Mulvey argues that the only way to annihilate the patriarchal Hollywood system is to radically challenge and re-shape the filmic strategies of classical Hollywood with alternative feminist methods. She calls for a new feminist avant-garde filmmaking that would rupture the narrative pleasure of classical Hollywood filmmaking.
She writes, "It is said that analysing pleasure or beauty annihilates it. That is the intention of this article. Critics of the article pointed out that Mulvey's argument implies the impossibility of the enjoyment of classical Hollywood cinema by women, and that her argument did not seem to take into account spectatorship not organised along normative gender lines.
Mulvey addresses these issues in her later article, "Afterthoughts on 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' inspired by King Vidor's Duel in the Sun ," in which she argues a metaphoric ' transvestism ' in which a female viewer might oscillate between a male-coded and a female-coded analytic viewing position. These ideas led to theories of how gay, lesbian, and bisexual spectatorship might also be negotiated.
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Her article was written before the findings of the later wave of media audience studies on the complex nature of fan cultures and their interaction with stars. Queer theory, such as that developed by Richard Dyer , has grounded its work in Mulvey to explore the complex projections that many gay men and women fix onto certain female stars e. Feminist critic Gaylyn Studlar wrote extensively to problematize Mulvey's central thesis that the spectator is male and derives visual pleasure from a dominant and controlling perspective.
Studlar suggested rather that visual pleasure for all audiences is derived from a passive, masochistic perspective, where the audience seeks to be powerless and overwhelmed by the cinematic image. Mulvey later wrote that her article was meant to be a provocation or a manifesto, rather than a reasoned academic article that took all objections into account.
She addressed many of her critics, and clarified many of her points in "Afterthoughts" which also appears in the Visual and Other Pleasures collection. In this work, Mulvey responds to the ways in which video and DVD technologies have altered the relationship between film and viewer. No longer are audience members forced to watch a film in its entirety in a linear fashion from beginning to ending.
Instead, viewers today exhibit much more control over the films they consume. In the preface to her book, therefore, Mulvey begins by explicating the changes that film has undergone between the s and the s. Whereas Mulvey notes that, when she first began writing about films, she had been "preoccupied by Hollywood's ability to construct the female star as ultimate spectacle, the emblem and guarantee of its fascination and power," she is now "more interested in the way that those moments of spectacle were also moments of narrative halt, hinting at the stillness of the single celluloid frame.
Before the emergence of VHS and DVD players, spectators could only gaze; they could not possess the cinema's "precious moments, images and, most particularly, its idols," and so, "in response to this problem, the film industry produced, from the very earliest moments of fandom, a panoply of still images that could supplement the movie itself," which were "designed to give the film fan the illusion of possession, making a bridge between the irretrievable spectacle and the individual's imagination.
Thus, until a fan could adequately control a film to fulfill his or her own viewing desires, Mulvey notes that "the desire to possess and hold the elusive image led to repeated viewing, a return to the cinema to watch the same film over and over again. According to Mulvey, this power has led to the emergence of her "possessive spectator.
Mulvey believes that avant-garde film "poses certain questions which consciously confront traditional practice, often with a political motivation" that work towards changing "modes of representation" as well as "expectations in consumption. Using Freud's thoughts, Mulvey insists on the idea that the images, characters, plots and stories, and dialogues in films are inadvertently built on the ideals of patriarchies, both within and beyond sexual contexts. She also incorporates the works of thinkers including Jacques Lacan and meditates on the works of directors Josef von Sternberg and Alfred Hitchcock.
Within her essay, Mulvey discusses several different types of spectatorship that occur while viewing a film.
Who wants to play a painting , indeed. The portrait is the thing. But that painting that rests above the mantelpiece, a swoony, romantic provocation—it offers no argument. The famous still of detective Mark McPherson Dana Andrews , collapsed in a chair in front of the portrait, half-drunk and mesmerized, is the stand-in for scores of viewers of the film, haunted by its power to reflect back our own dreams and desires—for a past or imagined love, for the return of something lost, for anything at all.
In Destination Morgue: L. And the genius of the film is it enacts this phenomenon while also dissecting it, eviscerating it. One can savor Laura and never see that the movie puts under the microscope just what it draws out in the viewer. But in some ways the movie has always been a bit of a masquerade. Not a B picture in disguise, but a movie you can watch two ways: as a movie about a detective falling in love with a dead girl and a movie about the way we all fill blank spaces with our own longings, our own subversive desires.
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Pretty, indeed, but hardly the type of girl we had expected to meet. Because that Laura was your invention. All these solutions work to some degree. Other times we try to fill the inner void with music or religion, or running, or drugs, alcohol, sex, or chocolate. Stories even. Yet the void persists.
Laura's Desires () - IMDb
The open palm of desire wants everything. It wants everything. It wants soil as soft as summer and the strength to push like spring. What a ramble.