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70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute
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70s7. The Woman's Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute

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  • 1. US Cinema of the 1970s: The Woman’s Film / Noir, the Sexual Revolution, and Klute Prof. Julia Leyda September 10, 2013
  • 2. quiz Explain the ending of Klute. What happens in the visual images? What does Bree say in her voice-over narration? What do you think happens next?
  • 3. 1940s woman’s films  about 1/3 of all 1940s Hollywood movies, aimed at large female audience  huge female stars: Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell  also called sentimental, melodramas, “weepies,” or soap operas (derogatory)  feminist film scholars have rescued the classic woman’s film from obscurity
  • 4. conventions of woman’s films  featured domestic stories about romantic and family problems, maternal self-sacrifice  included romantic dramas, “fallen woman” films, Cinderella romances, working-girl movies  women’s difficult choices and sacrifices:  career vs. love / family  independence vs. love / family  her own happiness vs. children’s / husband’s  social, moral judgments
  • 5. 1970s woman’s films maintain some conventions, revise others  less self-sacrifice, more personal development  less (but still some) punishment for sexual experience, pleasure  emphasis on women’s friendships, not just on romantic love and family  redefines happy ending: not always a couple  men also open to more emotion, self-exploration  clear impact of feminism and women’s liberation
  • 6. 1970s woman’s films  Love Story (1970)  McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)  The Way We Were (1973)  Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1975)  Julia (1977)  Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)  An Unmarried Woman (1978)  Coming Home (1978)  Norma Rae (1979)
  • 7. sexual revolution and feminism  more permissive attitudes about sex:  porn  “swinging” singles and wife-swapping,  less stigma for singles, and couples living together  attention to women’s sexual desire and demands  greater acceptance of gays and lesbians
  • 8. women in 1970s movies  Jane Fonda  Faye Dunaway  Barbara Streisand  Diane Keaton  Ellen Burstyn  Liza Minnelli  Sissy Spacek  Meryl Streep  roles for independent female characters  seeking to learn more about themselves  exploring new lifestyles, careers, ide ntities  questioning patriarchy  rejecting self-sacrifice  not putting men first
  • 9. feminist ideological criticism  content analysis  character: representations of women as types (virgins, victims, sex objects)  plot: sexist society (women punished, repressed, killed)  mise-en-scène: atmosphere, motifs, costumes  cultural analysis  gender in society: can men and/or women escape patriarchy? can they live outside it?  is the movie sexist? feminist? backlash? ambivalent?
  • 10. feminist ideological readings of Klute  Diane Giddis: Bree as main character (not Klute)  as she loses control of her life and emotions, she gets closer to losing her life  Bree isn’t “liberated”: moving in opposite direction, toward dependency  Ryan and Kellner: Bree as woman in modern US society  Bree’s apartment represents both her independence and her vulnerability  Bree’s taped voice represents her female role as soothing and encouraging the man, but she is acting a part, not herself  ending: Bree is tamed, protected, submits to male
  • 11. feminist analysis of Klute  Christine Gledhill: neo-noir and place of woman  narrative structure: investigation of private life, sexuality  Klute and Cable spy on Bree  Cable hires Klute to investigate Cable  Bree hires therapist to investigate Bree  Klute investigates city’s immoral underworld  characterization  Klute: silent, puritanical  Bree: alienated sexuality = independent woman  voiceovers  Bree’s taped voice turned against her by Cable  Bree’s voiceover contradicting visual images
  • 12. discussion questions  Do you think Klute is the main character, or Bree? Why is the movie title his name and not hers?  Do you think Bree is a liberated woman? Why or why not?  Compared to the other neo-noir, Chinatown, how does Klute portray women and female sexuality?
  • 13. neo-noir corruption in Klute  noir contrast between surface social respectability vs. inner immorality or evil  drug and prostitution subcultures as “free,” but decadent and destructive  women as commodities: models, hookers  Bree’s internal conflict about her own self-worth; outwardly tough but sexually and emotionally immature, child-like  seemingly unlimited power of Cable, the rich businessman, to manipulate others  power imbalance: men (johns, Cable and Klute) controlling, punishing, and/or rescuing women
  • 14. Klute and Cable as foils  parallels between the two male characters  Klute: threat to her independence; male private protection of women  Cable: threat to her life; male public violence against women  different intentions but same methods  the more involved Bree gets with Klute, the more Cable threatens to kill her  Klute usually appears right after Cable  Klute and Cable both pursue or follow Bree  two sides of Bree: good and bad, destructive and protective
  • 15. cinematography  Gordon Willis, DP aka “Prince of Darkness”  also shot The Godfather (1 and 2), All the President’s Men, Annie Hall, Manhattan, and lots more Woody Allen  framing: using bars, window frames, door frames, and lines to unite or isolate characters  chiaroscuro: extremes of light and dark for symbolism and atmosphere  camera angle and position: low-angle and vertical shots emphasize instability, extreme power differences
  • 16. visual style in Klute  film noir lighting: dark, nighttime, moody  women as commodities: models, hookers  emphasizes the power of Cable, the rich businessman, to manipulate  power imbalances: men (clients, Cable and Klute) controlling, punishing, and/or rescuing women
  • 17. film noir lighting in Klute
  • 18. framing: light and dark
  • 19. framing: moody reflection
  • 20. women as commodities
  • 21. power of Cable
  • 22. power imbalances: positioning, angle
  • 23. power imbalances: verticality
  • 24. power imbalances: tunnel-like hall
  • 25. discussion questions  Klute is about fear and power. How does the movie express those emotions in the story?  How does it express fear and power through the visual style?  Visual style also includes color palettes. Compare the different kinds of color used in the two neo-noirs Klute and Chinatown. Why do you think the filmmakers chose those different color palettes?

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