October 2011 Archives

France after Secretary

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Is "Vagabond" a feminist film? Why or why not? Use some of the ideas from the readings to develop your own ideas.

I believe Anges Varda's film Vegabond is a feminist film because of the way Varda challenges background assumptions of women in road films. The way in which the audience looks at Mona supports Hottel's thesis to a certain extent. At the beginning of the film the idea of Mona being so filthy and so opposite of the female stereotype seen on film is somewhat unnerving and uncomfortable. However, as the film goes on the audience starts to connect with Mona and becomes more comfortable with Mona's character. I think an important aspect in this comfort that comes to the audience is because of the way Varda captures Mona on screen. She is not objectified or "gazed" upon in a typical female way. Instead, she dominates the screen and is viewed as the control over what is happening on screen. Although Mona is never in the driver's seat she still has more control over the events happening in the film than Mike did in My Own Private Idaho. He was so vulnerable in every situation he found himself even though he was a male. While, Mona does possess this screen dominance Varda still incorporates real life situations that females face such as rape and gender slurs about how "she was a good fuck". This adds to the film being a feminist film because it does not ignore situations that are occurring everyday. I think the film would have been less empowering and unable to fit into the category of feminist film had it not included these scenes. Primarily because then the film would become to idealistic and Mona would no longer connect with the audience on a human level.

Hustler as queer road protagonist

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Group One: Why is the hustler emblematic of the queer road protagonist? Use one quote from the readings to support your analysis.

In a "typical" road movie, Easy Rider for example, the males on the road are strong masculine heterosexual males. There is an underlying sense of homophobia among the men on the road, which is why they seem to poses traits that exaggerate their masculinity. For example, in Easy Rider both men have their own motorcycle and are depicted in extremely masculine clothing. In contrast to this in My Own Private Idaho Mike, the only character who is admits to desiring homosexual intercourse without being paid, is never seen driving. Instead, he falls asleep and is taken from one place to another without his knowledge or input. This shows how the two road movies are different and the queer road protagonist is a different character structure. Lang also says, "Almost every mainstream road movie in which two men travel together...contains at least one scene that turns on homosexual anxiety and the taboo of same-sex attraction". The hustler is emblematic of the queer road hustler because there is no taboo of this homosexual anxiety. When Scotty and Mike are by the fire and Mike tells Scotty that he loves him, and would not expect money from him for sexual relations he breaks this mainstream road movie taboo and breaks into the queer road movie genre. However, because homosexuality does bring caution and discomfort to audiences and societal norms it makes sense that the queer road protagonist is a hustler because being a prostitute is also frowned upon in common society. It is a subject that also brings discomfort and is seen as something "not correct" or frowned upon, just like homosexuality.

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