Casablanca - a Feminist Perspective

Topics: Female, Ingrid Bergman, Gender Pages: 2 (660 words) Published: April 10, 2008
The 1942 film Casablanca is not at all a feminist film, and neglects to challenge the status quo of the roles of women in cinema, and in society, at the time. All personnel who worked on the movie were male, as were the majority of the characters, save for Ilsa (portrayed by Ingrid Bergman), who does little more than flutter her eyelashes. The female characters are all but silenced, relegated to being wives and girlfriends whilst the males hold more reputable occupational positions such as bar owner, policemen, piano players… Also, all the memorable lines of the movie (“Here’s looking at you kid”, Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, among others) belong to male characters. Females do not really have a place at all in the film, for example Yvonne, Rick’s soon to be discarded girlfriend, is given no say or control over what happens to her and is sent home in an early scene. Captain Renault even remarks: “How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Someday they may be scarce. You know, now I think I shall pay a call on Yvonne. Maybe get her on the rebound. Hmm?”. This kind of banter, although playful on the surface, marks a deep undertone affecting the whole society depicted in Casablanca, and especially the character of Captain Renault: one of near misogyny, if not simply a lack of respect for women. Captain Renault is a key example of the characters that inhibit the 1940’s: people who take no care in hiding their ideal of male superiority, treating women like objects of sexual desire and not as equal human beings. The film doesn’t at all challenge this notion, instead using it as a sort of ‘running joke’, not condemning Renault or any other character for their behaviours. Females themselves in the film also accept their place in society, to quote Ilsa “I won’t cause you any trouble.” It seems they are part of a long history of inequality, and see no reason for changing this. It’s evident that most of the important...
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