All posts tagged: dialogues

The Epicene Gaze: Rewriting the Subject Object Relationship in Siri Hustvedt’s “What I Loved”

By Harvey Wiltshire, University College London “The beautiful woman, […] was being looked at by someone outside the painting, a spectator who seemed to be standing just where I was standing” -Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved1  Attesting to the need for a reappraisal of the way that literature mishandles the visual object, Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved—a novel of love, loss, and art— consciously acknowledges the looking subject in an attempt to rewrite traditionally gendered ways of seeing. Scopophilic and voyeuristic in nature, the looking subject subdues the looked at object, subjugating it and compounding its “otherness.” John Berger argues that, like a woman, the visual is “born within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men” and it is from this space that What I Loved aims to free the object and in turn our way of looking.2 However, whilst Hustvedt’s novel makes significant inroads into a reappraisal of the act of seeing, I want to suggest that What I Loved ultimately conforms to the very conventions that it rejects and, to …

“Nasty women” hitting the silent screen at Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto 2017

(title image: Rosalie et Léontine vont au théâtre, Roméo Bosetti, 1911) For its 36th edition last October, the Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2017) dedicated four programs and one feature to the “nasty women” of the silent screen. Having decided to embrace the much-debated term since it was first used by then candidate, now US president, Donald Trump, curators Maggie Hennefeld and Laura Horak wanted their program to be a tribute to what became a feminist rallying cry across the United-States and abroad: “Nasty Women.” Horak and Hennefeld, both responsible for challenging publications on gender and queer studies and early cinema,1 had a simple vision in curating this program: what about women directing and acting in the early years of motion pictures? The rage and enthusiasm provoked by the term “nasty women” throughout the presidential campaign and after the election almost worked as a welcomed pretext in the compilation of a program recalling how women used to destabilize the film frame, quite literally, as the introduction of the program suggests: Long before …

Raoul Peck, Baldwin, and I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Raoul Peck is arguably one of the most important contemporary filmmakers, and his work will continue to influence the field for years to come. I am chagrined to admit that I was only introduced to his work last year when I am Not Your Negro was released, but had become an avid fan by the time the credits rolled. Peck was born in Haiti, but fled during the to the Congo from Papa Doc’s presidency, eventually attending school in the Congo, the United States, and France. His extensive filmography, most of which have been produced or co-produced by his own production company, Velvet Film, features documentary and feature films alike. The subject matter that these films vary widely, but always with a keen eye towards the political. His 2004 feature film Sometimes in April, starring Idris Elba, concerns the Rwandan genocide, while The Man By The Shore, made in 1993, is a fictional rendering of a young girl’s experiences in Haiti under the regime of Francois Duvalier. Incidentally, The Man By The Shore was also, …