Posts Tagged ‘Sex’


Posted 02 Jul 2012 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Alice Shindelar

Hysteria, UK / France / Germany / Luxembourg, 2011

Directed by Tanya Wexler

Hysteria serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Hysteria, directed by Tanya Wexler, serves up a particularly dark period of feminine history and covers it in doilies and pink sparkles, until macabre 19th-century England coughs out an unlikely romantic comedy with yet another clumsy male lead and a punchy female love interest. Worse yet, it’s not clear this film is a romantic comedy until the third act.

When I caught wind that a film with Maggie Gyllenhaal about the invention of vibrators would soon be released, Hysteria jumped to the top of my list of movies to see. The story follows Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), a progressive young doctor who insists on washing his hands before operating on a patient, a revolutionary move at the time. Out of work, Granville applies for a job at the top clinic in London serving women with hysteria. His employer, Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) informs him “half the women in London are effected.” For close to 2,000 years of European history, hysteria referred to a catch-all medical condition thought to cause everything from depression, to headaches, to a disinterest in copulation with one’s 30-second husband, a.k.a. any woman who wasn’t happy with a life of childbirth, corsets, and overall slavery to men.  Read More

Absolute Corruption – Three Films About Power

Posted 29 Jul 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead

Citizen Kane has been widely cited as the greatest American film ever made. Citizen Kane, USA, 1941

Directed by Orson Welles

Scarface, USA, 1932

Directed by Howard Hawks

Beauty and the Beast, France, 1946

Written and Directed by Jean Cocteau

Never before or since has any director made such an impressive feature film debut as Orson Welles did, at the astonishing age of 25, with Citizen Kane (1941). Despite having no prior experience in filmmaking, Welles was given carte blanche on the film, and he delivered the most original, innovative and provocative film of its time. Even today it is considered one of the greatest films ever made, and it is a standard by which all other films are judged. According to the great critic Andrew Sarris, as quoted in his 1967 book Interviews with Film Directors, “Citizen Kane is still the work which influenced the cinema more profoundly than any American film since Birth of a Nation.” Read More

Y Tu Mama Tambien – Woman As Maker Of Meaning

Posted 18 Oct 2010 — by contributor
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Corey Birkhofer

Y Tu Mama Tambien, Mexico, 2001

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron

Spoiler AlertY tu mamá tambiénAnalyzing a film such as Y Tu Mama Tambien under the influence of Laura Mulvey’s 1975 article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” is as complex as it is enlightening.  Regardless of the fact that Mulvey has since moved away from her original argument, “Visual Pleasure” continues to provide a pool of theory from which to pull in reading contemporary film. In the case of Y Tu Mama Tambien, Mulvey’s article employs several key concepts that can be used quite effectively in a reading of this film. More specifically, the general concepts of spectatorship, subjectivity, verisimilitude, Jacques Lacan’s mirror phase and symbolic order, as well as Sigmund Freud’s scopophilia and primal scene, will all have relevance throughout. The purpose of this explication is to use these aforementioned concepts in order to expose Y Tu as a film that fully employs typical representations of woman as described by Mulvey in her article. Through this exposure, it will be revealed that the employment of these conventions of representation are in place only to create a basis of contradiction that can ultimately be subverted to transform Y Tu Mama Tambien into a dialectical text.

However, before an engaged reading can be conducted, it is of paramount importance to keep in mind that first and foremost, Y Tu is an independent film. Therefore, certain independent conventions must be kept in mind alongside these key concepts in taking any theoretical stance on the film. Bearing in mind these independent conventions, the following analysis of several key sequences is crucial to exposing the relationship Y Tu shares with the concepts of spectatorship and subjectivity. In the following explication, one particular focus of analysis will be a specific shot that is considered by many as the “pay-off” shot of the entire film. This is the shot in which the main female character, Luisa Cortes (Maribel Verdu), looks directly into the camera for an extended period of time. In doing this, the female representation transfers her role as castrated spectacle to that of the spectator/subject. Thus, Y Tu Mama Tambien becomes dialectic, as its representation of woman ascends into the realm of the symbolic order. Read More