Monthly Archives: May 2010

Gimme Shelter: The Complicity of Viewing

“See the Rolling Stones and die“ Gimme Shelter, the Maysles brothers’ documentary on the Rolling Stones, has been named “the most harrowing rock ‘n’ roll movie ever made.” Critics, especially around the film’s release, considered both the Maysles and the Rolling … Continue reading

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Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda’s career as a feminist filmmaker moves from the French New Wave and Left Bank movements to political modernism, portraying with sincerity the lives of women. From her first film, La Pointe Courte (1956), she combines realism with subjective … Continue reading

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The Gaze Equals Judgment in ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul [1974] achieves an empirical objectivity that breaks the system of visual pleasure described by Laura Mulvey using its forms to show, not efface, society’s objectification of the “other.” He focuses on characters … Continue reading

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RENT: From Stage to Screen

Chris Columbus’ 2002 film Rent translates the 1996 rock opera into cinematic language. The optimism and hope, combined with harsh social commentary, seething rock ballads and stirring human stories that is Jonathan Larson’s Rent is a challenge to modify for the screen. Using the … Continue reading

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Women and Spike Lee, V: Virgin/Whore

Spike Lee has difficulty creating a female character that can be both sexual and a strong woman (though there are some exceptions). Almost every woman in Spike’s films fits into the virgin/whore complex (particularly in the films he wrote). Genius … Continue reading

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Women and Spike Lee, IV: Rape

The exploitation of women extends even further in some films, to the point of rape. Rape in Spike’s films serves to assert male power over women: putting the unruly woman back in her place. In School Daze, Julian exhibits his complete … Continue reading

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Women and Spike Lee, III: Women as Betrayers

The threat of the woman embodied in the idea of temptation is fully expressed through the betrayers, female characters who have sold out (or appear to have sold out) the man they love for their own gain. Both betrayers are … Continue reading

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