Using Laura Mulvey's Critical Film Theory 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', analyse the extent to which the concept of 'The Male Gaze' is a prevalent feature of traditional Hollywood narrative cinema with regards to Academy Award for Best Picture winning films between the years 1975 and 2010.
(2015) Using Laura Mulvey's Critical Film Theory 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', analyse the extent to which the concept of 'The Male Gaze' is a prevalent feature of traditional Hollywood narrative cinema with regards to Academy Award for Best Picture winning films between the years 1975 and 2010., no. 59.
This study aims to explore and discuss the extent to which Laura Mulvey's ideas about the concept of 'The Male Gaze', expressed in her 1975 critical film theory 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', are still relevant when applied to films produced after the theory's publication. To carry out this investigation the 'Academy Award for Best Picture' winning films of the past 35 years were chosen as the focus sector from the vast and varied elements that make up the film industry. The study also aims to discover whether there is a correlation between films deemed highly acclaimed artworks and the presence of 'The Male Gaze'. This has been achieved by selecting four films, between each of which there is a ten year interval, the first receiving the Best Picture Oscar in 1979 and the most recent in 2009. Each film has been watched and analysed an equal number of times, with statistics having been collated respectively as to the number of male to female characters, the number of different types of camera shot (close-up, fragmented and zoom) on each gender and finally, the amount of nudity, partial and full, there is for each male and female character. This data has been organized and placed into different graphs which display the results. This was conducted in conjunction with analysis of the context, both within the film and wider social conditions, the respective plots and the genre of each film which often provided reasoning to the absence or presence of a 'gaze'. It was discovered that these four critically acclaimed films were not exempt from conforming to many of the recognisable features of 'The Male Gaze' as it is defined by Mulvey, suggesting the film industry's chauvinistic depiction of women is deeply embedded. Further examination of whether there were such concepts as 'The Female Gaze' and 'The Homoerotic Gaze' within each film showed that rather than 'The Male Gaze'diminishing, the type of films now being produced showed the inequality to be, to a certain extent, levelling out with the industry aiming to appeal to a wider demographic.