Into the Vortex: Female Voice and Paradox in Film by Britta H. Sjogren

By Britta H. Sjogren

"Into the Vortex" demanding situations and rethinks feminist movie theory's very good yet usually pessimistic reflections at the workings of sound and voice in movie. together with shut readings of significant movie theorists equivalent to Kaja Silverman and Mary Ann Doane, Britta H. Sjogren bargains a substitute for image-cantered situations that dominate feminist movie theory's critique of the illustration of sexual distinction. Sjogren makes a speciality of a rash of Nineteen Forties Hollywood motion pictures within which the feminine voice bears a marked formal presence to illustrate the ways in which the female is expressed and distinction is continued. She argues that those movies capitalize on specific psychoanalytic, narratological and discursive contradictions to carry out and exhibit distinction, instead of to comprise or shut it down. Exploring the full of life dynamic engendered through contradiction and paradox, Sjogren charts a manner out of the pessimistic, monolithic view of patriarchy and cinema's illustration of women's voices.

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In its own way, it accounts for lost space. ”64 Although Doane means here to explicate how voice-off (which in her terminology refers to a potentially embodied “offscreen” voice rather than a disembodied voice-over) affects the construction of narrative space, a number of her statements open onto other possibilities. At every turn in this passage, Doane’s vocabulary suggests that the voice-off introduces a non-visualizable construction of space, one that “exceeds” the diegetic space provided by the image and that in fact reconstitutes a “lost” dimension, space itself, heterogeneous to the image to which it offers a lively and constructing contradiction.

15 Importantly, too, Baudry’s “discovery” of the transcendental subject already dissociates spectatorship from the body and betrays an assumption that in spectatorship and subjectivity, the body must be left behind: “ . . the eye which moves is no longer fettered by a body, by the laws of matter and time . . 19 Does it “interfere” with the mirroring relationship that enables the subject to transcend the body? Can it be a “mirror” too, even if not a reproduction that traffics in images? 20 Sounds, he reminds, are representations, reflecting ideological choices that serve to center a transcendental “hearing” subject.

The ideological lesson of Baudry’s “eye-subject,” constituted through a relationship to cinema’s replication of a centering Renaissance perspective that constantly “lays out the space of an ideal vision . . 15 Importantly, too, Baudry’s “discovery” of the transcendental subject already dissociates spectatorship from the body and betrays an assumption that in spectatorship and subjectivity, the body must be left behind: “ . . the eye which moves is no longer fettered by a body, by the laws of matter and time .

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