Sexual Politics and Narrative Film : Hollywood and Beyond

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.

A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title of the Year\

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Editorial Reviews

Jeanine D. Bassinger
Wood, as always, breaks ground with his fresh, incisive, thought-provoking, and challenging essays on films that others have either relegated to a narrow and politically correct interpretation (Gaslight and Letter from an Unknown Woman or ignored (Make Way for Tomorrow or scorned (Mandingo. Wood brings clarity of thought, deep personal honesty, and an amazing knowledge of film to bear on an international array of material.\
K. Tololyan
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.\
Booknews
Noted and influential academic film critic Wood offers what he claims is his final book of film criticism; in keeping with his prior work, his focus is on various films' approach to the subject of sexual politics. The films he considers here range from classic Hollywood and British films (such as a comparison of the two versions of Gaslight), through foreign films (e.g. Ozu's "Noriko" trilogy), to obscure independent films from his native Canada. Wood looks at the films' attitudes toward marriage, family, romantic love, race and gender, and women's liberation. Paper edition (07605-3), $19.50. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Choice - K. Tölölyan

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231076043
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Film and Culture Series
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

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).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note on "Political Correctness"
Pt. I Introductory 3
1 Introduction 5
2 Fascism/Cinema 13
Pt. II Marriage and the Couple 29
3 The Couple and the Other 31
4 Renoir and Mozart 60
5 Resistance to Definition: Ozu's "Noriko" Trilogy 94
Pt. III The Family 139
6 Leo McCarey and "Family Values" 141
7 Family Loyalties 174
Pt. IV Romantic Love 187
8 The Two Gaslights 189
9 Letter from an Unknown Woman: The Double Narrative 198
Pt. V Women - Oppression and Transgression 225
10 Three Films of Mizoguchi: Questions of Style and Identification 227
11 Persona Revisited 248
Pt. VI Race and Gender 263
12 Mandingo: The Vindication of an Abused Masterpiece 265
Pt. VII Toward Liberation 283
13 Narrative Pleasure: Two Films by Jacques Rivette 285
14 Drawing Earl: The Lessons of Life Classes 301
15 Rethinking Romantic Love: Before Sunrise 318
16 Finale: The Doom Generation 336
Index 345
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