Fetishism and Curiosity
Cinema and the Mind's Eye
|Publication Date||July 2013|
|Publisher||British Film Institute|
Writer and film-maker Laura Mulvey is widely regarded as one of the most challenging and incisive contemporary cultural theorists, credited for incorporating film theory, psychoanalysis and feminism. Part of the pathbeating 1970s generation of British film theorists and independent film-makers, she came to prominence with her classic essay on the pleasures – and displeasures – of
narrative cinema, 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema'. She went on to make her own avant-garde films, co-directed with Peter Wollen, and to write further, greatly influential works – including this one.
Fetishism and Curiosity contains writings which range from analyses of Xala, Citizen Kane and Blue Velvet, to an extended engagement with the creations of Native American artist Jimmie Durham and the feminist photographer Cindy Sherman. Essays explore the concept of fetishism as developed by Marx and Freud, and how it relates to the ways in which artistic texts work.
Mulvey returns to some of the knottier issues in contemporary cultural theory, especially the links between looking, fantasy and theorisation on the one hand, and the processes of historical change on the other. What are the modes of address that characterise 'societies of the spectacle'? How might 'curiosity' be directed towards deciphering the politics of popular culture? These are just some of the questions raised in this brilliant and subtle collection.
Published as part of the BFI Silver series, this new edition of Mulvey's classic work of feminist theory features a new, specially commissioned introduction and stills from the films discussed.