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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathMulvey/Wollen

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«Riddles of the Sphinx». The Work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen: Between Counter-Strategy and Deconstruction
icon: authorWinfried Pauleit

Laura Mulvey's and Peter Wollen's theoretical writings did not simply formulate elaborate analyses and critiques of film and art in a restricted sense, or of politics and culture in a wider one. They were also part of a »social movement« in England that was setting its sights on a new kind of textual production and practice, in the spirit of the 70s and influenced by post-structuralist theories from France (Barthes, Derrida, Lacan). But while in France the concept of deconstruction caught on for strategies that try to undermine the classical distinction between text and commentary, Mulvey and Wollen hung on to the »Counter-Strategy« concept. This term is closer to the ideas of the artistic avant-garde and also to an understanding of politics that does not only try to remove the distinction between theory and practice in writing, but attempts to achieve social change that embraces even everyday culture. Both helped to write a »manifesto« for a different cinema that hoped to acquire its militant quality from radical work on (cinematic) processes for the creation of symbols. Their joint work on film projects can be seen as corresponding with their texts and understood as an attempt to put their written postulates for a different cinema into practice in their own film work. Film practice and film theory can be seen working together in exemplary form in the film «Riddles of the Sphinx» (Mulvey/Wollen, GB 1976/77) and Mulvey's essay «Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema» (1975), and Wollen's essays «Godard and Counter Cinema: Vent d'est» (1972) and «The Two Avant-Gardes» (1975). [more]more

Text Sections
icon: heading 1. A Rereading of Freudicon: heading 2. The Proximity to Deconstructionicon: heading 3. The Cinema Complexicon: heading 4. The Film as Text Filmicon: heading 5. Retaining the Female Staricon: heading 6. From Director to Actress to Spectatoricon: heading 7. Mythical and Social Implications of the Sphinxicon: heading 8. The Liberated Cameraicon: heading 9. Framing Structures and Cinematographic Codesicon: heading 10. The Riddles of the Cinema (Between Intertexuality, Redemption, and the DVD Format)