The Cinema, the Female Star, and the Paradoxes of Mass Culture: Reflections on Max Ophuls’ La Signora di Tutti
Inspired by Miriam Hansen’s work on Max Ophuls’s 1933 film Liebelei, Mulvey reflects on similar themes in Ophuls’s 1934 film La Signora di Tutti, which depicts the marketing and mechanical production of a female star for mass public consumption; simultaneously, the film is an early example of Ophuls’s own flamboyant cinematic style, in which Ophuls pursues his own visual and narrative take on the melodrama, its Oedipal twists and turns, emotional impasses and the drive toward death. In another reference to Hansen’s work, Mulvey reflects on the contemporary reframing of the cinema and its shift from publicness to intimacy.
Feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey is one of cinema’s most influential thinkers. She is a professor of film and media studies at the University of London’s Birkbeck College and is director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image. Her writings include “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” the groundbreaking 1973 essay that introduced the world to the concept of the “male gaze,” as well as Fetishism and Curiosity (1996), Visual and Other Pleasures (1989), and most recently Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006). She co-directed with Peter Wollen several avant-garde films, including Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), AMY! (1980), and Crystal Gazing (1982).
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