Cover image for Sexual politics and narrative film : Hollywood and beyond
Title:
Sexual politics and narrative film : Hollywood and beyond
Author:
Wood, Robin, 1931-2009.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
x, 352 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780231076043

9780231076050
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN1995.9.P6 W66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This is an examination of the relationship between narrative style and sexual politics. The book probes the political and sexual ramifications of fascism and cinema, marriage and the couple, romantic love and representations of women, race and gender in contemporary films from the United States, Europe and Japan. Looking closely at the work of Leo McCarey and Jacques Rivette, and generation X films such as Before Sunrise, Wood finds that what is most important is not these films' record of another time and place, but the light they can throw on contemporary cultural situations. Wood's central concern is the ways in which films relate to sexual politics and the organization within our culture of gender and sexuality.


Summary

One of the most distinctive voices in film criticism explores relationships between narrative style and sexual politics. Robin Wood, well known for his books Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan and Hitchcock's Films Revisited, probes the political and sexual ramifications of fascism and cinema, marriage and the couple, romantic love, and representations of women, race, and gender in contemporary films from the United States, Europe, and Japan. He looks closely at the works of Leo McCarey and Jacques Rivette, Ozu's "Noriko Trilogy," and the recent Generation X films Before Sunrise and The Doom Generation. In a chapter on fascism and cinema that juxtaposes Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and Alain Resnais's Night and Fog, Wood finds that what is most important is not these films' record of another time and place but "the light they can throw on our contemporary cultural situation." Wood's central concern in these chapters is the ways in which the films relate to sexual politics and the organization within our culture of gender and sexuality. Seeing humanity as a "battleground" of a struggle between forces for Life and those of Death, Wood holds out hope for a joining of the forces of feminism, antiracism, lesbian and gay rights, and environmentalism necessary for authentic movement toward liberation.


Author Notes

Robin Wood, recently retired as professor of film studies at Atkinson College, York University, Canada, is the author of Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan and Hitchcock's Films Revisited (both Columbia).


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Wood (York Univ., Canada) is a distinctive voice in film criticism: his Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (CH, Sep'86) is a standard text. This new volume ranges from films like Murnau's Sunrise (Germany, 1928) to Before Sunrise (USA, 1995). He offers extended discussions of canonical films of German, French, English, Japanese, and US cinema and makes some unusual choices, such as Mandingo (1975), "an abused masterpiece." Wood's interpretations can meander, but a persistent concern with "the organization within our culture of gender and sexuality" gives his wide-ranging argument a certain coherence. He is concerned with the ways film represents, frames, distorts, comments on, and seeks to offer fictional transformations of the psychological and social organization of gender and sexuality. His passionate convictions sometimes distract attention from strong analyses that could more effectively stand alone. He uncovers the ideological assumptions that underpin a text and shape "the central, if generally unrecognized, problem of Western culture--the problem of the heterosexual couple." Wood has a rare and welcome grasp of the difficulties of fashioning a film narrative that both satisfies a mass audience and remains critical of its own achievement. The volume shares some themes with Virginia Wexman's Creating the Couple (CH, Dec'93). Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty. K. T"ol"olyan; Wesleyan University


Choice Review

Wood (York Univ., Canada) is a distinctive voice in film criticism: his Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (CH, Sep'86) is a standard text. This new volume ranges from films like Murnau's Sunrise (Germany, 1928) to Before Sunrise (USA, 1995). He offers extended discussions of canonical films of German, French, English, Japanese, and US cinema and makes some unusual choices, such as Mandingo (1975), "an abused masterpiece." Wood's interpretations can meander, but a persistent concern with "the organization within our culture of gender and sexuality" gives his wide-ranging argument a certain coherence. He is concerned with the ways film represents, frames, distorts, comments on, and seeks to offer fictional transformations of the psychological and social organization of gender and sexuality. His passionate convictions sometimes distract attention from strong analyses that could more effectively stand alone. He uncovers the ideological assumptions that underpin a text and shape "the central, if generally unrecognized, problem of Western culture--the problem of the heterosexual couple." Wood has a rare and welcome grasp of the difficulties of fashioning a film narrative that both satisfies a mass audience and remains critical of its own achievement. The volume shares some themes with Virginia Wexman's Creating the Couple (CH, Dec'93). Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates through faculty. K. T"ol"olyan; Wesleyan University


Table of Contents

I Introductory
1 Introduction
2 Facisim/Cinema
II Marriage and the Couple
3 The Couple and the Other
4 Renoir and Mozart
5 Resistance to Definition: Ozu's "Noriko" Trilogy
III The Family
6 Leo McCarey and "Family Values"
7 Family Loyalties
IV Romantic Love
8 The Two Gaslights
9 Letter from an Unknown Woman: The Double Narrative
V Women -- Oppression and Transgression
10 Three Films of Mizoguchi: Questions of Style and Identification
11 Persona Revisited
VI Race and Gender
12 Mandingo: The Vindication of an Abused Masterpiece
VII Toward Liberation
13 Narrative Pleasure: Two Films by Jacques Rivette
14 Drawing Earl: The Lesson of Life Classes
15 Rethinking Romantic Love: Before Sunrise
16 Finale: The Doom Generation
I Introductory
1 Introduction
2 Facisim/Cinema
II Marriage and the Couple
3 The Couple and the Other
4 Renoir and Mozart
5 Resistance to Definition: Ozu's "Noriko" Trilogy
III The Family
6 Leo McCarey and "Family Values"
7 Family Loyalties
IV Romantic Love
8 The Two Gaslights
9 Letter from an Unknown Woman: The Double Narrative
V Women -- Oppression and Transgression
10 Three Films of Mizoguchi: Questions of Style and Identification
11 Persona Revisited
VI Race and Gender
12 Mandingo: The Vindication of an Abused Masterpiece
VII Toward Liberation
13 Narrative Pleasure: Two Films by Jacques Rivette
14 Drawing Earl: The Lesson of Life Classes
15 Rethinking Romantic Love: Before Sunrise
16 Finale: The Doom Generation

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