January 20

Week 2- Queer Theories

– RJ: What is “Queer Cinema”?     1-2 paragraphs. Cite NQC at least 1 time.

How is the Karen Carpenter Story queer?

What is Karen Carpenter story and Pink Flamingos implying about the nuclear family and “straight” life? 1-2 paragraphs.

(3-4 paragraphs total)  Cite readings as applicable.

– READ: New Queer Cinema (NQC) Ch. 1/“Introduction” AND Ch.7/“Queer”and Todd Haynes Interview Cinematic and Sexual Transgression and Pathos and Pathology The Cinema of Todd Haynes

– First half of class: Discuss The Karen Carpenter Story.

– Second half of class: Screening of Dottie Gets Spanked (dir. Todd Haynes, 1993, 27 min) Discuss: What does “queer” mean?  What is “queer theory”?

– FOR 1/27 WATCH: (required) Hedwig and the Angry Inch (dir. John Cameron Mitchell, 2001, 95 min) and (optional) Polyester (John Waters, 1981, 86 min)

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2 Responses to January 20

  1. Joao Gomes says:

    Queer is an umbrella term for a variety of behaviors and postures that challenge a heterosexual way of living. Queer regards a rejection of the normative, representing a resistance to conventional gender and sexual roles. As Michele Aaron notes, queer “encompasses the non-fixity of gender expression and the non-fixity of both straight and gay sexuality…. To be queer now, then, means to be untethered from ‘conventional’ codes of behavior” (5). Hence, to understand queer cinema one must see it as an art-full expression that correlates political and social values. Concurrently, New Queer Cinema (NQC) is a wave of movies that emerged in the early 1990s, characterized by it “irreverent, energetic and proudly assertive” attitude (Aaron 3). NQC gave voice to a marginalized community, and challenged filmmaking conventions such as structure, content and themes.
    The director Todd Haynes is considered a major example of a New Queer Cinema director. Indeed, “Karen Carpenter story” might be regarded as a queer film considering its different form, narrative and characters. The film promotes an alienating atmosphere that defies cinematic conventions. In other words, the use of dolls (instead of actors) is a radical experience that challenges normative documentary styles. The use of dolls might be associated with Karen’s obsession with beauty and perfection innate to Barbie’s world. The queerness of the film might also be related with Haynes’ sexual identity and intrinsic subjectivity.
    “Karen Carpenter story” is surrounded by controversy. Todd Haynes was sued by Richard Carpenter in particular because of the film depictions about the nuclear family, and music licensing affairs. The film has a sympathetic portrayal of Karen; however, it presents an unflattering depiction of the star’s family. Haynes introduces a highly controlled family environment, in which Karen’s mother is an obsessive ruler. Richard Carpenter’s interpretation is also very selfish and egocentric, and he is suggested to be homosexual. The film demystifies Karen’s nuclear family, emphasizing its flaws and guilt inherent to Karen’s death.
    Finally, “Pink Flamingo” is a disturbing film that presents a rage of perverse and taboo acts. It has an outrageous plot that challenges normative narratives and characters. John Waters did a radical Queer film that defies any kind of cinematic conventions from the appearance of Divine to the indescribable relationship and actions of the actors. The film disrupts codes of social interaction, family and gender, accentuating the sexuality of the filthiest people in the world.

  2. Joao Pedro says:

    Queer is an umbrella term for a variety of behaviors and postures that challenge a heterosexual way of living. Queer regards a rejection of the normative, representing a resistance to conventional gender and sexual roles. As Michele Aaron notes, queer “encompasses the non-fixity of gender expression and the non-fixity of both straight and gay sexuality…. To be queer now, then, means to be untethered from ‘conventional’ codes of behavior” (5). Hence, to understand queer cinema one must see it as an art-full expression that correlates political and social values. Concurrently, New Queer Cinema (NQC) is a wave of movies that emerged in the early 1990s, characterized by it “irreverent, energetic and proudly assertive” attitude (Aaron 3). NQC gave voice to a marginalized community, and challenged filmmaking conventions such as structure, content and themes.
    The director Todd Haynes is considered a major example of a New Queer Cinema director. Indeed, “Karen Carpenter story” might be regarded as a queer film considering its different form, narrative and characters. The film promotes an alienating atmosphere that defies cinematic conventions. In other words, the use of dolls (instead of actors) is a radical experience that challenges normative documentary styles. The use of dolls might be associated with Karen’s obsession with beauty and perfection innate to Barbie’s world. The queerness of the film might also be related with Haynes’ sexual identity and intrinsic subjectivity.
    “Karen Carpenter story” is surrounded by controversy. Todd Haynes was sued by Richard Carpenter in particular because of the film depictions about the nuclear family, and music licensing affairs. The film has a sympathetic portrayal of Karen; however, it presents an unflattering depiction of the star’s family. Haynes introduces a highly controlled family environment, in which Karen’s mother is an obsessive ruler. Richard Carpenter’s interpretation is also very selfish and egocentric, and he is suggested to be homosexual. The film demystifies Karen’s nuclear family, emphasizing its flaws and guilt inherent to Karen’s death.
    Finally, “Pink Flamingo” is a disturbing film that presents a rage of perverse and taboo acts. It has an outrageous plot that challenges normative narratives and characters. John Waters did a radical Queer film that defies any kind of cinematic conventions from the appearance of Divine to the indescribable relationship and actions of the actors. The film disrupts codes of social interaction, family and gender, accentuating the sexuality of the filthiest people in the world.

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