Scene Analysis: Sexuality in Blue Angel

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In Josef von Sternberg’s film Blue Angel, female sexuality is defined through the character Lola Lola. The lead female character is captured using select subject-camera distances that seem to make her appear powerful and in control. The medium shots of Professor Rath and the full shots of Lola Lola during the first “falling in love again” performance are used to compare the emotional male character to the empowered female character, and therefore illustrate the evolving sexual identity of women.

The scene begins with a full shot of Lola Lola performing in front of a large audience. Her posture and attire are fully captured by the camera as she sings to the crowd. With her hands on her hip, she performs confidently in an outfit that emphasizes her figure. The camera suddenly shifts to another full shot following Professor Rath to his reserved seat. Because the beautiful singer mesmerizes him, he must be ushered to his seat above the crowd. Again, a full shot captures the performer before she is interrupted for a formal introduction of Professor Rath.

The first medium shot in this scene shows the Professor wildly looking below at the crowd. A scanning full shot of the crowd is quickly given before returning to a seemingly happy Rath. Once again Lola strolls around the stage with her hands on her hips; the camera follows her as she sits down and sings to the delighted professor. Although the camera zooms in slightly for a three-quarter shot, the viewer is able to see her streamline body, while she enchants the main character. Rath is filmed from the waist up once more and is visibly consumed by his emotions, while the singer w is captured fully in a slightly seductive position.

The camera shifts to a peculiar three-quarter shot of the clown and a musician. From this view, the camera follows the clowns upward gaze as he looks upward at Professor Rath. The camera is slightly distanced from the sitting professor, so the viewer may see a tall sculpture...
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