CRITICAL APPROACHES TO VERTIGO• FILM FORM • Aesthetics and the way the film is created • Auteur Theory - Hitchcock’s artistic influence on the film as a demonstration of the director’s visionary genius• SUBJECTIFICATION / OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN • feminist theory • psychoanalytical theory
What is Marxism?• The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels• the concept of class struggle plays a central role• inevitable development of Society from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society. http://www.answers.com/topic/marxism
Cultural Marxism• Marxist analysis/ critique of the role of the media, art, theatre, film and other cultural institutions in a society• Emphasis on race and gender in addition to class.• Consideration of cultural products as commodities within a Capitalist system• A form of political analysis
What is a Marxist Critique?• Views cultural products as reflections of the social institutions out of which they are born.• Film itself is a social institution and has a specific ideological function, based on the background and ideology of the studio / producer / director.• A film arises out of the economic and ideological circumstances surrounding its creation. It is a commercial industry.• Marxist critiques analyse texts in relation to their relevance regarding issues of: – class struggle – the position of characters to the dominant class.• Films often mirror the creators own place in society
Why apply a Marxist critique? 1. commercial contextWexman, Virginia. “The Critic as Consumer: Film Study in the University, ‘Vertigo’, and the Film Canon.” Film Quarterly Spring 1986, 32-41• critical response to Vertigo has ignored the commercial aspects of the film.• Vertigo was made solely for commercial success & had Studio support with Paramount ( & then Universal)• Hitchcock exploited the “star system” - James Stewart /Kim Novak. – He chose cast before the script had been written. – Hitchcock knew that Kim Novak could be employed as a romantic idol and utilized profile shots to capitalize on her looks.• Wexman argues Hitchcock increased the film’s commercial appeal through use of extravagant settings. Viewers of Vertigo are treated as tourists as they are taken on a journey to all of San Francisco’s famous sites.
Why apply a Marxist critique? 2. Class, Race, Gender• Themes of psychological and personal obsession• Closely tied up with references to representations of class, gender and race• Obsessional downfall of Scottie (class), Madeline & Judy (gender) and Carlotta (race) can all be linked to these representations• Offers an alternative reading of the film and an understanding of the socio-historical context of the film’s production
What examples from the text invite a Marxist critique?AREA OF STUDY EXAMPLE (S) FROM FILMCOMMERICAL COMMODITYCLASSGENDERRACE