A Feminine Cinematics: Luce Irigaray, Women and Film by Caroline Bainbridge

By Caroline Bainbridge

This well timed ebook presents new insights into debates round the dating among ladies and picture through drawing at the paintings of thinker Luce Irigaray. Arguing that female-directed cinema offers new how one can discover rules of illustration and spectatorship, it additionally examines the significance of contexts of creation, course and reception.

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In the chapters that follow, each of these theoretical areas is drawn out in relation to the form and content of the selected films. This theoretical approach also provides a framework for the analysis of film theory. There is a focus on the question of spectatorship underlying much of the textual analysis, and the final chapter returns to this issue directly. The relation between the theoretical explorations that form the opening chapter and the textual analyses is highly dialogical: it is difficult to separate them out.

With no means of autonomous self-definition, the mother is consumed by the maternal role. Little girls have no image of the feminine with which to identify. The mother is subjected to the Law-of-the-Father and to patterns of exchange; she gives up her father’s name in order to take her husband’s name: she has no name/identity of her own. Her role and 24 A Feminine Cinematics: Luce Irigaray, Women & Film function within culture and society becomes little more than reproductive. Woman is barred from the processes of production; her mirroring function relegates her to the realm of reproducing patriarchal phallocentric practices, despite the fact that she has no effect on how those practices moderate her existence/desire/identity.

Metz’s notion of cinematic pleasure as the ultimate goal of all classical Hollywood cinema allows for masculine pleasure alone, because the consuming symbolic subject is necessarily masculine and it is only from the masculine subject position that pleasure can be enjoyed. Pleasure is a necessary product to ensure the continuing process of exchange which dominates the cinematic institution, as Metz has pointed out. In the midst of all of this, there is, nevertheless, an important focus on the place of the screen and its mirroring function, and, in the work of Mulvey in particular, this is linked to gendered pleasure.

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