance Penley, Vivian Sobchak, Lynn Spigel, and Peter Wollen.
What is marriage? Can a relationship dedicated to equality, friendship, and mutual education flower in an atmosphere of romance? What are the paths between loving another and knowing another? Stanley Cavell identified a genre of classic American films that engaged these questions in his study of comedies of remarriage, Pursuits ofHappiness. With Contesting Tears, Cavell demonstrates that a contrasting genre, which he calls "the melodrama of the unknown woman," shares a surprising number and weave of concerns with those comedies.
Cavell provides close readings of four melodramas he finds definitive of the genre: Letter from an Unknown Woman, Gaslight, NowVoyager, and Stella Dallas. The women in these melodramas, like the women in the comedies, demand equality, shared education, and transfiguration, exemplifying for Cavell a moral perfectionism he identifies as Emersonian. But unlike the comedies, which portray a quest for a shared existence of expressiveness and joy, the melodramas trace instead the woman's recognition that in this quest she is isolated. Part of the melodrama concerns the various ways the men in the films (and the audiences of the films) interpret and desire to force the woman's consequent inaccessibility.
"Film is an interest of mine," Stanley Cavell has written, "or say a love, not separate from my interest in, or love of, philosophy." In Contesting Tears Cavell once again brilliantly unites his two loves, using detailed and perceptive musings on melodrama to reflect on philosophical problems of skepticism, psychoanalysis, and perfectionism. As he shows, the fascination and intelligence of such great stars as
Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, and Barbara Stanwyck illuminate, as they are illuminated by, the topics and events of these beloved and enduring films.
Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran’s film industry, in conforming to the Islamic Republic’s system of modesty, had to ensure that women on-screen were veiled from the view of men. This prevented Iranian filmmakers from making use of the desiring gaze, a staple cinematic system of looking. In Displaced Allegories Negar Mottahedeh shows that post-Revolutionary Iranian filmmakers were forced to create a new visual language for conveying meaning to audiences. She argues that the Iranian film industry found creative ground not in the negation of government regulations but in the camera’s adoption of the modest, averted gaze. In the process, the filmic techniques and cinematic technologies were gendered as feminine and the national cinema was produced as a woman’s cinema.
Mottahedeh asserts that, in response to the prohibitions against the desiring look, a new narrative cinema emerged as the displaced allegory of the constraints on the post-Revolutionary Iranian film industry. Allegorical commentary was not developed in the explicit content of cinematic narratives but through formal innovations. Offering close readings of the work of the nationally popular and internationally renowned Iranian auteurs Bahram Bayza’i, Abbas Kiarostami, and Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Mottahedeh illuminates the formal codes and conventions of post-Revolutionary Iranian films. She insists that such analyses of cinema’s visual codes and conventions are crucial to the study of international film. As Mottahedeh points out, the discipline of film studies has traditionally seen film as a medium that communicates globally because of its dependence on a (Hollywood) visual language assumed to be universal and legible across national boundaries. Displaced Allegories demonstrates that visual language is not necessarily universal; it is sometimes deeply informed by national culture and politics.
Research into and around women's participation in cinematic history has enjoyed dynamic growth over the past decade. A broadening of scope and interests encompasses not only different kinds of filmmaking--mainstream fiction, experimental, and documentary--but also practices--publicity, journalism, distribution and exhibition--seldom explored in the past. Cutting-edge and inclusive, Doing Women's Film History ventures into topics in the United States and Europe while also moving beyond to explore the influence of women on the cinemas of India, Chile, Turkey, Russia, and Australia. Contributors grapple with historiographic questions that cover film history from the pioneering era to the present day. Yet the writers also address the very mission of practicing scholarship. Essays explore essential issues like identifying women's participation in their cinema cultures, locating previously unconsidered sources of evidence, developing methodologies and analytical concepts to reveal the impact of gender on film production, distribution and reception, and reframing film history to accommodate new questions and approaches. Contributors include: Kay Armatage, Eylem Atakav, Karina Aveyard, Canan Balan, Cécile Chich, Monica Dall'Asta, Eliza Anna Delveroudi, Jane M. Gaines, Christine Gledhill, Julia Knight, Neepa Majumdar, Michele Leigh, Luke McKernan, Debashree Mukherjee, Giuliana Muscio, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, Rashmi Sawhney, Elizabeth Ramirez Soto, Sarah Street, and Kimberly Tomadjoglou.
“The Dread of Difference is a classic. Few film studies texts have been so widely read and so influential. It’s rarely on the shelf at my university library, so continuously does it circulate. Now this new edition expands the already comprehensive coverage of gender in the horror film with new essays on recent developments such as the Hostel series and torture porn. Informative and enlightening, this updated classic is an essential reference for fans and students of horror movies.”—Stephen Prince, editor of The Horror Film and author of Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality“An impressive array of distinguished scholars . . . gazes deeply into the darkness and then forms a Dionysian chorus reaffirming that sexuality and the monstrous are indeed mated in many horror films.”—Choice“An extremely useful introduction to recent thinking about gender issues within this genre.”—Film Theory
The Female Complaint is part of Lauren Berlant’s groundbreaking “national sentimentality” project charting the emergence of the U.S. political sphere as an affective space of attachment and identification. In this book, Berlant chronicles the origins and conventions of the first mass-cultural “intimate public” in the United States, a “women’s culture” distinguished by a view that women inevitably have something in common and are in need of a conversation that feels intimate and revelatory. As Berlant explains, “women’s” books, films, and television shows enact a fantasy that a woman’s life is not just her own, but an experience understood by other women, no matter how dissimilar they are. The commodified genres of intimacy, such as “chick lit,” circulate among strangers, enabling insider self-help talk to flourish in an intimate public. Sentimentality and complaint are central to this commercial convention of critique; their relation to the political realm is ambivalent, as politics seems both to threaten sentimental values and to provide certain opportunities for their extension.
Pairing literary criticism and historical analysis, Berlant explores the territory of this intimate public sphere through close readings of U.S. women’s literary works and their stage and film adaptations. Her interpretation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its literary descendants reaches from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, touching on Shirley Temple, James Baldwin, and The Bridges of Madison County along the way. Berlant illuminates different permutations of the women’s intimate public through her readings of Edna Ferber’s Show Boat; Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life; Olive Higgins Prouty’s feminist melodrama Now, Voyager; Dorothy Parker’s poetry, prose, and Academy Award–winning screenplay for A Star Is Born; the Fay Weldon novel and Roseanne Barr film The Life and Loves of a She-Devil; and the queer, avant-garde film Showboat 1988–The Remake. The Female Complaint is a major contribution from a leading Americanist.
This collection brings together an exciting group of established and emerging scholars to consider the history of feminist film theory and new developments in the field and in film culture itself. Opening the field up to urgent questions and covering such topics as new experimental film, the digital image, consumerism, activism, and pornography, Feminisms will be essential reading for scholars of both film and feminism.
A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema
Jennifer M. Bean and Diane Negra, eds. Duke University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W6F467 2002 | Dewey Decimal 791.43652042
A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema marks a new era of feminist film scholarship. The twenty essays collected here demonstrate how feminist historiographies at once alter and enrich ongoing debates over visuality and identification, authorship, stardom, and nationalist ideologies in cinema and media studies. Drawing extensively on archival research, the collection yields startling accounts of women's multiple roles as early producers, directors, writers, stars, and viewers. It also engages urgent questions about cinema's capacity for presenting a stable visual field, often at the expense of racially, sexually, or class-marked bodies.
While fostering new ways of thinking about film history, A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema illuminates the many questions that the concept of "early cinema" itself raises about the relation of gender to modernism, representation, and technologies of the body. The contributors bring a number of disciplinary frameworks to bear, including not only film studies but also postcolonial studies, dance scholarship, literary analysis, philosophies of the body, and theories regarding modernism and postmodernism.
Reflecting the stimulating diversity of early cinematic styles, technologies, and narrative forms, essays address a range of topics—from the dangerous sexuality of the urban flâneuse to the childlike femininity exemplified by Mary Pickford, from the Shanghai film industry to Italian diva films—looking along the way at birth-control sensation films, French crime serials, "war actualities," and the stylistic influence of art deco. Recurring throughout the volume is the protean figure of the New Woman, alternately garbed as childish tomboy, athletic star, enigmatic vamp, languid diva, working girl, kinetic flapper, and primitive exotic.
Contributors. Constance Balides, Jennifer M. Bean, Kristine Butler, Mary Ann Doane, Lucy Fischer, Jane Gaines, Amelie Hastie, Sumiko Higashi, Lori Landay, Anne Morey, Diane Negra, Catherine Russell, Siobhan B. Somerville, Shelley Stamp, Gaylyn Studlar, Angela Dalle Vacche, Radha Vatsal, Kristen Whissel, Patricia White, Zhang Zhen
"One of the most readable books on early cinema I have ever encountered. . . . Rabinovitz ably brings together a wealth of information about the exciting era of social change that marked the beginning of U.S. cinema."
--Gaylyn Studlar, atuhor of This Mad Masquerade: Stardom and Masculinity in the Jazz Age
The period from the 1880s until the 1920s saw the making of a consumer society, the inception of the technological, economic, and social landscape in which we currently live. Cinema played a key role in the changing urban landscape. For working-class women, it became a refuge from the factory. For middle-class women, it presented a new language of sexual danger and pleasure. Women found greater freedom in big cities, entering the workforce in record numbers and moving about unchaperoned in public spaces. Turn-of-the-century Chicago surpassed even New York as a proving ground for pleasure and education, attracting women workers at three times the national rate. Using Chicago as a model, Lauren Rabinovitz analyzes the rich interplay among demographic, visual, historical, and theoretical materials of the period. She skillfully links cinema theory and women's studies for a fuller understanding of cultural history. She also demonstrates how cinema dramatically affected social conventions, ultimately shaping modern codes of masculinity and feminity.
Some women attack and harm men who abuse them. Social norms, law, and films all participate in framing these occurrences, guiding us in understanding and judging them. How do social, legal, and cinematic conventions and mechanisms combine to lead us to condemn these women or exonerate them? What is it, exactly, that they teach us to find such women guilty or innocent of, and how do they do so?
Through innovative readings of a dozen movies made between 1928 and 2001 in Europe, Japan, and the United States, Orit Kamir shows that in representing “gender crimes,” feature films have constructed a cinematic jurisprudence, training audiences worldwide in patterns of judgment of women (and men) in such situations. Offering a novel formulation of the emerging field of law and film, Kamir combines basic legal concepts—murder, rape, provocation, insanity, and self-defense—with narratology, social science methodologies, and film studies.
Framed not only offers a unique study of law and film but also points toward new directions in feminist thought. Shedding light on central feminist themes such as victimization and agency, multiculturalism, and postmodernism, Kamir outlines a feminist cinematic legal critique, a perspective from which to evaluate the “cinematic legalism” that indoctrinates and disciplines audiences around the world. Bringing an original perspective to feminist analysis, she demonstrates that the distinction between honor and dignity has crucial implications for how societies construct women, their social status, and their legal rights. In Framed, she outlines a dignity-oriented, honor-sensitive feminist approach to law and film.
For this edition of her classic study of the feminine role in film, Molly Haskell has written a new chapter addressing recent developments in the appearance and perception of women in the movies.
"An incisive, exceedingly thoughtful look at the distorted lens through which Hollywood has historically viewed women. It is a valuable contribution not just of film criticism but to a society in which the vital role of women is just beginning to emerge."—Christian Science Monitor
"Haskell is interested in women—how they are used in movies, how they use movies, and how the parts they play function as projections and verifications of our myths about women's lot and woman's psyche and even, lately, women's lib."—Jane Kramer, Village Voice
"In examining the goddesses worshipped by an entire nation, Molly Haskell reveals a good deal about our national character and our most cherished sexual myths. . . . Concerned with the deeply ingrained belief of women's inferiority, she analyzes movies as a social product as well as a social arbiter, and she effectively demonstrates how women are encouraged to impose limitations on themselves by fashioning those selves after flickering shadows in a darkened auditorium—sexual creatures who possess neither ability nor ambition beyond their bodies. . . . Both as an examination of film and as sociology, From Reverence to Rape is excellent."—Harriet Kriegel, The Nation
A revolutionary classic of feminist cinema criticism, Molly Haskell’s From Reverence to Rape remains as insightful, searing, and relevant as it was the day it was first published. Ranging across time and genres from the golden age of Hollywood to films of the late twentieth century, Haskell analyzes images of women in movies, the relationship between these images and the status of women in society, the stars who fit these images or defied them, and the attitudes of their directors. This new edition features both a new foreword by New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis and a new introduction from the author that discusses the book’s reception and the evolution of her views.
This remarkable collection uses genre as a fresh way to analyze the issues of gender representation in film theory, film production, spectatorship, and the contexts of reception. With a uniquely global perspective, these essays examine the intersection of gender and genre in not only Hollywood films but also in independent, European, Indian, and Hong Kong cinemas. Working in the area of postcolonial cinema, contributors raise issues dealing with indigenous and global cinemas and argue that contemporary genres have shifted considerably as both notions of gender and forms of genre have changed. The volume addresses topics such as the history of feminist approaches to the study of genre in film, issues of female agency in postmodernity, changes taking place in supposedly male-dominated genres, concepts of genre and its use of gender in global cinema, and the relationship between gender and sexuality in film.
Contributors are Ira Bhaskar, Steven Cohan, Luke Collins, Pam Cook, Lucy Fischer, Jane Gaines, Christine Gledhill, Derek Kane-Meddock, E. Ann Kaplan, Samiha Matin, Katie Model, E. Deidre Pribram, Vicente Rodriguez Ortega, Adam Segal, Chris Straayer, Yvonne Tasker, Deborah Thomas, and Xiangyang Chen.
“Camp,” Mae West told Playboy, “is the kinda comedy where they imitate me.” But what was West doing, if not camp itself? Guilty Pleasures puts women back into the history of camp, a story long confined to gay male practice. Emphasizing the distinctive roles women have played as producers and consumers of camp, Pamela Robertson links her subject to feminist discussions of gender parody, performance, and spectatorship. Her book offers a heady tour of social and cultural criticism at its most interesting, and American culture at its most flamboyant. Robertson grounds her theoretical discussion of female performance and spectatorship in detailed studies of figures such as Mae West, Joan Crawford, and Madonna. She locates these figures in turn within a tradition of feminist camp—a female form of aestheticism related to masquerade and rooted in burlesque, parallel to but different from gay male camp. Through analyses of films from Gold Diggers of 1933 to Johnny Guitar, as well as video and television, Robertson shows how the gold digger is to feminist camp what the dandy is to gay male camp—its original personification and defining voice. Set against a backdrop of social history, her analysis demonstrates that feminist camp flourishes during periods of antifeminist backlash in America, and that it reflects a working-class sensibility particularly attuned to changing attitudes toward women’s work and sexuality. Appealing to a wide range of scholars spanning the fields of film and mass culture, feminism, gay/lesbian/queer studies, and cultural studies, Guilty Pleasures will also attract an audience of general readers interested in camp and popular culture.
History films were a highly popular genre in the 1990s, as Hollywood looked back at significant and troubling episodes from World War II, the Cold War era, and the techno-war in the Persian Gulf. As filmmakers attempted to confront and manage intractable elements of the American past, such as the trauma of war and the legacy of racism, Susan Linville argues that a surprising casualty occurred—the erasure of relevant facets of contemporary women’s history. In this book, Linville offers a sustained critique of the history film and its reduction of women to figures of ambivalence or absence. Historicizing and adapting Freud’s concept of the uncanny and its relationship to the maternal body as the first home, she offers theoretically sophisticated readings of the films Midnight Clear, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, Nixon, Courage Under Fire, Lone Star, and Limbo. She also demonstrates that the uncanny is not only a source of anxiety but also potentially a progressive force for eroding nostalgic ideals of nation and gender. Linville concludes with a close reading of a recent 9/11 documentary, showing how the patterns and motifs of 1990s history films informed it and what that means for our future.
German film-goers flocked to see musicals and melodramas during the Nazi era. Although the Nazis seemed to require that every aspect of ordinary life advance the fascist project, even the most popular films depicted characters and desires that deviated from the politically correct ideal. Probing into the contradictory images of womanhood that surfaced in these films, Antje Ascheid shows how Nazi heroines negotiated the gender conflicts that confronted contemporary women.The careers of Kristina Soderbaum, Lilian Harvey, and Zarah Leander speak to the Nazis' need to address and contain the "woman question," to redirect female subjectivity and desires to self sacrifice for the common good (i.e., national socialism). Hollywood's new women and glamorous dames were out; the German wife and mother were in. The roles and star personas assigned to these actresses, though intended to entertain the public in a politically conformist way, point to the difficulty of yoking popular culture to ideology.
In The Hypersexuality of Race, Celine Parreñas Shimizu urges a shift in thinking about sexualized depictions of Asian/American women in film, video, and theatrical productions. Shimizu advocates moving beyond denunciations of sexualized representations of Asian/American women as necessarily demeaning or negative. Arguing for a more nuanced approach to the mysterious mix of pleasure, pain, and power in performances of sexuality, she advances a theory of “productive perversity,” a theory which allows Asian/American women—and by extension other women of color—to lay claim to their own sexuality and desires as actors, producers, critics, and spectators.
Shimizu combines theoretical and textual analysis and interviews with artists involved in various productions. She complicates understandings of the controversial portrayals of Asian female sexuality in the popular Broadway musical Miss Saigon by drawing on ethnographic research and interviews with some of the actresses in it. She looks at how three Hollywood Asian/American femme fatales—Anna May Wong, Nancy Kwan, and Lucy Liu—negotiate representations of their sexuality; analyzes 1920s and 1930s stag films in which white women perform as sexualized Asian characters; and considers Asian/American women’s performances in films ranging from the stag pornography of the 1940s to the Internet and video porn of the 1990s. She also reflects on two documentaries depicting Southeast Asian prostitutes and sex tourism, The Good Woman of Bangkok and 101 Asian Debutantes. In her examination of films and videos made by Asian/American feminists, Shimizu describes how female characters in their works reject normative definitions of race, gender, and sexuality, thereby expanding our definitions of racialized sexualities in representation.
Into the Vortex challenges and rethinks feminist film theory's brilliant but often pessimistic reflections on the workings of sound and voice in film. Including close readings of major film theorists such as Kaja Silverman and Mary Ann Doane, Britta H. Sjogren offers an alternative to image-centered scenarios that dominate feminist film theory's critique of the representation of sexual difference.
Sjogren focuses on a rash of 1940s Hollywood films in which the female voice bears a marked formal presence to demonstrate the ways that the feminine is expressed and difference is sustained. She argues that these films capitalize on particular particular psychoanalytic, narratological and discursive contradictions to bring out and express difference, rather than to contain or close it down. Exploring the vigorous dynamic engendered by contradiction and paradox, Sjogren charts a way out of the pessimistic, monolithic view of patriarchy and cinema's representation of women's voices.
La India María—a humble and stubborn indigenous Mexican woman—is one of the most popular characters of the Mexican stage, television, and film. Created and portrayed by María Elena Velasco, La India María has delighted audiences since the late 1960s with slapstick humor that slyly critiques discrimination and the powerful. At the same time, however, many critics have derided the iconic figure as a racist depiction of a negative stereotype and dismissed the India María films as exploitation cinema unworthy of serious attention. By contrast, La India María builds a convincing case for María Elena Velasco as an artist whose work as a director and producer—rare for women in Mexican cinema—has been widely and unjustly overlooked. Drawing on extensive interviews with Velasco, her family, and film industry professionals, as well as on archival research, Seraina Rohrer offers the first full account of Velasco’s life; her portrayal of La India María in vaudeville, television, and sixteen feature film comedies, including Ni de aquí, ni de allá [Neither here, nor there]; and her controversial reception in Mexico and the United States. Rohrer traces the films’ financing, production, and distribution, as well as censorship practices of the period, and compares them to other Mexploitation films produced at the same time. Adding a new chapter to the history of a much-understudied period of Mexican cinema commonly referred to as “la crisis,” this pioneering research enriches our appreciation of Mexploitation films.
Titanic. Two Moon Junction. A Night in Heaven. Sirens. Henry & June. 9 Songs. Lady Chatterley. And more. A new "body guy" genre has emerged in film during the last twenty years-a working-class man of the earth or bohemian artist awakens and fulfills the sexuality of a beautiful, intelligent woman frequently married or engaged to a sexually incompetent, educated, upper-class man. This body guy exhibits a masterful athletic, penile-centered sexual performance that enlivens and transforms the previously discontented woman's life.
Peter Lehman and Susan Hunt relate a host of wide-ranging films to a literary tradition dating back to D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and an emerging body culture of our time. Through an engaging and compelling narrative, they argue that the hero's body, lovemaking style, and penis-revealed through extensive male nudity-celebrate conformity to norms of masculinity and male sexuality. Simultaneously, these films denigrate the vital, creative, erotic world of the mind. Just when women began to successfully compete with men in the workplace, these movies, if you will, unzip the penis as the one thing women do not have but want and need for their fulfillment.
But Lehman and Hunt also find signs of a yearning for alternative forms of sexual and erotic pleasure in film, embracing diverse bodies and vibrant minds. Lady Chatterley's Legacy in the Movies shows how filmmakers, spectators, and all of us can be empowered to dethrone the body guy, his privileged body, and preferred style of lovemaking, replacing it with a wide range of alternatives.
Bathing beauty Esther Williams, bombshell Jane Russell, exotic Carmen Miranda, chanteuse Lena Horne, and talk-show fixture Zsa Zsa Gabor are rarely hailed as great actors or as naturalistic performers. Those terms of praise are given to male stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean, whose gritty dramas are seen as a departure from the glossy spectacles in which these stars appeared. Like a Natural Woman challenges those assumptions, revealing the skill and training that went into the work of these five actresses, who employed naturalistic performance techniques, both onscreen and off.
Bringing a fresh perspective to film history through the lens of performance studies, Kirsten Pullen explores the ways in which these actresses, who always appeared to be “playing themselves,” responded to the naturalist notion that actors should create authentic characters by drawing from their own lives. At the same time, she examines how Hollywood presented these female stars as sex objects, focusing on their spectacular bodies at the expense of believable characterization or narratives.
Pullen not only helps us appreciate what talented actresses these five women actually were, but also reveals how they sought to express themselves and maintain agency, even while meeting the demands of their directors, studios, families, and fans to perform certain feminine roles. Drawing from a rich collection of classic films, publicity materials, and studio archives, Like a Natural Woman lets us take a new look at both Hollywood acting techniques and the performance of femininity itself.
The female image has been an ambiguous one in Mexican culture, and the place of women in Mexican cinema is no less tenuous--yielding in the films of Luis Buñuel and others a range of characterizations from virgin to whore, mother to femme fatale. Mexican Cinema/Mexican Woman, 1940-1950 examines a singular moment in the history of Mexican film to investigate the ways in which the cinematic figures of woman functioned to mediate narrative and social debates. The book raises new questions about the relations between woman and cinema. It will have broad appeal among students and scholars of film, feminist studies, and Latin American studies, as well as those interested in the popular culture of Mexico. Considering the historical and cultural representations of sexual difference as well as race and class, Hershfield closely examines the portrayal of women and gender identity in six films: María Candelaria (Emilio Fernández, 1943), Río Escondido (Emilio Fernández, 1947), Distinto amanecer (Julio Bracho, 1943), Salón México (Emilio Fernández, 1948), Doña Bárbara (Fernando de Fuentes, 1943), and Susana (Carne y demonio) (Luis Buñuel, 1950).
After General Francisco Franco died in 1975, Spanish cinema was bursting at the seams. Many film directors broke free from the ancient taboos which had reigned under Franco’s dictatorship, introducing characters who transgressed the traditional borders of social, cultural, and sexual identities. The women, homosexuals, transsexuals, and delinquents who were considered lost, dissonant bodies under Franco’s rule became the new protagonists of Spanish cinema.
“Here is a ‘book of passion’ on the metamorphoses of post-Francoist Spain as it catapulted into the contemporary world (1975–95). It is a book that questions the power of myths expressed through passionate bodies, in particular bodies who for too long were marginalized in traditional societies.” —Michèle Lagny, Université de Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III
"In The New Woman International, editors Elizabeth Otto and Vanessa Rocco have gathered a group of intellectually stimulating and provocative essays that present the emergence, both tentative and triumphant, of this new global icon and her increasingly multicultural image. Written largely by historians of art and film, these essays emphasize visual analysis of the photographic and film media that carried the new woman's influential message."
---Norma Broude, American University
"The New Woman International focuses on the New Woman not simply as an image to be analyzed but also as a producer of images and text. This groundbreaking anthology represents a theoretically sophisticated set of essays that thoroughly examine the phenomenon of the New Woman in previously unexplored ways."
---Sarah E. Chinn, Hunter College, CUNY
Images of flappers, garçonnes, Modern Girls, neue Frauen, and trampky---all embodiments of the dashing New Woman---symbolized an expanded public role for women from the suffragist era through the dawn of 1960s feminism. Chronicling nearly a century of global challenges to gender norms, The New Woman International: Representations in Photography and Film from the 1870s through the 1960s is the first book to examine modern femininity's ongoing relationship with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries' most influential new media: photography and film. This volume examines the ways in which novel ideas about women's roles in society and politics were disseminated through these technological media, and it probes the significance of radical changes in female fashion, appearance, and sexual identity. Additionally, these original essays explore the manner in which New Women artists used photography and film to respond creatively to gendered stereotypes and to reconceive of ways of being a woman in a rapidly modernizing world.
The New Woman International brings together different generations of scholars and curators who are experts in gender, photography, literature, mass media, and film to analyze the New Woman from her inception in the later nineteenth century through her full development in the interwar period, and the expansion of her forms in subsequent decades. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, these essays show how controversial female ideals figured in discourses including those on gender norms, race, technology, sexuality, female agency, science, media representation, modernism, commercial culture, internationalism, colonialism, and transnational modernity. In exploring these topics through images that range from montages to newspapers' halftone prints to film stills, this book investigates the terms of gendered representation as a process in which women were as much agents as allegories. Inaugurating a new chapter in the scholarship of representation and New Womanhood and spanning North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, and the colonial contexts of Africa and the Pacific, this volume reveals the ways in which a feminine ideal circled the globe to be translated into numerous visual languages.
With a foreword from the eminent feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, this collection includes contributions by Jan Bardsley, Matthew Biro, Gianna Carotenuto, Melody Davis, Kristine Harris, Karla Huebner, Kristen Lubben, Maria Makela, Elizabeth Otto, Martha H. Patterson, Vanessa Rocco, Clare I. Rogan, Despina Stratigakos, Brett M. Van Hoesen, Kathleen M. Vernon, and Lisa Jaye Young.
DIGITALCULTUREBOOKS: a collaborative imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the University of Michigan Library
Only Among Women reveals how the idea of a community of women as a social sphere ostensibly free from the taint of money, sex, or self-interest originated in the classic Russian novel, fueled mystical notions of unity in turn-of-the-century modernism, and finally assumed a privileged place in Stalinist culture, especially cinema.
Defying industry logic and gender expectations, women started flocking to see horror films in the early 1940s. The departure of the young male audience and the surprise success of the film Cat People convinced studios that there was an untapped female audience for horror movies, and they adjusted their production and marketing strategies accordingly.
Phantom Ladies reveals the untold story of how the Hollywood horror film changed dramatically in the early 1940s, including both female heroines and female monsters while incorporating elements of “women’s genres” like the gothic mystery. Drawing from a wealth of newly unearthed archival material, from production records to audience surveys, Tim Snelson challenges long-held assumptions about gender and horror film viewership.
Examining a wide range of classic horror movies, Snelson offers us a new appreciation of how dynamic this genre could be, as it underwent seismic shifts in a matter of months. Phantom Ladies, therefore, not only includes horror films made in the early 1940s, but also those produced immediately after the war ended, films in which the female monster was replaced by neurotic, psychotic, or hysterical women who could be cured and domesticated. Phantom Ladies is a spine-tingling, eye-opening read about gender and horror, and the complex relationship between industry and audiences in the classical Hollywood era.
When Thelma and Louise outfought the men who had tormented them, women across America discovered what male fans of action movies have long known—the empowering rush of movie violence. Yet the duo’s escapades also provoked censure across a wide range of viewers, from conservatives who felt threatened by the up-ending of women’s traditional roles to feminists who saw the pair’s use of male-style violence as yet another instance of women’s co-option by the patriarchy. In the first book-length study of violent women in movies, Reel Knockouts makes feminist sense of violent women in films from Hollywood to Hong Kong, from top-grossing to direct-to-video, and from cop-action movies to X-rated skin flicks. Contributors from a variety of disciplines analyze violent women’s respective places in the history of cinema, in the lives of viewers, and in the feminist response to male violence against women. The essays in part one, "Genre Films," turn to film cycles in which violent women have routinely appeared. The essays in part two, "New Bonds and New Communities," analyze movies singly or in pairs to determine how women’s movie brutality fosters solidarity amongst the characters or their audiences. All of the contributions look at films not simply in terms of whether they properly represent women or feminist principles, but also as texts with social contexts and possible uses in the re-construction of masculinity and femininity.
Western women’s involvement in Persia dates from the mid-nineteenth century, when female adventurers and missionaries first encountered their veiled Muslim “sisters.” Twentieth-century Western and state-sponsored Iranian feminists continued to use the image of the veiled woman as the embodiment of backwardness. Yet, following the 1979 revolution, indigenous Iranian feminists became more vocal in their resistance to this characterization.
In Rethinking Global Sisterhood, Nima Naghibi makes powerful connections among feminism, imperialism, and the discourses of global sisterhood. Naghibi investigates topics including the state-sponsored Women’s Organization of Iran and the involvement of feminists such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem in the Iranian feminism movement before and during the 1979 revolution. With a potent analysis of cinema, she examines the veiled woman in the films of Tahmineh Milani, Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Kim Longinotto, and Mahnaz Afzali.
At a time when Western relations with the Muslim world are in crisis, Rethinking Global Sisterhood provides much-needed insights and explores the limitations and possibilities of cross-cultural feminist social and political interventions.
Nima Naghibi is assistant professor of English at Ryerson University in Toronto.
In Revisiting Women’s Cinema, Lingzhen Wang ponders the roots of contemporary feminist stagnation and the limits of both commercial mainstream and elite minor cultures by turning to socialist women filmmakers in modern China. She foregrounds their sociopolitical engagements, critical interventions, and popular artistic experiments, offering a new conception of socialist and postsocialist feminisms, mainstream culture, and women’s cinema. Wang highlights the films of Wang Ping and Dong Kena in the 1950s and 1960s and Zhang Nuanxin and Huang Shuqin in the 1980s and 1990s to unveil how they have been profoundly misread through extant research paradigms entrenched in Western Cold War ideology, post-second-wave cultural feminism, and post-Mao intellectual discourses. Challenging received interpretations, she elucidates how socialist feminism and culture were conceptualized and practiced in relation to China’s search not only for national independence and economic development but also for social emancipation, proletarian culture, and socialist internationalism. Wang calls for a critical reevaluation of historical materialism, socialist feminism, and popular culture to forge an integrated emancipatory vision for future transnational feminist and cultural practices.
From Skirts Ahoy! to M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin, G.I. Jane, and JAG, films and television shows have grappled with the notion that military women are contradictory figures, unable to be both effective soldiers and appropriately feminine. In Soldiers’ Stories, Yvonne Tasker traces this perceived paradox across genres including musicals, screwball comedies, and action thrillers. She explains how, during the Second World War, women were portrayed as auxiliaries, temporary necessities of “total war.” Later, nursing, with its connotations of feminine care, offered a solution to the “gender problem.” From the 1940s through the 1970s, musicals, romances, and comedies exploited the humorous potential of the gender role reversal that the military woman was taken to represent. Since the 1970s, female soldiers have appeared most often in thrillers and legal and crime dramas, cast as isolated figures, sometimes victimized and sometimes heroic. Soldiers’ Stories is a comprehensive analysis of representations of military women in film and TV since the 1940s. Throughout, Tasker relates female soldiers’ provocative presence to contemporaneous political and cultural debates and to the ways that women’s labor and bodies are understood and valued.
Starting with the figure of the bold, boisterous girl in the mid-19th century and ending with the “girl power” movement of the 1990’s, Tomboys is the first full-length critical study of this gender-bending code of female conduct. Michelle Abate uncovers the origins, charts the trajectory, and traces the literary and cultural transformations that the concept of “tomboy” has undergone in the United States.
Abate focuses on literature including Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Carson McCullers's The Member of the Wedding and films such as Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moonand Jon Avnet'sFried Green Tomatoes. She also draws onlesser-known texts like E.D.E.N. Southworth's once wildly popular 1859 novel The Hidden Hand, Cold War lesbian pulp fiction, and New Queer Cinema from the 1990s.
Tomboys also explores the gender and sexual dynamics of tomboyism, and offers intriguing discussions of race and ethnicity's role in the construction of the enduring cultural archetype. Abate’s insightful analysis provides useful, thought-provoking connections between different literary works and eras. The result demystifies this cultural phenomenon and challenges readers to consider tomboys in a whole new light.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs work collaboratively to connect education and research at the institutional, national, and global levels. But what role do women play in STEM? In this very timely book, Carol Colatrella responds to the under-representation of women in STEM by considering how gender inflects literary and media representations. In her analysis of fictional and cinematic texts that reference STEM, she investigates cultural tensions concerning sex roles—tensions that continue to be influential in today’s world.
Toys and Tools in Pinkanalyzes female character types that recur in fictional narratives in print, on television, and in the cinema: female criminals and detectives, mothers who practice medicine, and “babe scientists,” among others. It also investigates how narrative settings and plots both subsume and influence cultural stereotypes of gender in prescribing salient professional and personal codes of conduct in the STEM fields.
Literary and historical case studies in Toys and Tools in Pinkexamine issues of women’s abilities in, access to, and management of science and technology. These issues appear in debates among university faculty, politicians, and public policy analysts concerned about women’s participation in STEM fields. Current analyses of diverse fictions and films demonstrate a continuing interest in women’s place in science and technology and also create new, evolving understandings of femininity and masculinity that revise earlier stereotypes.
With the help of mirrors, trap doors, elevators, photographs, and film, women vanish and return in increasingly spectacular ways throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Karen Beckman tracks the proliferation of this elusive figure, the vanishing woman, from her genesis in Victorian stage magic through her development in conjunction with photography and film. Beckman reveals how these new visual technologies projected their anxieties about insubstantiality and reproducibility onto the female body, producing an image of "woman" as utterly unstable and constantly prone to disappearance.
Drawing on cinema studies and psychoanalysis as well as the histories of magic, spiritualism, and photography, Beckman looks at particular instances of female vanishing at specific historical moments—in Victorian magic’s obsessive manipulation of female and colonized bodies, spiritualist photography’s search to capture traces of ghosts, the comings and goings of bodies in early cinema, and Bette Davis’s multiple roles as a fading female star. As Beckman places the vanishing woman in the context of feminism’s discussion of spectacle and subjectivity, she explores not only the problems, but also the political utility of this obstinate figure who hovers endlessly between visible and invisible worlds. Through her readings, Beckman argues that the visibly vanishing woman repeatedly signals the lurking presence of less immediately perceptible psychic and physical erasures, and she contends that this enigmatic figure, so ubiquitous in late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century culture, provides a new space through which to consider the relationships between visibility, gender, and agency.
Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! maps out the early culture of cinema stardom in India from its emergence in the silent era to the decade after Indian independence in the mid-twentieth century. Neepa Majumdar combines readings of specific films and stars with an analysis of the historical and cultural configurations that gave rise to distinctly Indian notions of celebrity. She argues that discussions of early cinematic stardom in India must be placed in the context of the general legitimizing discourse of colonial "improvement" that marked other civic and cultural spheres as well, and that "vernacular modernist" anxieties over the New Woman had limited resonance here. Rather, it was through emphatically nationalist discourses that Indian cinema found its model for modern female identities.
Considering questions of spectatorship, gossip, popularity, and the dominance of a star-based production system, Majumdar details the rise of film stars such as Sulochana, Fearless Nadia, Lata Mangeshkar, and Nargis
This magisterial book offers comprehensive accounts of the professional itineraries of three women in the silent film in the Netherlands, France and North America. Annette Förster presents a careful assessment of the long career of Dutch stage and film actress Adriënne Solser; an exploration of the stage and screen careers of French actress and filmmaker Musidora and Canadian-born actress and filmmaker Nell Shipman; an analysis of the interaction between the popular stage and the silent cinema from the perspective of women at work in both realms; fresh insights into Dutch stage and screen comedy, the French revue and the American Northwest drama of the 1910s; and much more, all grounded in a wealth of archival research.
Women, Islam and Cinema
Gönül Dönmez-Colin Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W6D648 2004 | Dewey Decimal 791.43082091767
This is the first book to examine the troubled relationships between women, Islam and cinema. Film critic and author Gönül Dönmez-Colin explores the role of women as spectators, images and image constructors in the cinemas of the countries where Islam is the predominant religion, focusing on Iran and Turkey from the Middle East, drawing parallels from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, the prominently Muslim Asian countries with a challenging film industry. Some of the relevant films made in India by and for Muslim Indians are also explored.
Dönmez-Colin examines prevalent cinematic archetypes, including the naïve country girl who is deceived and dishonored, or the devious seductress who destroys the sanctity of marriage, and looks well at controversial elements such as screen rape, which, feminist film critics claim, caters to male voyeurism. She also discusses recurring themes, such as the myths of femininity, the endorsement of polygamy and the obsession with male children, as well as the most common stereotypes, depicting women as mothers, wives and daughters.
Given the diversity of cultures, rather than viewing national cinemas as aspects of a single development, the author focuses on individual histories, traditions and social and economic circumstances as points of reference, which are examined in the context of social and political evolution and the status of women within Islam.
Women, Islam and Cinema is a much-needed and timely work that will appeal to the curious reader as well as to the student of film.