Dame Judi, Freud, and Hitchcock

Watching Notes on a Scandal in class, and it felt very Hitchcock–psychological thriller, never knowing which way is up with characters or motivation. Went back to the Mulvey tonight to see if I could work through some of the gazing shots–in particular the one in the art room where Barbara discovers the affair. First, I realized I could be spot -on with the reading of longing and loss (not squandering, btw) in both Barbara and Sheba. Note to self: look back at the Freud, it’s been a while. As for the gaze from Barb? Clearly it makes Sheba an object of eroticism for both the audience and Barbara. Mulvey says the voyerism has strong ties to sadism, which fits in well with the narrative form, and with the guilt in the film (Barbara is in the dark, the music eerie)–interpreted as castration anxiety by Freud (or loss). According to her, “Sadism demands a story, depends on making something happen, Forcing a change in another person, a battle of will and strength, victory/defeat…” Noting, too, that scene also shows Sheba without her head, which Mulvey says gives “the quality of a cutout or icon.” All interesting in the context of the interaction between Sheba and Barbara–its volatility and wrestle for a clear “winner” in the narrative. (Also interesting that she links the concept back to Hitchcock, too.) I love films.


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