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1 Contents Introduction 1 1 Feminist Disruptions in Postcolonial Film 5 2 Queering Repression and Gender Codes 28 3 Malignant Narcissism and the Toxic Family 55 4 Embracing Mature Female Eroticism 77 Works Cited 102 Index 105 vi DOI: /

2 Introduction Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey. Disruptive Feminisms: Raced, Gendered, and Classed Bodies in Film. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, doi: / DOI: /

3 2 Disruptive Feminisms Feminism is defined in so many ways that it clearly has long grown well beyond the scope of gender. As a global cultural feminist, I seek to highlight the ways that films and texts disrupt, challenge, and overturn the norms of race, gender, age, sexuality, and class. In Disruptive Feminisms: Raced, Gendered, and Classed Bodies in Film, I seek to shed light on the many ways that feminism lurks in unexpected places. I have always been interested in exploring less obvious feminist disruptions found in a wide variety of classical, postmodern, and postcolonial international films. The films and filmmakers who are not so obviously read as feminist or Marxist seem to find their way onto my radar. The challenge of disrupting the viewer draws me to texts that are challenging or difficult international films, but I am equally interested in classical Hollywood films and contemporary popular culture. My scope is wide and includes a broad range from the disruptive feminisms of Betty White and Amy Schumer to the Marxist and postcolonial global films of Carlos Reygadas and Călin Peter Netzer. I also explore the work of film directors such as Dorothy Arzner, Ida Lupino, Claire Denis, Michelangelo Antonioni, Paul Thomas Anderson, and many others. What pulls these artists together is their ability to disrupt and challenge everything from class and racism to sexism and ageism. Indeed, I hope the book disrupts feminism itself, because it can always use some shaking up. This volume is divided into four chapters, covering a number of films and critical approaches to these works. In Chapter 1, the reader is introduced to challenging and disruptive postcolonial films such as Carlos Reygadas Post Tenebras Lux and Claire Denis No Fear, No Die and Beau Travail. These films are revealed as examples of disruptive feminism, which is informed by a global perspective and an aesthetic of opposition. After exposing many critical misreadings of first world critics, I demonstrate the manner in which these films overturn received notions of masculinity, class, and race, along with sexuality. White colonial hegemony and white female privilege are exposed as malignant and dangerous, especially for those at the bottom of the spectrum of the race and class system. My lens is one of postcolonial opposition and feminist disruption and it grows organically out of my own extensive research and publications in race, whiteness, post-colonialism, gender, sexuality, and class. Chapter 2 brings together two classical Hollywood films by the only women working as directors in the era of the studio system: Dorothy DOI: /

4 Introduction 3 Arzner and Ida Lupino. Craig s Wife and The Hitch-Hiker are early prototypical examples and outliers of carefully coded disruptive feminism. Both films expose gender conventions as potentially pathological. Craig s Wife revolves around a pathological white female who is destroyed by her attempts to conform to the norms of patriarchy during the Depression era, and The Hitch-Hiker is about a repressed queer serial killer, a malignant white narcissist who is desperate to prove his straightness, whiteness, and masculinity through sadistic and sociopathic homicidal behavior. Arzner and Lupino are equally adept at invoking disruptive feminism, especially in their use of visual codes known to subvert the censorship of the era. Chapter 3 documents the ways in which the repression of gender conformity and the oppression of the class system under patriarchy render the nuclear white family as a toxic site of repression where malignant narcissists often reign and destroy themselves as well as those around them. By invoking disruptive feminism, one can see the effects of malignant narcissism in toxic families in Child s Pose, a Romanian film directed by Călin Peter Netzer; Bottled Up directed by Enid Zentelis, an independent American film that stars Melissa Leo as an enabler of her drug-addled daughter; and Paul Thomas Anderson s Magnolia, another example of feminist dismantling of narcissism in families under patriarchy in the white family. Finally, Chapter 4 examines the differences in the ways in which the identities of men and women are constructed in film. As Amy Schumer and others observe, Hollywood beauty standards are such that mature women are considered unsexy and even grotesque. The increasing ageism of Hollywood denies women ownership of their bodies and discourages onscreen fantasies of sexual maturity involving older women. A recent French film, Bright Days Ahead by Marion Vernoux, offers an example of disruptive feminism in the role played by Fanny Ardant, a 66-year-old woman who is unapologetically sexy, but there are still many examples of ageism and the denial of mature female sexuality. Thankfully, there are women who openly challenge patriarchy by embracing mature female sexual viability, women such as Amy Schumer, with her eponymous television show Inside Amy Schumer, and Betty White, with her pioneering, disruptive, feminist early 1950s television programs such as Life with Elizabeth and Date with the Angels, and her emergence as a role model for mature female sexual empowerment, both in her persona and in her contemporary appearances in Saturday Night DOI: /

5 4 Disruptive Feminisms Live and Hot in Cleveland. It is also essential to note the oft-missed and surprisingly disruptive feminism of canonical films such as Antonioni s La Notte and Luis Buñuel s Phantom of Liberty, which also embrace mature female sexuality. Throughout this text, I seek to question many assumptions that are routinely made about films and filmmakers, the roles of men and women in cinematic constructs, and the ways in which these films and the stereotypical roles they present are received by audiences, both past and present. We often take too much for granted when we view a film, apparently willing to accept at face value numerous damaging normative values that are reinforced by the dominant hegemony of mainstream filmmaking and film reception. This book seeks to celebrate filmmakers who step outside norms by offering us oppositional voices and disruptive feminisms. DOI: /

6 Index addiction drug, 64, porn, Advise and Consent (film), 92 ageism, 2 3, 98, , see also mature female sexuality Aldama, Frederick Luis, 13, 15 Anderson, Paul Thomas, 2, 3, 72 3, 75 Antonioni, Michelangelo, 2, 4, 19, 94 7 Ardant, Fanny, 3, 78 9, 81 Arquette, Patricia, 100 Arzner, Dorothy, 2 3, 29 30, 32 3, 35 42, 46, 48, 54 Babluani, Géla, 22 Ball, Lucille, 86, 89 Ballard, Lucien, 34 Beau Travail (film), 2, 20 2, 24 Beguiled, The (film), 69 Belle de Jour (film), 12, 99 Bergman, Ingmar, 72 3 Bertsch, Marguerite, 38 Betty White s Off Their Rockers (television show), 83 Beugnet, Martine, 23 Bielak, Anna, 8 9, 12, 14, 17 Billy Budd (Melville), 24, 25 black comedy, 58, 68, 75, 76 Boles, John, 30, 34, 40 Bottled Up (film), 3, 64, 66 8, 71 2, 75 Brialy, Jean-Claude, 21 Bright Days Ahead (film), 3, 78, 80 3 Britten, Benjamin, 24 Broch, Hermann, 96 7 Bullock, Sandra, 84 Buñuel, Luis, 4, 6 8, 12 13, 17, Burke, Kathleen, 41 Butica, Andrei, 63 Cameron, Ian, 96 Cantor, Eddie, 90, 91 Caravaggio, 45 CGI (computer-generated imagery), 10, 11, 14 Chesnais, Patrick, 78, 82 Child s Pose (film), 3, 56 7, 59, 63 4, 68, 75 Chocolat (film), 20 class disruptions, 2, 6 7, 10 11, 14 19, 21 women s definition, 66, 97 class war, 18, 19 cockfighting, 20 3 codependency, 68, 71 Colin, Grégoire, 24, 26 Consequences of Feminism, The (film), 38 Corbella, Vincenzo, 95 DOI: /

7 106 Index Corsini, Catherine, 79 Craig s Wife (film), 3, 29 30, 33, 36 8, 40, 42 3, 46, 49, 51, 54 Crawford, Joan, 37 Cronenberg, David, 73 Crosby, John, 90 2 Cruise, Tom, 73, 74 Darwell, Jane, 31, 42 Date with the Angels (television show), 3, 86 7, Denis, Claire, 2, 20 4, 26 7 Dragnet (television show), 92 Dumitrache, Bogdan, 56, 63 Duras, Marguerite, 24 eco-feminism/eco-feminist, 6 7, 94, environment, 7, 18, 31, 70, 86, 95 6, 99 environmentalism/environmentalist, 68, 71 2, 84, 96, 99 Făgărăşanu, Domnul, 59 family, narcissism in, 56 8, 60 1, 68 9, 71 2, 75 6 Fanon, Frantz, 20, 21, 23 Fargeau, Denis, 20 Fargeau, Jean-Pol, 20 Fedderson, Don, 87 female imagination, 90 femininity, 37, 39, 41 feminism, 2 4, 93, 101 black comedy as disruptive, 58, 68, 75, 76 disruptive, 56, 68, 76, 95, 98, 100 Marxist, 37 pathological female, 3, 30, 33, 35, 37 8, 40 4, 46 7, 54 postcolonial films, 6 27 Fey, Tina, 100 Florida Enchantment, A (film), 38 Fox, Michael, 18 France, mature female sexuality, freedom, 6 8, 10, 13, 48, 63, 90, 92, 100 Frozen River (film), 65 gender disruptions, 2, 6, 10, 20, 22, 27 malignant narcissism, 3, 29, 31, 44, 56 7 pathological females, 3, 30, 33, 35, 37 8, 40 4, 46 7, 54 women s definition, 66, 97 gender conventions pathological female in Craig s Wife (film), 30 42, 51 serial killer in The Hitch-Hiker (film), 29, 31, Gheorghiu, Luminita, 56, 57, 59, 63, 64 Goia, Ilinca, 59 Golden Girls (television show), 87, 93 Grace, April, 74 Grand Illusion (film), 39 Greven, David, 44 Guy, Alice, 38 Gyllenhaal, Maggie, 78 Hall, Philip Baker, 72 Hamilton, Josh, 68 Hanks, Tom, 84 Harris, Neil Patrick, 85 Haynes, William, 33 Hayward, Louis, 53 Hetcher, Anne, 85 heterosexuality, 32, 36, 40 1, 46 7, 49 50, 54 Hiroshima Mon Amour (film), 25 Hitch-Hiker, The (film), 3, 29, 31, 42 4, Hoberman, Jim, 24 Hoffman, Philip Seymour, 75 Hollywood beauty standards, 3, 9, 67, 78, films, 2, 29, 37, 40, 66 Hollywood on Television (television show), 86 7 Holofcener, Nicole, 101 homosexuality, 24 7, 38, 40, 47 Hot in Cleveland (television show), 4, 83, 93 DOI: /

8 Index 107 How Men Propose (film), 38 Hunt, Courtney, 65 I Love Lucy (television show), 86, 89 imagination, 6 7, 11, 13, 25, 85, 90, 98 income disparity, 7, 13 Inside Amy Schumer (television show), 3, Ireland, Marin, 68 Ivanov, Vlad, 61 J ai pas sommeil (I Can t Sleep) (film), 20 Jarvis, Al, 87 Karloff, Boris, 92 Keaton, Buster, 92 Kelly, George, 36 Klawans, Stuart, 26 Klein, Jessi, 101 Koehler, Robert, 8, 11 Kulp, Nancy, 92 Lafitte, Laurent, 78, 82 Lake Placid (film), 84 La Nott (film), 4, 94 7 Leaving (film), 79 Leo, Melissa, 3, Le Week-End (film), 80 Life with Elizabeth (television show), 3, 86 9 Lim, Dennis, 8 9, 17 Louie (television show), 65 Louis-Dreyfus, Julia, 100 Lovejoy, Frank, 43 Ludden, Allen, 84, 85, 93 Lupino, Ida, 2 3, 29 30, 40, Magnolia (film), 3, 72 5 Maps to the Stars (film), 73 Marti, Pascal, 21 Marxist feminism, 2, 7, 9, 37, 100 Marxist ideas, 13, 100 Mary Tyler Moore Show, The (television show), 87, 93 masculinity, disruptions, 11, 12, 13, 15, 20 5 Mastroianni, Marcello, 94 materialism, 13, 36 mature female sexuality Amy Schumer, Betty White, 82 90, 93 4, France, Mayne, Judith, 22, 33 Melville, Herman, 24 Mexico, 6 10 cultural ideas, The Hitch-Hiker (film), 51 3 institutions, 17 Michell, Roger, 80 Miner, Steve, 84 Mitchell, Thomas, 41 Monster (film), 65 Moreau, Jeanne, 94, 96, 97 Mulvey, Laura, 33 Musuraca, Nicholas, 46 narcissism children of narcissistic parents, familial, 56 8, 60 1, 68 9, 71 2, 75 6 malignant, 3, 29, 31, 44, 56 7 Narcissus, 40, 45 Narz, Jack, 88 Netzer, Călin Peter, 2, 3, 56 7, 60, 62 3 No Fear, No Die (film), 2, 20 1, 23, 27 O Brien, Edmond, 43 Osenlund, R. Kurt, 57, 63 pathological female, 3, 30, 33, 35, 37 8, 40 4, 46 7, 54 patriarchy disruptions, 6 7, 11 15, keeping norms of, 30, 37, 42 3 phallic power, 11, 66 phallic weapon, 43, 44, 47, 51, 74, 75 Phantom of Liberty, The (film), 4, Post Tenebras Lux (film), 2, 6 11, 13, 17 19, 27 Preminger, Otto, 92 DOI: /

9 108 Index privilege, 100 environmentalism, 72 underclassed, 21 wealth and, 14, 19 white female, 2, 6, 22 3, 31 3, 37 8, 41, 44, 57 8, 73, 79 Proposal, The (film), 85 PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), 50, 53 Raab, Nataşa, 57 race, 2, 101 disruptions, 6 7, 12, 14, 20, 22, 27 women s definition, 66, 97 Rădulescu, Răzvan, 56, 57 Rathbone, Basil, 92 reality, constant change, 83 fantasy and, 8 9, 12, 19, 91 humor and, 101 loss of, 32, 60, 69 Reid, Mark A., 20, 21 Reilly, John C., 74 Renoir, Jean, 39 Reygadas, Carlos, 2, 6 20, 23 Risdon, Elisabeth, 42 Robards, Jason, 72, 75 Rosenbaum, Jonathan, 73 Russell, Rosalind, 30, 39 Saldana, Zoe, 78 Saturday Night Live (television show), 3 4, 85 Schumer, Amy, 2, 3, Scorsese, Martin, 51 serial killer The Hitch-Hiker (film), 3, 29, 31, Monster (film), 65 sexuality disruptions, 2 4, 7, 13, 23 7 homosexuality, 24, 26 7, 38, 40, 47 see also mature female sexuality Sherman, Vincent, 36 Siegel, Don, 69 Silverman, Sarah, 78 Stevens, Dana, 56 Talman, William, 43, 46, 48, 51 Tarkovsky, Andrei, 19 Taxi Driver (film), 51 Theron, Charlize, 65 Thomas, Kristin Scott, 79 Tibbles, George, 87 Titieni, Adrian, 61 Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (television show), 78 Vernon, Terry, 88 9 Vernoux, Marion, 3, 78, 80 2 Vitti, Monica, 94, 95, 96 Washington, Denzel, 84 Waterhouse, John William, 45 Waxman, Sharon, 78 Weber, Lois, 38 Westman, Nydia, 31 White, Betty, 2, 3, 83 90, 93 4, Wicki, Bernhard, 94 Wilson, Dorothy, 36 Wood, Robin, 96 Wuornos, Aileen, 65 Young, Neil, 9 10, 18 Zabe, Alexis, 19 Zentelis, Enid, 3, 64, 71 2 DOI: /