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Studying Feminist Film Theory$
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Terri Murray

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325802

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325802.001.0001

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Female Power Uncensored

Female Power Uncensored

(p.69) Chapter 4 Female Power Uncensored
Studying Feminist Film Theory

Terri Murray

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents case studies of the work of four contemporary female directors from world cinema: Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Claire Denis, and Céline Sciamma. Bigelow's Strange Days (1995) self-consciously interrogates the contradiction by which the voyeuristic consumer of violent and misogynist ‘entertainment’ is taken out of the equation when assigning responsibility for these cultural phenomena. It offers a unique exception to stereotypical gender roles one would expect to find in a Hollywood action film. In The Piano (1993), Campion was able to make a feminist critique of an outdated and patriarchal way of seeing women. Meanwhile, Denis's Beau Travail (1999) is an example of how the female camera can deconstruct and represent the male sex in similar ways to how men have represented women in the past. Finally, Sciamma's Girlhood (2014) is an example of how a female writer-director can construct cinema that breaks gender stereotypes, uses a ‘female gaze’ in its cinematography, and represents women's problems and issues in a complex and compassionate way.

Keywords:   female directors, world cinema, Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Claire Denis, Céline Sciamma, gender roles, female camera, gender stereotypes, female gaze

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