Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
8Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Harvey_Sarte, Cinema, Spectator

Harvey_Sarte, Cinema, Spectator

Ratings: (0)|Views: 133|Likes:
Published by kyogai
Scanned pdf-essay. For online research purposes ONLY!
Scanned pdf-essay. For online research purposes ONLY!

More info:

Published by: kyogai on May 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/23/2013

pdf

text

original

 
Sartre/Cinema:Spectator/ArtThat IsNotOne
byRobertHarvey
Cinematicspectatorshipand itsrelation toquestionsofgenderhas been the focusof numerousarticles andtheoreticalprojectssince theearly1970s.' LauraMul-vey's1975article,"Visual Pleasure and NarrativeCinema,"2"firstspelledouttheimplicationsofLacanian-AlthusserianmodelsofspectatorshipMetz,Baudry)for acritiqueofpatriarchalcinema."3Heroriginalargumentiswell-known: withpredictablesuccess,commercialfilmmakers urespectatorsintodarkenedroomswith theimplicitpromiseofsatisfyinginnatescopophilicdesires ofeither avoyeuristicor afetishistic order.White,middle-class,male andheterosexual,Mulvey's implied spectatorviews filmsproducedinHollywood'sclassical era offilmnarrativethat,accordingto RolandBarthes,systematically reproducetheOedipalconfigurationrelegatingwomen to the statusofobject.Mulvey'sfirsttheoretization of cinematicreceptionwaslimitedbyitspreoc-cupationwitha malegazeembeddedinaperiod yetuntouchedbyfeministcritiquesofsocietyand culture. Her"Afterthoughts"n1981 weremeant torectifythislimitationbycircumscribingthe femalespectator'sreactionto film.4As inFreud's theories onfemininity, Mulveyconsideredthe femalespectatorasoscillatingbetween the twoequally unacceptablealternatives ofregressivemas-culinizationthroughidentification with a male hero(transvestism)or maso-chisticallyimaginingherself in aconventional femaleposition,bothof whichperpetuatethepatriarchaleconomyofimagesandlooking.Theories ofspectatorshipand alternate film formspracticednowformorethan adecade eludestable definition.5Far fromproducinganswersandinvitingclosure,questionsofspectatorshipand its relation togenderhaveprovenmoreambiguousthanpreviouslythought.Whilemanyfeminist filmcritics remain ingeneralagreementwithMulvey,the reduction of allmoviegoingpleasuretovoyeuristic,fetishistic,or masochisticscopophiliatheinevitablemasculinizationorfeminizationof the filmspectator-seems fartoolimiting.Feminist filmcriticsnolongertakeforgrantedthat toexperiencevisualpleasureimpliessubserviencetopatriarchalvaluesthroughdirect ordisplacedidentifications.Judith Maynesuggestsasmuchinarhetoricalquestionsheposedin1981: "Ifwomencast acinematicgazeinsiderooms,doesthisnecessarilyentailanidentificationwiththe entiresystemofcinematicvoyeurism?"6fwomen aretocontinue topar-ticipateas filmspectators,then itisurgenttoformulate the evolution ofanewlyorientedspectatorshipthat would not feedrepressiveeconomies ofperception.MaryAnnDoanehassuccinctlyexpressedtheproblembyassertinghat"feministRobertHarveys anassistantrofessorfFrenchatSUNY-Stonyrook.Hisbook onSartre,paternity,nd ethics sforthcoming.?1991BoardofTrusteesoftheUniversityofIllinoisCinemaJournal30,No.3,Spring1991
43
 
filmtheoryhasconvincinglydemonstratedthe extent to which the womaninthe cinema isimagedas deficientorlackingin her'object-hood.'But it isbecomingincreasinglyevident that the construction ofher'subject-hood'posesdifficultiesaswell."7Miriam Hansengoesas far as to callfora"redemptionofscopophilia"in ordertodefine afemalespectatorshipthatcould somehowpreventthe con-ceptualreduction of anunrepressive,ambivalent,andreciprocalwayoflookingto"voyeurism,fetishism and...theregimeof castration."8TeresadeLauretissuggests,finally,thatfreeingspectatorshipfromdominantideologicalstructuresmay requirethedevelopmentof atypeofcounter-cinemathat would "addressitsspectatorasawoman,regardlessofthegenderof the viewers."9Figuringouthowspectatorscreatemeaningoutofan artwork or thepurposeofrevolutionizingstructuresoflookingwasnotentirelyan innovation of the1970s.SiegfriedKracauer'searlywritingsaboutaudience reaction to the moviesare anintegralpartof hiscritiqueof the effects ofpopularcultureonpolitical,social,and ethical relations. It is also useful to examineearlyrecords that havebeenkeptofexperiencesoffilmreception,especiallysincetheyapproximatelycoincide withbuddingtheories ofspectatorship.Anexampleof sucharecordisthat ofJean-PaulSartre.IfHansen chose tostudyRudolphValentinobecauseas"a male eroticobject[heis]afigureofoverdetermination,anunstablecompositefigurethat connotes[inTeresa de Lauretis'swords]'the simultaneouspresenceof twopositionalitiesofdesire,'"'Otis forthepurposeofpromotingsimilarambiguitiesindesire andpleasure provoked bycinematicreceptionthatIhavechosen Sartre as acase forinvestigatingthe situation of thereceiver ofcinemaandchosen Kracauer'sdeasasthe theoreticalbackdrop."WhySartre ofallpeople?How couldSartre,whocultivated thetough,defensivemachostyleofwritingcommonplaceinWesternfiction ofthe 1930sand1940s,beconstrued as asensitivecinephile,as apossiblemodel of somefuturespectator?Whilefindinginspirationinthe narrativetechniquesofDosPassos andHemingway,Sartre alsograftedtheirdemeaningattitudes towardwomen tohiswritings.Even hisphilosophicalcategoriesare taintedbythe all-too-familiar beliefinahierarchical difference betweengenders.'2Writingabout"thepossiblelessons thatSartre's Freud scenarioencouragesus todraw aboutthefateofcreativityinhighlycapitalizedindustries such asthecinema,"DanaPolan,temperinghisadmiration for Sartre'ssensitivityforseeingthe sexualpoliticsinpsychoanalysis,cautionsagainst drawingtheconclusion"thattheanswertoa dominantsystemisthe erectionofastrongman(theresistant andrebelliousFreud,the resistant and rebelliousSartre)into aRomantic,heroicfigureabletoriseabove the demandsofthe worldinan actofsupremetran-scendence."'3ThemetaphorsSartre'sthoughtinspiresinhis commentatorsareunambiguouslyphallic.YetSartre's machismo seemssuspendedwhen he talks about the movies.TheeffectsofcinemaonSartreare describedinfascinatingdetail firstbySimonedeBeauvoir in LaForce del'age(1960),thenbySartrehimself in LesMots(1964).Sartre'spectatorialexperienceascircumscribedbythese twobiographical
44
CinemaJournal30,No.3,Spring1991
 
contextsunexpectedlyreveals elements ofamodeoflookingratherdifferentfrom what wemightinfer from hiswritingson themedium. Whetherreflectingcriticallyonfilmordescribinghisexperienceasspectator,Sartre is farmoreambivalentabout hispatriarchallydefined maleness than heis inanyotherofhisdiscourses.'4AsIhaveinterpretedtheseaccounts,the exaltedlevelofpleasurehe attainsinhismoviegoingexperiencesderivesfrom apropensityforoccupyingseveralsupposedly incompatiblespectatorial positionsatthesame time. Ratherthan confirm recent theoriesofspectatorshipbasedon sexualdifference,'5thecaseofSartre tendstocollapsetheincompatibilitieseither betweendivergentfemale reactionsinregardto narrativefilm or between a male and a femaleform ofspectatorship.InLesMots,Sartre recountshowduringhis childhood he wouldfrequentlyhead off to the movies with hisyouthfulwidowedmother,Anne-Marie. Laterin hislife,asSimonedeBeauvoir tellsus,Sartre(whocontinued to livewithhis mother until herdeathin1969)chose Beauvoir toaccompanyhim inallhisexcursions into theculturalsphere.These two written accounts of cinematicinterludes,shared with the two mostimportantwomen in Sartre'slife,revealmoments ofcruciallyintimate sensorialandemotionalintensitythat on thesurfaceseemincompatible.Bythe title ofmyessay,after LuceIrigaray'sThis sex whichis notone,Iamproposingthat there is not one Sartre at thecinema and thatconsequentlyhis cinematicspectatorshipcannot be closed offbygendereddef-initionsofspectatorship.'6Sartre is neither theperpetratorof anobjectifying gazenorthesubjectofapassiveidentificationwiththeobjectof thatgazethat to some hasseemed theonly option opento the femalespectator.Sartreasspectatorisneverone,norishe ever alone inthe darkened room.ChristianMetz's claimthat"ina certainsense oneisalwaysalone at the cinema"17wasperhapsnotmeantliterally,butwe must atleastnowask how Sartreatthe moviesdiffersfrom Sartreawayfromthemovies and howthat differencemighttellusmore about the effect of cinemaontheperceivingsubjectingeneral.In1931,at alyceegraduationceremonyin LeHavre,Sartredelivered aspeechinwhichhetookthe somewhat audaciouspositionofconferringthe statusofartuponcinematography.'8AlthoughincosmopolitanEuropethe cinema wasgraduallybeingendorsedasanew artmedium,toprovincialsecondaryschooladministratorsand theirbourgeoisconstituentsthemovies still seemedlittle morethanavulgarsource ofdistraction whoseannoyingsurvivalcouldonlybe at-tributed to thebasepreferencesof theculturally deprivedsectors ofsociety:women,workers,children.At a time when moviehouses were stillbeingcomparedbyparentsto dens ofiniquity,Sartre,thoughnotyetapoliticalpropagandist,couldbe foundpromotingthe notion that thecinematicinstitution hadhighpedagogicalpotential(thegraduationspeechwaspublishedin1950 underthetitle "TheCinema is Not aBadSchool").InSartre's earliestworks about theCinemaJournal30,No.3,Spring1991
45

Activity (8)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
drober liked this
makbul liked this
makbul liked this
makbul liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->