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SlideShare utilise les cookies pour améliorer les fonctionnalités et les performances, et également pour vous montrer des publicités pertinentes. Si vous continuez à naviguer sur ce site, vous acceptez l’utilisation de cookies. Consultez notre Politique de confidentialité et nos Conditions d’utilisation pour en savoir plus.
Feminist Film theory
the representations of the female gender
representation of female characters
the status of women in the film industry
A feminist film focuses upon the female gender and
experiences of women, rather than merely has a female lead
Feminist film theorists
• Laura Mulvey - ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975)
• Mulvey discusses the ‘Male Gaze’ - mainstream cinema is
constructed around a series of ‘gazes’ for male pleasure.
• This includes the characterisation, the camerawork and the
• Females are objectified for the (sexual) pleasure of the male
• Claire Johnstone (1975) ‘Women’s Cinema as Counter
• Argues that through conscious production and in opposition to
sexist ideologies, films made by women have the potential to
pose as an alternative to traditional mainstream films.
Marxist Film theory
• Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1948.
• He believed that the history of society was based on class
struggles and materialism
• He was in opposition to traditional Hollywood narrative
structure and was opposed to a singular protagonist
• but was in favour of group decision making. Marxist theory
films can also encode political views, with a belief that
Hollywood promotes capitalism by drawing you into the
propaganda/ marketing. For example, a shot reverse shot is
devised to make the viewer align with the
Marxist ideas are:
• Everyone is equal
• Capitalism is an evil and corrupting force
• The Government should protect its people, not oppress them.
This can be seen in film as:
• The individual can make a difference to the world, a group can
change the world
• The individual can improve themselves, by being part of a
• Good will triumph and effort will be rewarded
• The criminal returns to the scene of the crime and evil will be
• Corruption exists in isolated cases
• Financial comfort and stable marriage is the best reward/ do
not do drugs/ drink/ meddle with things you do not
Films relate to this by:
Supporting the ideology
Attacking the ideology / message
Subverting the messages and values
Attacking first and then endorsing
Looking like they endorse and then show weaknesses in the
• French New Wave films are an example of this
Postcolonialism and Race Studies
• Post Colonialism = the relationship between nations/ areas
that have been ruled / colonised.
• Postcolonialism refers to the time after the period of
colonialism, (mainly through flashbacks).
• It is often controversial and relates to identity politics.
• Postcolonial theory addresses identity matters, race, racism,
ethnicity and gender.
• It deals with resistance, conflict, challenges to western schools
of thought (including religion and law, creativity/ capitalism
Psychoanalytic Film Theory
• developed in the 1970-80s associated with critical theory
which analyses film from a psychoanalytical stand point.
• The viewer is identified as the subject of the ‘gaze’ what is
constructed by the text.
• What is on screen (mise en scene) is the object of the
• Identification is normally through the male protagonist for the
subject / viewer.
• The theory argues that the film seems to offer a completeness
to the subject / viewer, although this is always an illusion (as
films are merely constructions of reality).
Psychoanalytic Film Theorists
• Jacques Lacan (French - Freudian - Philosopher 1901-1981)
• The main idea is that the theory deconstructs both the
spectacle of cinema and the elements of film, which are both
shaped by the unconscious.
• The unconscious has been broken down into four areas:
• The Filmmaker’s Unconscious
• The Character’s Unconscious
• The Audience’s Unconscious
• The Unconsciousness of Cinematic Discourse.
• It is also worth looking at Freudian theory in relation to this.
Social Realist (British New Wave)
• representation and exploration of political and social issues.
• Social realist films represent true-to-life characters and
• The lighting is normally ‘naturalistic’, which means without
lenses or soft lighting
• Social Realist Film Theorists
• Raymond Williams (British Professor, 1921-1988)
• Samantha Lay
Common themes of social
Working class as heroes
Structuralist Film Theory
• The theory explores, or demystifies, how films create meaning
through codes and conventions (or semantics and content)
• denotation / connotation
• Sign / signified
• A shot of someone looking sad, then a shot to a glass of water
and back to the person, the audience would understand that
the person was thirsty.
• the use of editing, a particular shot or lighting technique can
all emphasise a meaning, emotion or reaction from the
Formalist film theory
• how the different elements create an effect and have a style
• film = art and therefore is not a reproduction of reality, it is a
• Auteurs create their own style - for example Quentin
Tarantino and his use of dialogue and close ups and how they
communicate ideas, themes and an emotive response to their
audience / fans.