Film Studies 1022 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Voyeurism, Oedipus Complex, The Female Spectator

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Vertigo
Tuesday December 6th, 2016
What is psychoanalysis?
Importance of early childhood development
Irrational impulses are caused by the unconscious
Repression produces neuroses
Therapy helps (understanding one’s unconscious drives; interpretation of dreams and fantasies can facilitate
this process)
Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
The gaze
The camera assumes the role of the male spectator
Scopophilia
Pleasure obtained from looking
A term she uses
Spectator identification
She talks about how visual pleasure is derived and how it distributed among the spectators
Who experiences it and who does not
Patriarchy
How movies reinforce the patriarchy in society
“Women are simultaneously looked at and displayed,
with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic
impact.
The woman then stands in the patriarchal culture
as a signifier for the male other, bound by
symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions.
The woman is a bearer of meaning,
not maker of meaning.
Female characters are vehicles for male characters to act
They themselves are unimportant except for the male character
“Ultimately, the meaning of woman is sexual difference.”
“Her exhibitionism, her masochism, make her an ideal passive counterpart to Scottie’s active sadistic
voyeurism.”
Tania Modleski’s “Hitchcock, Feminism, and the Patriarchal Unconscious”
The female spectator is “caught in a double desire, identifying at one and the same time not only with the
passive (female) object, but also with the active (usually male) subject.”
Suggesting the benefit to be able to see both
Scottie spends his time trying to “reassert a masculinity lost when he failed in his performance of the law.”
Suggests that Mulvey picked the wrong movie to make her point
Judy is not willing to participate in Scottie’s dress up game
The joke’s on him; he’s duped then dupes himself
His masculinity is tied to his job- he spends time reasserting his masculinity when he fails at his job
He is exposed as being a slave to the necessity to subdue the female character to reassert
his masculinity
Hitchcock depicts him as immature
Melancholia
Oedipus Complex
He is immature and she is a sort of mother-figure
Dream Symbolism
Hints that Scottie is obsessed with death
We see him falling into a grave
Madeline is associated with death
“Somewhere here I was born… and there I died.”
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