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 tremendous yet frequently pessimistic reflections at the workings of sound and voice in movie. together with shut readings of significant movie theorists comparable to Kaja Silverman and Mary Ann Doane, Britta H. Sjogren deals a substitute for image-cantered eventualities 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 during 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 include or shut it down. Exploring the lively dynamic engendered by way of 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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Additional info for Into the Vortex: Female Voice and Paradox in Film

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Indd 17 1/19/06 3:53:20 PM 18 Prologue the voice is an elusive subject, and in trying to do justice to its ephemeral and contradictory qualities, I have been as concerned to avoid reducing it to a literary model of narration as I have been to paint it as more than a mere ornament that humbly serves to enhance the meaning dictated by the image. The voice-off works in many, often contrary, directions simultaneously: this is its provocative, intangible paradox. Textual analyses of films seem increasingly infrequent in film theory.

This “meeting” occurs between the spectator’s body and the “body” of the voice. The implications of such an encounter are radical, as we shall see. ”62 But, in other passages, Doane’s writing seems to indicate that the body perceived in or through the voice by the spectator is not just the diegetic “anchor” provided or left in abeyance on screen, the image of the character who appears to speak or (in voiceoff) to think aloud. ” Following this train of thought, we can look beyond the visible locus of the character to whom the voice is attributed in understanding how the body can “speak” through the voice.

My dialogue with these authors, indeed, is intended as a dialectic—my criticisms are offered in a spirit of creative contradiction. In this sense, too, I am concerned to take up a position that echoes what I have learned from these films: that as a subject, I may signify from a displaced position—a place of difference that does not obliterate its opposite and that does not privilege one centered meaning. The reflections I offer in this book are a contribution to a larger structure than that embodied in chapters and pages.

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