Monday, August 30, 2010

Afterthought-less-thoughts on Laura Mulvey and the Male gaze

Teaching Mulvey's Visual Pleasures and Narrative essay along with her "afterthoughts" essay this week in my grad seminar on Film Theory (. . . in Theory) by readings its textual unconscious symptomatically. The examples of Vertigo and Duel in the Sun both resist her account of them (she has no account of resistance or repetition compulsion in her putatively psychoanalytic account of the male gaze) and offer her material that could strongly support her account, material which she nevertheless omits. Mulvey is not a close reader, but even her account of the genre and narrative structure of the two films she chose are wildly off, and she does not explain why she has chosen these two films (which really do work well together). Mulvey, I will suggestion class, is an exemplary model of the (self-castrating) violence of all criticism irrespective of gender. It is telling that she avoids Lacan.

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