Film Studies 1022 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Oedipus Complex, Neurosis, Voyeurism

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“You’re a Big Boy Now”: Hitchcock’s Vertigo and
the Male Spectator 2016-01-19
When watching the film, you’re passively watching it rather than fully
taking it in.
No option with spectator identification
What is psychoanalysis?
Importance of early childhood development
Irrational impulses are caused by the unconscious
oYou’re driven be things you’re not aware of
Repression produces neuroses
oRepress trauma, and all kinds of things
Therapy helps (understanding one’s unconscious drives;
interpretation of dreams and fantasies can facilitate this process)
Think Sigmund Freud
Psychoanalysis In Film – feminist psychoanalysis:
Typically coded as male as well as heterosexual
Made to fulfill desires and alleviate the anxieties of the heterosexual
male
Shown through the male eyes
HETEROSEXUAL MALE DESIRE GET FROM LOOKING AT EROTIC OR
EROTICISED OBJECTS
Women are only to be looked at, there when needed but out of the
way when not
The male audience as well as male character desire the female
characters
Females are shown to never have desires of their own
Feminist Theory
Arrived in the 70’s
Related what it saw in film (stereotypical portrayal of females in
film) to real life world and broader context
Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
The gaze
oSuggest that the look of the camera is male, that the camera
facilitates a male pov and therefore facilitates the male
audiences pov. The audience is always assumed to be male.
Scopophilia
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oPleasure obtained from looking. A pleasure that cinema
satisfies
Spectator identification
oHow visual pleasure is dervied
Patriarchy
oWomen are disposable
Points to psychoanalytic theory as a precise thing of how these
mechanisms work in film. How movies transplant that into their own
environment.
“…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”
oThe woman is a vehicle or the male to enact their desires in
one way or another
oThey inspire love, concern
oA woman can be part of a quest/rescue
oShe in some way makes the man who he is, she is necessary
for making the man be who he wants to be, but she herself is
unimportant.
“Ultimately, the meaning of woman is sexual difference”
oMen build their identity on this difference
Male character can see the female character as his own sexualised
object
Specifically mentions vertigo
“Her exhibition, her masochism, make her an ideal passive
counterpart to Scottie’s active sadistic voyeurism”
oscottie plays dress up to make madeline become judy again
Vertigo
Sees much of the film through Scottie
Madeline/Judy is nothing but a mystery to be solved for Scottie to
work through his problem
oShe serves no purposed but to cure is narcosis
Patriarchy where women are disposable
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