Friday, February 05, 2010

The Love Goddesses (lecture)

Antti Alanen: Valkokankaan seksipommit. My lecture in the Cinema and Sexuality lecture series arranged by the Film Society of the Helsinki Students' Association. Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 5 Feb 2010.

The views of Edgar Morin, Richard Dyer, and Richard deCordova.
The birth of the star system, its development, and the end of the classical star system in the 1960s.
Edgar Morin's view of from gods to mortals: from the divine stars to profane ones.
A new age of celebrity culture and a new level of star power.
The feminist criticism: the stereotyping of women, Molly Haskell's From Reverence to Rape view.
The sex star as object and subject.
There have been no magnificent new sex stars of the cinema since the 1960s, of the caliber of Garbo, Dietrich, and Monroe.
The great legendary stars of today are pop stars. No film star's death would be world news in the same way as Michael Jackson's. No film star galvanizes global audiences like Madonna.
With the legalization of hard core pornography since 1969 mainstream cinema lost much sexual steam. There are also stars in pornography, thousands of them, but they are less unique, more expendable.
Ten profiles: Asta Nielsen, Louise Brooks, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Sophia Loren, Sharon Stone.
Sharon Stone created only one mythic sex role (in Basic Instinct), but there are no directors in Hollywood today who like Stiller and Sternberg could have directed her in further films of equal charismatic power.

Followed by a screening of The Love Goddesses (1965), by Saul Turell and Graeme Ferguson, with William K. Everson, Paul Killiam and Gideon Bachmann among the contributors, one of the all-time most wonderful compilation films, with fascinating clips from films some of which are very hard to see (A Woman of the World, The Loves of Sunya... ).

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