Cinematically Kubular

Ramblings about cinema – probably focusing on Argento and gender.

Tag: gender

The Beautification of Women

This isn’t about cinema, so I probably shouldn’t be posting it here. However, it is something I care about and informs well regarding my perspective on cinema and why I mentioned gender in writing my ‘About’.

I recently read a post from my friend Becca’s blog which really got me thinking again about the expectations our culture has from girls and the pressures put on them when they hit adolescence (and before). I’ve always found it somewhat disturbing that quite a number of girls feel they have to wear makeup… it’s just something I don’t understand – skin is far more attractive than powder (and imperfections are generally what makes things interesting).

To a certain degree, this is something I know I don’t really have to write about, after all, the press is already well aware of the hypersexualisation of women in music videos (I’ve heard people rant about frequently on Radio 4). I also understand (to a degree) the usefulness of certain gender ‘constructs’ and why girls may have a natural leaning towards beautifying themselves (to attract a mate) and how toys such as Barbie and Cindy (remember her?) engage and potentially educate from a young age.

Reading Becca’s post however, reminded me of all those occasions where i’d heard other people (pimarily women) put girls/women down because they don’t ‘put in the effort’ to glam themselves up. Or watching a girl apply makeup because if she doesn’t the people she works with will think there’s something wrong with her.

Yet, as a man, I’m not expected (nor would I know how to) apply eye shadow or liner, nor do I really care about foundation, blusher, or any other coloured dust someone might want to apply to their face. Also, for the record, skin tastes better. There’s nothing worse than getting a little carried away and being assaulted by the bitter flavour of face-chemicals to ruin the mood. 😉

Most of the girls I know (if not all of them) look far better without the damn stuff. Aside from which, plugging your pores with dust can hardly be good for your skin!

I’m reminded of my time at uni and the semester I spent studying fashion. Most of my focus was spent on the development of punk – which was a rejection (more or less) such ideas and Madonna as a ‘feminist’ icon (and her eventual fall from grace). I only hope that people such as Lady GaGa can avoid the same pitfalls as Madonna, and avoid taking the power through sex/glamour route and bring the next generation of girls back down to earth.

Perhaps once the aforementioned girls have made it back down here, they can come to terms with being naturally beautiful and that they really were born that way.

PS
Would rally appreciate any comments/anecdotes that people may feel they’d like to share. It’s a topic of worthy discussion!

Halloween meets Vertigo in The Stendhal Syndrome

So, The Stendhal Syndrome (Argento, 1996) is, more or less, a film about art an

d rape. More or less. It’s also awesome. It’s the kind of film Argento’s best at – a dark, tense thriller with somewhat intense moments of horror to break up the drama and help propel the narrative. Again, the dubbing can be flat – and there’s a wonderful character who looks like Alec Guinness after putting a bit weight on who’s voice is unfortunately completely mi

scast – ie, not at all like Alec Guinness. Asia Argento had me more or less completely convinced she can actually act too, which is quite impressive after Trauma (1993).

Unfortunately, the end is poor. I can kinda understand why it’s the way it is. But it’s a huge disappointment. The film could have ended about 2 minutes earlier (roughly) and would have been (pretty much) perfect. With some clever voice acting. Oh

, wait…

Anyway, it’s a film that discusses rape and what I want to call gender politics (but is probably more like the politics of sex – are they the same thing?) quite well. It’s genuinely an interesting watch and a really good, solid and involving thriller.

Stendhal Screencap

First Post

So, it’s a while since I bothered with a website or blog… and it doesn’t appear I currently get any useful hosting services from my ISP (probably why they’re cheap) so here I am, on wordpress.com!

“But, whyyyyyy?” I hear you ask. Well, over the last few months I’ve been rediscovering my love for cinema (or film, if you prefer). Along the way I’ve found myself getting involved in some old arguments again such as “Is it fair to refer to Uma Thurman as androgynous?”, “How do we define androgyny?” and “Do we impose our own understanding of gender on the screen or is it imposed on us, by the film – or the industry?”

Firstly, in reference to the Uma Thurman question, personally, I don’t think it is fair. But it’s interesting how often I hear it or how shocked people seem to feel when I disagree. It’s made me wonder if there’s simply a film I haven’t seen or if my understanding/idea of gender and androgyny are somewhat out of sync – and if so, why? However, I don’t at all intend to deal with any of this immediately.

I’ve been far more interested, to be honest, in the films of Dario Argento. Over the last 2-3 weeks I’ve watched everything he has directed (excluding The Five Days (1973)) from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970),  to Opera (1987). Argento is a fascinating director, one that I would recommend to anyone interested in watching good films. Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence I find him so interesting, when two of his key themes are the relationship between the audience and the film and also gender.

For now though, I desperately need a cuppa. So I’m off to put the kettle on and read another essay methinks.

Oh, also. If anyone’s interested in a recommendation, if you haven’t already seen Peeping Tom (1960) I strongly urge you to.

Here’s the trailer: