The Full Scope

The Full Scope is a Film and Video game blog specifically designated to the topic of Gender and how it is portrayed in the media

Inspired and Utilized by my Senior Seminar MASCULINITY (And Gender) in Film

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mulvey - Goddess of Assignments you Read at least Once a Film Course

Mulvey's essay of Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema is a staple of the Film Major diet. When it was written in 1973, the idea of Academic Film Theory was about as accepted as our modern acceptance of Video-game centric theory -- it seemed almost absurd in its triteness. Mulvey changed that. By combining theories of psychology with theories on accepted art Mulvey created a new way to analyze film and created a whole avenue of academic understanding as its own field.
          It was from this essay we achieved the basic premises of Gendered Film Theory, decribed briefly below, with one interesting (if not entirely relevant) quote from the section:

Destruction of Pleasure - destroying the pleasure in looking is a weapon in the arsenal of the filmmaker
       Interesting quotes:
 "This is not to reject [the assumptions of mainstream film] but to highlight the ways in which its formal preoccupations reflect the psychical obsessions of the society which produced it... and to stress that the alternative cinema must start specifically by reacting against these obsessions and assumptions." (Mulvey 15-16)
 "Analyzing pleasure destroys it" (Mulvey 16) 

Scopophilia - pleasure in looking. An active mode of looking  to take other people as objects and force your gaze upon them.
      Interesting quotes: 
"Contrast between the Darkness in the auditorium (which also isolates the spectators from one another) and the brilliance of the shifting patterns of light and shade on the screen helps to promote the illusion of voyeuristic separation" (Mulvey 17)

Ego Narcissism - the aspect of scopophilia that is reserved for identification with a character on screen and watching them so as to relate to them.
      Interesting quotes:
"The cinema has structures of fascination strong enough to allow temporary loss of ego while simultaneously reenforcing it. The sense of forgetting the world as the ego has come to perceive it (I forgot who I am and where I was) is nostalgically reminiscent of that pre-subjective moment of image recognition" (Mulvey 18)

There are many many other topics covered by Mulvey in her essay, some of which I have written below:
Active Male/Passive Female (p19)
-female freezing the form of action
-women as a catalyst for male action
-homoeroticism in the buddy movie
-Male Gaze and the Bearer of the Look
Castration Anxiety
Penis Envy
Fetishistic Scopophilia
Sadistic Scopophilia
Surrogate Viewers (how the character's gaze becomes the audience's gaze)

The article has made me wonder about  sources Mulvey mentions that could potentially be useful for my studies:
                 Pam Cook and Claire Johnston's study of The Revolt of Mamie Stover in Phil Hardy
                 (ed.), Raoul Walsh (Edinburgh, 1974).
In context, this source could provide valuable incite - apparently it gives a "striking case how the strength of this female protagonist is more apparent than real" (Mulvey 21).

Included also is some analysis of Hitchcock films such as Vertigo, and a short summary explaining about what I've mentioned above. To reproduce the article here would be redundant. Not only that but I believe that Mulvey's theories are flawed. They reflect a time period in which the world no longer works through in much of the Western Hemisphere. 

While anyone will tell you that I will be the first person to say that Feminism still has a long way to go before equality reins, we have come a long way from the 70s. The Male Gaze theory must be worked out so that it does include the concepts of the Gay Gaze, the Lesbian Gaze, the Transexual Gaze, the Female Gaze. Such films do exist. In addition objectification in film is really no longer just a women's burden to bear. Members of all genders are finding themselves objectified on screen by the gaze of the camera.

In my next post I want to take Mulvey's basic theory and begin to question specific sections of it and to wonder how portions that do not work in their current state may be altered and, more importantly, how these theories can be adjusted to fit for a new kind of Gaze: the Player Gaze.

Looking at this I may have to re-watch Hitchcock's Rope as well as other films in which the camera is used (mostly unsuccessfully) as the character. Despite the lack of free will and choice, those films are about the closest we have to what the video-game FP style became. 

Sorry this post was theory heavy and light on the analysis. Just trying to collect my thoughts on an essay I have often skimmed because of how often it is assigned.

Do not turn off the power while your progress is saving.
LEX saved the Game

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