Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seongbae's questions for week 13

1. Laura Mulvey in Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema defines the concept of alternative cinema. “It provides a space for a cinema to be born which is radical in both a political and an aesthetic sense and challenges the basic assumptions of the mainstream film” (p. 343). Just like the definition of “alternative media”, the definition of alternative cinema sounds vague. How can we know if a cinema is an alternative one? Of course there are some obvious ones, but the degree of “radical” is unsure for many of the cinemas. Are there any specific guidelines? Or do we just rely on the common sense to define which cinema is an alternative cinema?

2. Mulvey then talks about the purpose of alternative cinema. “This [Alternative Cinema] is not to reject the latter [mainstream films] moralistically, but to highlight the ways in which its formal preoccupations reflect the psychical obsessions of the society which produced it, and, further, to stress that the alternative cinema must start specifically by reacting against those obsessions and assumptions” (p.343). It could be inferred from this statement that alternative cinema should be seperated from mainstream films. Can alternative media be mainstream media and still maintain the characteristics of alternative media?

3. In Richard Dyer’s “Stereotyping”, Dyer argues that the gay/lesbian films always feel a need to recreate the social inequality of heterosexuality within homosexuality. As I thought about this after reading the article, I realized that most movies I saw that had gays and lesbians seemed to be portrayed this way. Is this because writers or directors of the movies are heterosexuals and that they feel some kind of need to distinguish the two homosexual characteres? This makes sense because gender cues and stereotypes, which are missing in gay/lesbian movies, are huge factors to contribute to character’s personality in movies. Or is it just my stereotype?

4. In bell Hooks’s “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance”, I encountered this interesting idea of ‘desiring other races by having a sex." Hooks argue that these types of white men are non-racists and they do not see their positions as colonizers/conquerors. Instead, they just seek to transgress racial boundaries. Maybe, that's the case. Or maybe, can this be a new type of racism for white men to feel better about themselves by conquering girls of different race? Because ‘having a sex with a woman[not lover, but more like in one-night relationship]’ to men is often regarded as ‘conquering a woman’, would intentionally having sex with different race be symbolized as conquering different race to them?

5. I’m just curious. If there weren’t any media available to us, would we still develop a similar stereotype towards certain group of people through our own expeirence? For example, would gay people still act like they have been depicted in media when the media no longer portrays them in a stereotypical way? I guess what I really want to ask here is this: are media shaping our stereotypes? Or are we shaping media’s stereotypes?

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