Film Feminisms: Theory and Practice

Film Feminisms: Theory and Practice

Film Feminisms: Theory and Practice

Film Feminisms: Theory and Practice

Synopsis

'Gentile defines here the role of critical subjectivity for the feminist spectator, examining how contradictions in women's films provide a key for understanding women's oppression. In Part I, Gentile acknowledges that her approach is founded on Jacques Lacan's and Louis Alhusser's theories regarding ideology and subjectivity. She argues that her ideas are not a departure--but are rather a development--of the classial film theories of Andre Bazin and Sergei Eisenstein. Part 2 consists of four case studies or textual readings.... Invaluable bibliography, and a helpful list of film credits and distributors. Upper division undergraduate and graduate readership.'-Choice

Excerpt

What is our aim when we set out to develop a Feminist Film Theory? What roles does film theory serve and in what ways can it be feminist? J. Dudley Andrew defines the subject of film theory as the "cinematic capability" and its aim, "to formulate a schematic notion of the capacity of film." Although these notions suggest a study of cinematic potential, they might become restrictive if we do not see theory as process or flux. Any theory of film capacity will have to adopt and change as cinema technology grows more sophisticated, and as our notions of aesthetics, of ideology, and of the function of art develop in relation to the social and political moment. Alongside a systematic analysis of how film has functioned, a more progressive theory might suggest new directions and new methods, thereby blurring a bit the distinctions between film theory and film practice. Add to this definition of film theory Nancy Hartsock's definition of feminist theory: "The role of theory, then, is to articulate for us what we know from our practical activity, to bring out and make conscious the philosophy embedded in our lives." A feminist film theory, then, will not only describe what we construct in film and how we construct it, but also will explore and explain the ideologies that are served by our cinema. In other words, what assumptions about the nature of reality underlie Bazin's analysis of the Italian neorealist cinema? And what conscious and unconscious political commitments fuel Eisenstein's dream of an "Intellectual Cinema?"

So a feminist film theory will be an "engaged" theory, en-

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