Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathMulvey/Wollen

icon: previous page

this second chapter seems to correspond more to the practice of counter-strategy than deconstruction. In this part («Laura speaks»), we see Laura Mulvey sitting at a table. Reading, she explains the concept of the film and her thoughts on the sphinx, all the time directly addressing the camera. This is in fact a «reverse shot» to the shot of the first chapter, the reverse shot which really must follow the shot of the female star, Garbo. This «reverse shot» is not only delayed by the intertitle, «2. Laura speaks,» it is also of a fundamentally different nature, because it no longer can be read in the sense of a single diegesis, but instead allows linkages to various discourses. The image of Laura Mulvey functions in this shot at least on three levels: first as a director/filmmaker, second as a theoretician and actress, and third as a spectator/filmgoer. If we first consider her as a director/filmmaker, the association arises of a director of an avant-garde film à la Godard («Laura speaks»). [17] Making the director audible and visible serves to parody the relationship of director to star in the orthodox cinema, which takes place on the set (behind the scenes), best exemplified by the relationship


between Sternberg/Dietrich as reported in the film literature, a relationship of creator to creation. All the same, with the ‹appearance› of Mulvey, Godard’s counter-strategy of commenting on his own films within the films themselves is given a further shift. In «Riddles of the Sphinx,» the reverse shot to the female star does not show the male hero, nor his counterpart, a male director. Instead, in this film one of the central positions is occupied by a woman. This shot can indeed be interpreted as a revolutionary act; in a symbolic way, by means of example, the film attempts to reverse the patriarchal genealogy of Hollywood culture. [18] A second way to interpret this chapter reads Mulvey as a theoretician/actress («Laura speaks,» second function). Instead of decoding a reverse shot, this shot reads the transition from one actress (the Great Garbo, movie star) to another (Laura Mulvey, theoretician). This moment of erotic contemplation within the discourse of «orthodox» cinema (here the face of Garbo as sphinx) is overlaid or replaced by another discourse, feminist film theory (Mulvey, the speaking theoretician). The transition from the photomontage (a filmed still-photo) to the following

icon: next page