During my viewings and ever since I started my university course on Cinema and Cultural Studies, I’ve been noticing links in films and buried messages that would’ve never come across while watching a film. They seem to ‘pop’ out, allowing my to form my own analysis on a film’s true meaning and what it represents.
People overlook the fact that cinema is actually an art form and artistic expressions are evident even in the least expected films. Cinema is a combination of all the other arts forms – theatre, art and music, with the modern technology of a film camera. My articles will also address aspects of cinema people may find puzzling, and also give outlines on the industry in general. Each article will be posted here first, then be sorted into a category under ‘posts’.
This section is designed to challenge what may be your conventional understanding of a particular film or set of films.
Let me know what you think of my articles – any feedback is welcome!!
‘Teeth’, feminism and Quentin Tarantino
After studying the porn industry, I decided to watch the feminist horror/comedy cult film ‘Teeth’, which follows round a naive high-school girl who has teeth in her vagina and creates a new form of punishment to male sex violence.
The plot seems to suggest something like ‘The Last House on the Left’ – I can assure you, it is nothing like that. What I noticed in the film was the critique using second-wave feminist theory we studied today when looking at pornography. The films looks at the issues of censorship and the director uses endless phallic symbols of the ‘vagina’ in sending across its bizzare concept. Most notably, the anti-porn feminists declared that pornography was degrading to women and it emphasises male dominance and the powers of a patriarchal society. ‘Teeth’, to a refreshing change, depicts its male heterosexuals in a way that women have had to put up with across cinema’s history. Aggressive, mentally of rape and taking advantage of women and simply just valgur in some respects.
Then again, the depiction of women is not particularly great either. The lead character’s mother-figure is drug-riddled, the women around her are depicted as ‘sex objects’ and even her own position with the ‘toothed vagina’ can seem degrading due to the taking away of sexual pleasure, even if she does use it to her advantage. And this is where the final scene of the film comes in. Executed in a classic Kill Bill/Tarantino retro-style of the Bride (Uma Thurman), it shows the central character almost securing an identity that ‘trumps’, so to speak, the vulgarity of the male heterosexuality that embodies the final male character through disgusting sexual jestures seems to overshadow the female ‘power’ here, and the audience sides with her. But this is in part to the clever music and mise-en-scene style the director employs in this scene – the final look is very similar to The Bride in Kill Bill before she kills her prey, and this intertextuality, for me anyway, gets the audience to side with this repressed individual, despite her sometimes horrid attacks on the typically raw male characters.
‘Teeth’, like Irreversible from a couple of weeks ago, denaturalises sex. But, like the anti-porn feminists, it disregards the closeted sexualities of ‘the Other’. But, perhaps this is part of the film’s message. Perhaps these hidden sexualities are ideal for humans, as they are not depicted of degraded in the film. The threat of the unknown vagina will not penetrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual etc sexualities that are invisible behind the focus on heterosexuality as depicted in ‘Teeth’. But this is all off the top of my head – I’d love to hear what you think!!
The satire of sexuality in Scream 4
Since the film has now been released into cinemas and I’ve posted me review online, I thought it may be good to give a little analysis of the film in relation to sexuality (how original). You can find a review of the film here: https://cade14.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/scream-4/
So now, onto what I found interesting, which consists of two things. First, Scream 4 continues to mis-lead the audience in the promise that there will be nudity. Almost every horror film, in some shape or form, has shown, usually, female nudity. The Scream franchise avoids this – through its self-referential style, cleverly satrical script against other horror films positions itself above the convention of horror film, but this device, Scream doesn’t directly engage with, but merely makes reference too. The films make a habit of directly engaging with horror conventions as a means of undermining them, and re-creating at the same time, but this aspect is slightly different.
The second aspect I found rather funny, and filled me enthusiasm, but the ‘change in rules’ or modern horror films and remakes Scream 4 makes reference too. It was the convention, that virgins survived in horror films. Now is not the case, their chances of survival are the same as everyone else. Apparently, the only way someone will live is if they are gay! Yay!! Looks like I’m a survivor, but again, the film undermines this notion when a character desperately screams out he is gay in his dying moments with unsuccessful result, despite a lapse in the killer’s attention. It’s almost as if he considered his request. Against, recreates the ‘rules’.
Many people have shown distaste for Scream 4 as it is easily the funniest of the franchise, and borders the spoof comedies of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise. Craven’s dramatic opening murder, with music to suggest a horrifing act is taking place on an innocent victim suggests an overall seriousness to the film, which cleverly undermines the horror films of modern times that have become increasingly stupid and embarassing. Kudos to Scream 4!!