Academic-filmmaker Laura Mulvey discusses her groundbreaking essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, published 40 years ago in 1975. Filmmakers Joanna Hogg and Isaac Julien join academics John David Rhodes, Tamar Garb, Mandy Merck and Emma Wilson to celebrate this “feminist manifesto”, a product of the politics of its time but one which remains an inspiration today.
The discussion was part of the BFI’s Cinema Reborn. Radical Film from the 70s season in April 2015.
On reaction from the conference please read Sophie Monks Kaufman’s The Timeless Pleasure of Laura Mulvey in Little White Lies, where she asks – can Laura Mulvey’s seminal feminist essay tell us anything new about gender politics in cinema?
Here is a fascinating excerpt from the audio commentary track on the British Film Institute’s Dual Format Edition of Riddles Of The Sphinx (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1977). In this sequence, Mulvey recalls the technique of re-filming found footage material using a motion analyser projector borrowed from Marc Karlin while he was filming 36′ to 77′ (known then as Nightcleaners Part 2) with the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Avant-Garde Film: Motion Studies by Scott MacDonald (Cambridge Film Classics:1993)
Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s visually accomplished and intellectually rigorous Riddles of the Sphinx is one of the most important avant-garde films to have emerged from Britain during the 1970s. The second collaboration between Mulvey and Wollen, both of whom are recognised as seminal figures in the field of film theory, Riddles of the Sphinx explores issues of female representation, the place of motherhood within society and the relationship between mother and daughter. Composed of a number of discrete sections, many of which are shot as continuous circular pans, the film takes place in a range of domestic and public spaces, shot in locations which include Malcolm LeGrice’s kitchen and Stephen Dwoskin’s bedroom. BFI