Toil and Trouble: The Repression of Women in the American Dream and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby
(Author’s Note: This was my final paper for my Film and Dream class.)
Looking over Manhattan almost with a glare, the lavish apartment complex that Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) tour is the stuff that dreams are made of. He’s a somewhat struggling actor, she’s… what is she? Rosemary is Guy’s wife. And as he begins to ascend into fame, and she is left with little more to do than take care of their as yet unborn child and fend off the nosey neighbors, an anxiety oozes into her mind that seems not to concern her husband. They may have finally made it, they may have finally achieved the American Dream, but that dream, as represented in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, is regressive, serves only to benefit men, to repress women, and uphold a restrictive familial ideal. It’s really just another nightmare. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you ever long for true love from me?
I don’t know why, but Buddy Holly’s “Everyday”, contrary to its lyrical content, has always struck me as a rather haunting tune. It’s deceptively simple, employing almost nothing more than what sounds like a music box, Holly’s ostensibly feverishly jolly vocals, and some percussion to keep the rhythm. And despite the fact that the track seems to merely present something sweet and lovely, the testament of a young man yearning for the love of another woman, it is, frankly, kind of creepy. It’s hard to call it much else, especially given the fact that every time I’ve ever heard it, personally, it was used deliberately, to subvert or pervert tone, to be used ironically to dismantle something situationally.Even in Mad Men.
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One can’t accuse of queer filmmaking icon Bruce LaBruce of not being daring, with films like No Skin Off My Ass, Otto, Super 8 ½, and, most recently Geontophilia (which is considerably tamer than this film), each unapologetically tackling not only issues of queerness, but of different facets of sexuality, identity, and their intersections. And Hustler White, a ‘90s films that has ‘80s sex appeal written all over it, is LaBruce perfectly balancing those discourses, but with an injection of cleverness, and a dose of emotionality. Read the rest of this entry »
In this gigantic mansion, practically a wet dream for those turned on by wealth porn, cloaked and masked figures stand by the perimeter, watching as Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) is asked to doff his own disguise, after having explored rooms that seemingly fulfilled his erotic fantasies. These dreams, crafted by Stanley Kubrick, at first exemplify the Freudian assertion of wish fulfillment and then transform into nightmares that exist plainly as perilous reality, bouncing around ideas of gender politics, desire, and monogamy. Through heightened fantasy and looming danger, Eyes Wide Shut asserts that wish fulfillment isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Read the rest of this entry »
Oscar (the chameleonic Denis Lavant) is the consummate thespian, inhabiting his roles so thoroughly that he seems to disappear entirely into them. It seems notable and perhaps problematic that a film like Holy Motors which is so defined by the search for identity, both with regard to the Actor as well as cinema as an art form, that it be so focused on a man and on what that man does, and that it be directed by a man. A larger issue within the film world in general is the lack of female representation behind the scenes, and such a problem would resonate with this film… unless one chooses to read the film as Edith Scob’s driver as the director. Leos Carax may have cleverly and subversively addressed a very serious issue within the film industry with the inclusion of a seemingly innocuous and unnoticeable character. The argument will be made that the entire film exists as a self-aware critique of those industry problems. Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, I don’t know why I’m bothering with this either. We all have our faults. But for picky cinephiles like myself, the Oscars are more of a burden than a joy, and doing all those predictions and watching the telecast are in direct opposition to the order your doctor gave to you to lower your blood pressure. They are that way because we do care about film and about the recognition our favorites do or do not get. But, hey, I wanted to shine a light on some of my favorite things from the past year that, were I Oscar omnipotent, would get recognition. Oh, but I changed the rules, and everyone gets a placard and win win for all y’all imaginary winners, woo! Read the rest of this entry »