Our Next Hyphenate Laura Mulvey

Laura Mulvey
Theorist, professor and February 2016 Hyphenate Laura Mulvey

If you've ever used the term “the male gaze”, then you have our next guest to thank.

Laura Mulvey coined the term in her 1975 essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, published in the film journal Screen, and the phrase has become firmly embedded in the collective psyche.

This isn't her only contribution to pop culture, but it's a hell of an opening.

She is professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London, and has penned countless essays and articles, as well as books such as Douglas Sirk (1972), Citizen Kane (1992) and Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006). She is also a filmmaker, co-directing with Peter Wollen films such as Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), Riddles of the Sphynx (1977), AMY! (1980), Crystal Gazing (1982), Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982) and The Bad Sister (1983), and co-directing with Mark Lewis Disgraced Monuments (1991) and 23rd August 2008 (2013). For those in London, there will be a retrospective of her work at the Whitechapel Gallery this Spring.

But the really exciting part of her career? Becoming the very next guest on Hell Is For Hyphenates!

So which filmmaker has Laura chosen to discuss on the show?

None other than German director Max Ophüls!

Un film de Max Ophuls

Ophüls began his career in Germany, before fleeing the country due to the rise of the Nazis. He directed films in Germany, France and Hollywood, and is best known for the latter phase of his career, where he made works such as Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), The Earrings of Madame de… (1953) and Lola Montès (1955).

His films influenced everyone from Preston Sturges to Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson, and even inspired James Mason to write a poem about his love of tracking shots:

A shot that does not call for tracks

Is agony for poor old Max,

Who, separated from his dolly,

Is wrapped in deepest melancholy.

Once, when they took away his crane,

I thought he’d never smile again.

So what is it about the films of Max Ophüls that influenced Kubrick, inspired James Mason to poetry, and - most importantly - fascinates Laura Mulvey?

Check back with Hell Is For Hyphenates on February 29 to find out!

Max Ophuls
Our next filmmaker of the month, Max Ophüls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha Captcha Reload