This feminist guide to cinema presents the women and men who have been essential to films around the world from the first days of cinema to the 1990s. Eighty contributors cover the history of film-making, from mainstream Hollywood to the avant garde, Hitchcock to Agnes Varda, aboriginal video to women's revenge film. The book also deals with concepts in film theory and criticism. The editors include explanations of technical terms regularly used in such writing, thus making the works of specialists in these areas more accessible to lay cinema-goers.
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The concept of the look has been taken up and developed in Feminist Film Theory in the argument first advanced by Laura Mulvey that in classical Hollywood cinema the female figure on the screen is set up preeminently as an object 'to-be-looked-at,' in a spectator-text relationship which constructs a psychically masculine subject position for the spectator, regardless of her or his social gender. If, as this suggests, there can be no spectatorial look from or to the position of the feminine, can real women's pleasure in cinema be gained only at the cost of psychic crossdressing?
Scores of female writers and filmmakers contributed to this encyclopedic inves-tigation first published in 1990 in Britain. Evaluated are concepts (e.g., crossdressing, motherhood, postmodernism), genres, actresses, directors (women and men), national cinemas, studios, and much more. Demonstrating a clearly feminist perspective, the entries are stimulating yet never become arcane. The editors even have some fun by inserting trivia questions throughout the text. Kuhn and Radstone hope their efforts spur further works. One obvious choice for study would be silent film star Clara Bow, the "It Girl," who is ignored here in favor of her less popular but more politically correct contemporary, Louise Brooks. The index of the films mentioned in the text is helpful. Recommended for women's and film collections, where it complements Ally Acker's Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema, 1896 to the Present (LJ 4/15/91).
Kim Holston, American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, Pa.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description University of California Press, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Softcover, Satisfaction Guaranteed, International Shipping, Photos upon request. Bookseller Inventory # SKU0228086
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