In the Cut

Topics: Laura Mulvey, Gaze, Film theory Pages: 9 (3605 words) Published: April 4, 2010
Critically explore the themes of fairytale, memory and narrative in Jane Campion’s film In the Cut in relation to dominant ideology and gender. The essay proposed shall examine the way in which ideology and gender help portray the themes of fairytale, memory and narrative. By focusing on ideology through gender in the film, it shall firstly analyse ideology and then gender and combine the two. Important to note here, is that throughout the film gender and ideology is closely linked and throughout the film, narrative is linked to gender and ideology and together they build upon a dominance in the gender ideology. Therefore the essay presented will look at ideology, gender, and narrative separately and then show how they form to complement each other using fairytale and memory as a catalyst to their dominance. Gender -

Throughout the film, In the Cut gender roles and femininity is explored. In the movie the female plays the main protagonist, which is a recent idea as it has normally been the man who takes on such a role. I am going to explore how this is carried out and what this means for the way in which gender is portrayed in the film. Laura Mulvey talks in detail about women and media in her chapter Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, in this paper Mulvey looks at the way in which a psychoanalytical approach to look at film shows the constant patriarchy found within the history of film and how this notion is constantly reproduced within the structure of cinema and fascination today. The gaze used in cinema according to Mulvey is a male gaze and the women are “to-be-looked-at.” “In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. “ (Mulvey in Penley: 1988:62). The detective is intrigued by Franny this alpha male figure holds power while the woman is always the passive object to the man. Women that are displayed as the sexual object are the ongoing, reoccurring musical theme of the male’s desire. From strip teasing to seducing they constantly represent male’s desire. Mulveys ideas takes a rather Freudian notion of the woman. The woman is someone who is subjected almost flawed by her own biological functions. Her lack of a penis is symbolized through the procreation of children. This idea deriving from Derrirda whereby a woman is a man who is not fully developed therefore being significantly lower than the man in a Darwinian hierarchy. “A true man has no sex (...) for he must be his sex.” (Derrida: 1978:181) Femininity in the film is commonly associated with romance, sex and blood. In the film In the Cut, we can see that the colour red is used significantly with the women characters; this colour shows how femininity is used in accordance to love, romance and sex. Franny demands attention when she is embarking on sexual activity. Franny is intrigued by it and drawn into it; she gains pleasure from it and plays a dominant role. The idea of this being different is that normally a female protagonist would not play this role, and the way in which it is carried out marks independence for her character, the film here shows an emphasis towards the red dress that her sister wears and then she wears in the ending scene, there is also associations with red in desire, in the bar when she watches sexual activity the whole room is red. Romance is embedded amongst each main character. These characters are Franny her sister Pauline, Detective Malloy and his partner Detective Rodriguez. These character have a link toward opposition, the two females can be compared by the audience, as can be the two males. Here we seek to find what their stories hold. Each character is infatuated with romance and lust, Franny sees beauty of romance in her memory of her father and also in poetry, her sister finds romance in conventional social formalities, such as marriage...

Bibliography: • Andrew, D: (1984) Concepts in Film Theory. New York, Oxford University Press.
• Mulvey, L in Penley, C: (1988) Feminism and Film Theory. New York, Routledge.
• Cook, P and Johnston, C in Penley, C: (1988) Feminism and Film Theory. New York, Routledge.
• Thornham, S: (2007). Starting to Feel Like a Chick. Feminist Media Studies. 7:1 33-46
• Propp, V: (1968). Morphology of the Folktale. Texas. University of Texas Press.
• Jameson, F: (1991). Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. London, Durham University Press.
• Barthes, R: (1997). Image-Music-Text. London. Fontana Press
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