Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema By Laura Mulvey Essay

Visual Pleasure And Narrative Cinema By Laura Mulvey Essay

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In Se7en, female characters are hardly displayed or played in a clearly constructed role that ideological society planned for them: supporting the man. In “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, Laura Mulvey states “Psychoanalytic theory is this appropriate here as a political weapon, demonstrating the way the unconscious of patriarchal society has structure film form” (837). By looking at the three looks associated with cinema: the camera, the audience, and the characters at each other she discuss the constructed gender roles within society’s ideology. “Woman then stands in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by a symbolic order in which man can live out his phantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning” (Mulvey, 838).  Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Tracy, appears four times: the first and last time she is screened lying in bed, sleeping, waiting for her husband to come to her, waiting to be touched, and waiting to be looked at. This scene is set, as Mulvey puts, to reinforce the idea: “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female figure which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness” (841). The second time she is making dinner, again for her husband and his friend, and the third time was at the diner discussing whether or not to keep her baby because she cannot be a bu...


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... commodity for exchange and circulation and, therefore, susceptible to infinite invasion, hybridization, technologization, objectification, and traumatization” (Huang, 65).
In conclusion, the depiction of Tracy, Detective Mills, and John Doe in the movie Se7en fall within the constructed ideology society set forth for them. With the intermixed thriller and horror genres, John Doe redefines beauty in terms of violence through the artful visual of killing. As Comolli and Narboni state “the majority of films in all categories are the unconscious instruments of the ideology which produces them” (815). Mills ends up in jail, Tracy and other five people die along with John Doe. While Detective Mills committed himself as an RSA in order to work against the corrupt, evil in society, he is unable to avoid his reality as Doe’s plan relies on him maintaining the social order. 

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