Materialities, Subjectivities and the Symbolic Spaces of Destruction and Hope in K. G. George’s Films
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The theory of male gaze was first introduced by Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.’ According to Mulvey (Screen 16: 6–18, 1975), cinema reflects the oblivion of patriarchal society and reinforces the notion that women are the subject of heterosexual male control and desire (Superson in Hypatia 26: 410–418, 2011). The function of cinema, according to Laura Mulvey, is to serve as a voyeuristic medium that encourages the audience to take pleasure from looking upon. Many Hollywood movies, especially the films of Hitchcock and Sternberg, were widely studied on the basis of this version of psychoanalytic theory. Subsequently, new sources for revitalizing feminist film theory emerged through performance studies, new media studies, phenomenology and Deleuzian philosophy. These are theoretical frameworks that move beyond the semiotic preoccupation with meaning, representation and interpretation. Taking Mulvey’s analysis as its starting point, this chapter examines the specific techniques of the veteran Malayalam filmmaker, K. G. George’s representation of women in his film Adaminte Variyellu (Adam’s Rib) and men in Panchavadi Palam (Panchavadi Bridge) in order to suggest an alternative way of understanding the status of women and men in these works. In particular, this chapter aims to mobilize Gilles Deleuze’s work on cinema and other artistic media in order to argue the case that K. G. George’s films offer his characters a status that can be enjoyed by the spectator without any preconceived notions. The Deleuzian approach allows for a less negative outlook on desire, subjectivity and identity; opening up readings of film as embodying many forms of desire and creating experiences of affirmation for the spectator (Smelik in Wiley Blackwell Encycl Gend Sex Stud: 1–5, 2016).
KeywordsMale gaze Laura Mulvey Adaminte Variyellu Panchavadi Palam Deleuze and Guattari Immediacy and materiality Rhizome
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