The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television

Synopsis

Often disguised in public discourse by terms like "gay," "homoerotic," "homosocial," or "queer," bisexuality is strangely absent from queer studies and virtually untreated in film and media criticism. Maria San Filippo aims to explore the central role bisexuality plays in contemporary screen culture, establishing its importance in representation, marketing, and spectatorship. By examining a variety of media genres including art cinema, sexploitation cinema and vampire films, "bromances," and series television, San Filippo discovers "missed moments" where bisexual readings of these texts reveal a more malleable notion of subjectivity and eroticism. San Filippo's work moves beyond the subject of heteronormativity and responds to "compulsory monosexuality," where it's not necessarily a couple's gender that is at issue, but rather that an individual chooses one or the other. The B Word transcends dominant relational formation (gay, straight, or otherwise) and brings a discursive voice to the field of queer and film studies.

Excerpt

Why is it that Chasing Amy, released in 1997, comes no closer to “speaking” bisexuality than Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 film Spartacus? in a now-legendary scene, cut from the original release, Crassus (Laurence Olivier) suggestively tells Antoninus (Tony Curtis) that his “taste includes both snails and oysters.” Or, in the considerable critical literature on David Lynch’s 2001 film Mulholland Drive that I discuss in chapter 1, why is the female lead’s (or leads’) bisexuality only faintly acknowledged, an elision with significant consequences for that film’s interpretation? I call these textual and critical elisions missed moments, and devote portions of each chapter to addressing the questions and meanings left unexplored when a monosexual perspective is imposed upon a text rich with bisexual potential. Drolly noting the (at best) marginalization to which bisexuality is relegated within the realm of queer studies, Christopher James terms this tendency to claim bisexually suggestive characters and narratives as queer, gay, or lesbian “appropriation without representation.” Another missed moment permeates the sexploitation cinema cycle devoted to so-called “lesbian” vampires, figures whom I find more meaningful to discuss in terms of their compelling bisexual resonance. a phallic femme, deceptive in appearance, who straddles the line between alive and dead, richly evokes the characteristic tropes of bisexuality – for as we will see in chapter 2, the fascination and anxiety the vampire provokes stems expressly from her liminality and (in)visibility. Yet another potent site of missed bisexual meaning lies in wait within Wedding Crashers (David Dobkin, 2005) and the contemporary Hollywood bromance cycle it helped to initiate. Chapter 3 parses how . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.