FILM READS: Chris Holmund on Masculinity

on readings

WARNING: Contains disturbing graphic pictures(isn't it obvious?). Viewers discretion in advised.

I have this book that i borrowed from the College of Arts and Letters library before Christmas. break last year. Screening the Male: Exploring the Masculinities in Hollywood cinema edited by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark is the book which is due today[may His holiness save my day :-|]. I have been site-hopping also for a couple of days now(a post-Golden Globe attitude to just plunge into the film blogosphere searching for gossips on the looming 81st Academy awards.)

Essentially, this would be the time that the blogger let in some LINKS to the readers which I, without any further ado, am willing to share to you:

  1. SENSES OF CINEMA - According to the site, "an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema" Furthermore, quoting from their site:

    Senses of Cinema is primarily concerned with ideas about particular films or bodies of work, but also with the regimes (ideological, economic and so forth) under which films are produced and viewed, and with the more abstract theoretical and philosophical issues raised by film study. As well, we believe that a cinephilic understanding of the moving image provides the necessary basis for a radical critique of other media and of the global “image culture”. (Link to page)

    COMMENTS: it's a rare find over the net. It's an online journal kept by film theorist, film critics and serious, rant-over-the-head but devoted cinephiles (like me without the subversion of an authoritative voice) over the talks on cinema in association to it's effects on culture and media. I just felt that this is essential to anyone who wants a serious head-on with film. It's highly recommended because of it's scholarly treatment on the subject.

  2. THEY SHOOT PICTURES, DON'T THEY? - According to their site it can "best viewed primarily as a cinematic traffic cop." Basically, this site is an AUTEUR-based compilation of cinematic wonders ranking the TOP 100 Film directors of all-time(from 1895 to January 2009). Quoting from them:

    They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? is dedicated to the art of motion picture film-making and most specifically to that one particular individual calling the shots from behind the camera - the film director. The 800-plus directors listed within these web pages range from the great geniuses of cinema (Godard, Welles, Hitchcock, etc.) to the great studio auteurs of the 40's and 50's (Hawks, Siodmak, Fuller, etc.), to the European masters (Buñuel, Renoir, Bresson), to the modern-day breed (Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Kiarostami). (Link to page)

    COMMENTS: I literally drool on this site. I love this site! LAVET! It ranks the TOP 1000 films (i do not know if this accuracy is a question) of all-time with worldwide scope. It's a great find and certainly an obsession. It also includes the TOP 250 essential films of the 21st century though i disagree with the idea because there is nothing different between 21st and 20th century films. But then, it's still one important film site that a cinephile could land on. Aplause!

  3. GIRISH SHAMBU - He's the ultimate film blogger, a legend almost. He not a bryanboy type(for Ozu's sake!), but a "popular center of the film blogosphere". According to GreenCine Daily, a quote that i grabbed:

    Girish Shambu has to be one of the most fascinating personalities among film bloggers. How he manages to win teaching awards and titles as an Associate Professor of Management at Canisius College and write so eruditely about a wide range of films for publications such as Senses of Cinema and his own elegant blog and keep up with the bustling community there (a hundred comments per entry aren't uncommon) is... well, who knows. (Link to page)

    COMMENTS: I particularly like his style of discussion on cinema. He's a great writer and i admire his scholarly vibes on his blog(might be because he is a professor himself.) It's also fascinating that his teaching career looms on business but his fanaticism on cinema brought him to the level of the GURUS. This digression on finding the art of cinema aside from ones daily, common jobs or activities(him being a professor on management) is quite refreshing yet for me a common thing because i, too, digresses from the hard and un-'artistic' world of Engineering.



Vin Diesel on Babylon A.D.

Aside from these, I am most ardent to disclose to you what i learned from Chris Holmund on his essay on the Screening the Male entitled: MASCULINITY AS MULTIPLE MASQUERADE and i quote the following words on Lacan's Theory on Masquerades via Masculine portrayals in Hollywood:

"Lacan is less concerned in 'The Meaning of the Phallus' with male homosexuality, presumably because gay men share with straight men the same desire for possession of the phallus. For both dressing up and display are essential. Indeed, Lacan's most provocative remark, made just after his discussion of homosexuality, obliquely links heterosexual masculinity with homosexual masculinity. Because in his framework the phallus is necessarily veiled, it is difficult to know where the difference begins and where it ends. As a result, Lacan notes that 'in the human being virile display itself appears feminine' (Lacan 1958: 85). For all their cocky, self-assured, flaunting of masculinity, therefore, straigth men and butch clones both are merely masquerading"

This quote is highly contestable and is prone to criticism. But i am really appalled by Lacan's conclusion, hence also that of Holmund's, about the male masquerading to overcome their lack. Their lack in many aspects as sexual human beings. If you want to know more about Lacan's 'The Meaning of the Phallus' you can click here for an e-book version of the important manuscript.

Jacques Lacan is a famous french psychoanlytst and psychiatrist. He's a prominent figure in psychology and also a basic figure in psychoanalytic theory on films. Holmund uses his interpetations to establish that male muscular roles in cinema embody the ideal 'masquerade' image of a male figure and this, however, affects the viewers psychoanalytically by drawing up certain schemes on overcoming the lack of being 'ideally' a heterosexual male.

This quote is very important in my analysis of Almodovar's Bad Education(2004). it's a bit hard to analyze and draw the fabric of such films because it draws from the psychoanalytic approach on film.

A scene in Bad Education.

This could be the key in unlocking Almodovar's serious work, Bad Education, which i have mentioned in my other blog posts.

After all, this is a great day find connections.