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How Cinema and Theater Convey Pleasure in the Acts of Search and Lust

analytical Essay
1863 words
1863 words
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How Cinema and Theater Convey Pleasure in the Acts of Search and Lust

In her essay, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, British film maker Laura Mulvey attempts to demystify how pleasure can be fulfilled in film. Contending that a pleasure in looking (scopohilia) and a pleasure in possessing the female as what to be looked at (voyeurism) fufills the audience’s desires, Mulvey suggests how filmmakers use this knowledge to create film that panders to our innate desires. In “Meshes of the Afternoon” by Maya Deren and “Vertigo” by Alfred Hitchcock, it is seen that Mulvey’s argument—the desire to look, the hunting, seeking, and watching, and harnessing of the female form is natural human desire. Deren and Hitchcock will use entirely different techniques to achieve that sense of fulfillment for the audience. But how does this watching and looking translate in to the written word? In “The Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare, we will see the ideas approached by Mulvey and the themes used by Hitchcock and Deren utilized to create a sense of looking and objectifying the woman in the absence of the screen. Through this paper, the concepts of pleasure for Mulvey will be shown to have applicability not only in cinema but in art in far more universal terms. First, a discussion of pleasure and Mulvey’s definition of it will allow for clearer understanding as to what this fulfillment actually is. Secondly, Vertigo will be examined—as an example of “mainstream film” utilizing the ideas of scopophila and voyeurism in a perfect balance. Scottie and his search will then be contrasted with Leontes of Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, where again desires will be balanced in harmony with Mulvey’s principles. It is to become clear through...

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...wrong—the film version goes so far as to have characters cheating to the camera, informing the viewer of what is fact. The innate desire to seek and find is still clear in “The Winter’s Tale”. However, Leontes stubborn arrogance allows a sexually charged voyeuristic desire to surface, at no point more clear than when Hermione stands as a statue in the final scene—an object, a creation. The focus is on her form, her features—Hermione as an image and representation of the desire to be voyeuristic.

While Shakespeare doesn’t have the cinematic luxuries of lighting and shadow at his disposal, he proves that Mulvey’s argument that desire is expressed in voyeuristic and scopophiliac fashion, but also that these innate desires of an audience transcend mediums and can in fact be fulfilled and appreciated in written form as much as within the intricacies of modern film.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how laura mulvey's essay, "visual pleasure and narrative cinema", attempts to demystify how pleasure can be fulfilled in film.
  • Analyzes how mulvey divides pleasure into two categories: voyeurism and scopophilia, which represent the complete fulfillment of human desires in a work.
  • Analyzes how scopopohilia's control contributes to excitement and voyeurism. mulvey contends that mainstream film must combine spectacle, imaging of the woman as a sexual desire and "narrative".
  • Analyzes how hitchcock masterfully translates the ideas of desire in an audience into mainstream film. "vertigo" follows a retired san francisco police detective, scottie, on the streets to follow his friend's wife.
  • Analyzes how hitchcock's "meshes of the afternoon" is filled with a ‘mainstream balance’ between the need to look and the desire to be aroused.
  • Analyzes how hitchcock plays with the audience's desire to be looking in, privy to secret knowledge, and gently blends in a fulfillment of sexual desire in his thriller, "vertigo".
  • Analyzes how mulvey's discussion in film has weight and merit in writing, but some principles she was guided upon are non-existent with text.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare proves that mulvey's argument that desire is expressed in voyeuristic and scopophiliac fashion transcends mediums and can be fulfilled in written form as much as within the intricacies of modern film.
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