Psychoanalysis/ Spectatorship/ Sexual Difference

Christian Metz points out a major difference between cinema and all other forms of art.  While a sculpture or a painting may evoke a strong emotional reaction, they are restricted to the solitary sense of sight, and while an orchestral piece may bring forth tears, it also targets only our auditory sense.   However, cinema uses two senses, being both visual and auditory.  The two senses combine to make the audience feel as though the film were real, or at least realer than a book or drawing.  The desire to see and hear brings out a passion in the viewer that they supposedly would not get from other media.  I don’t know how the audiences during the Silent Era reacted to their films, at least not firsthand, but I am willing to bet that they also viewed film as the closest representation to reality, much like the photograph.  And this was with only vision in the equation.

Laura Mulvey, on the other hand, deals with the attitude that cinema exhibits toward women.  She claims that most Hollywood films are made by men and ultimately only portray man’s perspective.  She says that all women in film are either fetishized or punished, in order to control and objectify them.  Another way that film controls and objectifies women is through its three layers of “gaze”.  This “gaze” comes from the characters, the cameras and the spectators.  I guess now that a woman has won the Oscar for best director, we can put this theory to rest.  By the way, I did not feel like The Hurt Locker and Big were out of my grasp because they were directed by women.   And I don’t think that Penny Marshall is secretly a man either.

Mary Anne Doane also talks about the role of the female as a viewer of cinema.  She also speaks about the “gaze” of the viewer.  She refers to the relationship between the female in the audience and a male onscreen.  Women may say that they are more attracted to romance, but a hot guy will usually elicit some sort of objectification from the opposite gender.  While we men are waiting for the beautiful woman to appear throughout the new James Bond movie, the women are exposed to Daniel Craig all film long.

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3 Comments

  1. dcooper101 Said,

    May 19, 2010 @ 10:39 am

    i agree! and about female filmmakers, now that Kathryn Bigalow won an oscar maybe more female filmmakers will get a chance. there are some that i really like. i like Jane Campion’s The Piano, and i forgot her name but i really loved the film boys don’t cry. so i hope there’s a future for more female filmmakers.

  2. raf modelleri Said,

    June 20, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

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    July 14, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

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