The contributors debate the practice of lesbian and queer film-making, from the queer cinema of Monika Treut to the work of lesbian film-makers Andrea Weiss and Greta Schiller. They explore the pleasures and problems of lesbian spectatorship, both in mainstream Hollywood films including Aliens and Red Sonja , and in independent cinema from She Must be Seeing Things to Salmonberries and Desert Hearts. The authors tackle tricky questions: can a film such as Strictly Ballroom be both pleasurably camp and heterosexist?
Is it ok to drool over dyke icons like Sigourney Weaver and kd lang? What makes a film lesbian, or queer, or even post-queer? What about showing sex on screen? And why do lesbian screen romances hardly ever have happy endings? Immortal, Invisible is splendidly illustrated with a selection of images from film and television texts. Brilliantly negotiating and opening up a new space within and between feminist and queer theory, it illuminates not just the lesbian representations of recent years, but the centrality of lesbianism to all film images.
Encompassing production and reception as well the films in their own right, the whole collection is characterized by clarity and sophistication of thought, enthusiasm and pleasure in film and inspiring intellectual energy.. Title: Immortal, Invisible: Lesbians and the Moving Book Description Routledge, Condition: Very Good. Ships from the UK. Great condition for a used book!
Minimal wear. Seller Inventory GRP More information about this seller Contact this seller. As counterpoints to the clearly gay or lesbian theme films, the representation of incidental lesbians and gay men meant that queer lives could cross the heterosexual stage but without demanding attention as a problem and without marking the boundaries of the bizarre.
Homosexuality continues to be implicated in both male and female cross-dressing, but the new presence of incidental lesbians and gay men means that while viewers might think they have detected homosexuals, they could not be sure that they had discovered the secret motivational scheme of the film. Internal Affairs depended on gay and lesbian theme films to ensure that the intense relationship between the two male protagonists could distance itself from the unselfconscious homoeroticism of earlier cop films.
The public articulation of gay men in media and films provided the basis for popularly held conceptions of gay men that made it possible to maintain that protagonists were not gay or wracked by repressed homosexual feelings. Similarly, Internal Affairs needed incidental gay men and lesbians in order to reverse the idea—intrinsic to Freudianism and to the generations of narrative film which emerged in relation to it—that sexuality is the deep secret of the psyche and that the lack of secret equals adult heteromasculinity, the centre of normality.
On the surface and palpable in the cheers and taunts of suburban teen audiences, the film is vicious towards its women and unrelenting in its displays of male-male violence and hatred of the cusp of homoeroticism. But crucial narrative supports for seamless misogyny and homophobia are missing and the film can also be effortlessly read as a scathing critique of masculinity and of heterosexuality. The title is a partial clue to this twist, as is the visual style which locates this film as an urban cousin of New American Gothic, the hybrid genre established in films like Blue Velvet, Drugstore Cowboy, or Track They revive and pastiche film noir cinematic techniques, and are made creepier by the substitution of the muted colour combinations associated with postmodern architecture for the black and white of s noir.
The wonderful Southern suburban architecture of the new film production facilities in coastal North Carolina provide the visual equivalent of the bad-seed narrative tropes associated with Southern fiction of the twentieth century. Overwork and corruption—the two currencies of capitalism—emerge as the opposing symptoms of masculinity dangerously out of control. With too many wives and a dozen children, Gere seems to use the family as a value or form of capital more than he values his families.
The film replays this classic plot of masculine competition, but laughs at its own absurdity and retrogressive nature. Her almost still-life world of form and aesthetics stands as a feminine counterpoint to the fast-paced and dirty world of police work. The women are players, agents left undeveloped psychologically, not out of a misogynist impulse to deprive them of personhood but in order to avoid any suggestion that female desire elicits male pathology.
Male psychosis arises within the psyche of men and needs no help from women. Early in the film, Gere visits a buddy who is strung out on cocaine. Gere caresses the face of the much larger man with the tenderness he had exhibited towards women leads in the s films which established him as a sex idol. Immortal, invisible 10 But this rerouting of eroticism is not repeated: masculine mutual desire is cut loose because the principal women characters are place-holders in a Bourdieuesque economy of capital formation.
It may be that the establishment of lesbian and gay male cinematic characters—rather than signifiers of transient aspects of masculine and feminine psyches—makes it possible for heteromasculine mutual desire to be played directly, not as homoerotics or displaced heteroerotics. The film knows that there is a fine line between heteromasculine mutual desire and homosexuality. Anal sex, which Sedgwick also establishes as a metonym for homosexuality, is not only invoked not least in the title , but actually heterosexualized.
Having convinced Garcia that he has not been sexually fulfilling his wife, Gere claims to have had sex with her. He corners Garcia in an elevator, shot Hitchcock-like from above oh, Freud! The mutual inscription of the beating and the appropriation of butt-fucking at once reveal the violence of heteromasculine mutual desire its sex must always be about domination, not desire and liberates anality from its long role as a sign of or boundary-marker for male homosexual desire.
The competition between the men is not ultimately linked to homosexual desire repressed then unchained, but to a gambit of lies and deceptions that construct heteromasculinity as a blind rage. Again, the film must pretend to older tropes and then evacuate them. She has all the usual filmic markings: humourless, unpretty though incredibly hot in her street clothes , oblivious or unresponsive to male attention. But simply making Metcalf not a buddy is insufficient.
This could have been accomplished by desexing or desexualizing. The film has to permit her a sexuality, but make it unknowable and unavailable for masculine appropriation. She might simply have been given a girlfriend, but instead she is shot, not, as some might argue, because it is mandatory to punish gay or lesbian characters, but because this typical buddy-crisis scene serves to constitute her as a subject with a will, as the only cop free of psychotic drives. She is shot in the front by Gere when she enters his house without exercising the proper police-assault precaution.
She writhes in pain as Gere escapes. When Garcia finds her she apologizes. His statement and the trajectory of the bullet obliquely describe her sexuality: she is penetrable, but not invaginated—the bullet goes right through. Even in this most intimate signification of masculine violation, the bullet lodges nowhere, passes through, leaves only an aporia as its trace.
The non-dying partner is capable of keeping his dying partner alive through the sheer force of his will. Giving her a sexuality but making it a non-issue leaves Metcalf unavailable for either maternal or heterosexual conversion; she is not so much asexualized as signifier of a space untouched by heteromasculine pathology. Instead, she is part of a representational calculus that means to critique the gendering of earlier genres of film. Lesbian viewers who want to see themselves on screen may be disappointed by how little of Metcalf they actually get to see.
But if there is spectatorial pleasure to be gained in deconstructing the politically regressive dimensions of long-standing genres, then a little bit of lesbian goes a long way. Wittig, M. Julia Knight Within the space of a decade and on the basis of a relatively small body of work, the German director Monika Treut has made an indelible mark on lesbian and gay cinema. Her work has certainly attracted an enthusiastic following and excited discussion wherever it has been shown, and in recognition of her contribution to lesbian and gay film Treut was chosen as the winner of the Gay Times Jack Babuscio Award.
Such an award is without doubt well deserved, in part precisely for the reasons cited by Gay Times, and is moreover very welcome since it accords the director critical acclaim in Britain that is long overdue. At first glance, singling Treut out for her achievements specifically in lesbian and gay film appears highly appropriate. Several of her films, for instance, deal uncompromisingly with lesbian sexuality, often broaching highly controversial issues that other film-makers have studiously avoided.
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She has consistently chosen to work with women who are established or prominent, well- known figures within the lesbian and gay community. She has, for example, collaborated extensively with film-maker and camera-woman Elfi Mikesch, with whom she codirected her first feature, Seduction: The Cruel Woman and whom she has used repeatedly as camera-woman on her later solo films. Courtesy of Out On A Limb film and video distributors. Treut , pp. Centred on a lesbian tyrant, Madame X, who sails a Chinese junk and entices women to join her on the promise of gold, love and adventure on the high seas, the film follows the fortunes of seven women who succumb to her offer.
Filmed in a highly stylized and anti-realist manner with an experimental soundtrack and obviously at odds with certain strands of feminist thinking, the film has repeatedly alienated many viewers. Her films are always included in lesbian and gay film festivals, often programmed as a special feature. Virgin Machine , for instance, received its British premiere in a special sneak preview at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in London, while My Father is Coming was screened as part of the opening night gala at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.
And in Britain, only the lesbian and gay film distributor Out On A Limb has been prepared to bring her films into the cinemas. Similarly, her work has on the whole received its most extensive coverage in the lesbian and gay press. Gay Times, for instance, ran two articles about her in the space of six months and this essay is included in a volume devoted to examining lesbianism and film.
Where her films have been reviewed, they have also frequently been assessed largely in terms of their lesbian content. Yet, at the same time, her films have frequently angered members of the lesbian and gay community, eliciting criticisms on a number of different fronts. Consequently, her next film, My Father is Coming, a gentle comedy with virtually no actual sex of any kind shown on screen, proved a disappointment to certain segments of the lesbian community. This, her third feature, annoyed for other reasons too. Furthermore, the director herself is not averse to giving interviews, introducing her films at film festivals and participating in after-screening discussions, and her own professed views on her work have done little to pacify those segments of the lesbian community she has angered.
Lesbians are human beings and as troubled as anyone else in this world. She has also gone further and actively tried to resist the lesbian film-maker label which has been bestowed upon her: I identify myself in my work more closely as an artist than as a lesbian. The gay community expects from artists who are openly gay, like me, that our work cater to their needs. It is more than annoying that gay artists are supposed to promote a gay lifestyle. We are not advertisers, but people with visions, whose interests and obsessions are in constant change.
I wonder what lesbian audiences will say then. Indeed, on more than one occasion Treut has maintained that she wishes to make films that appeal to and are accessible to a wide audience. In this connection, it is interesting to note that since the release of My Father is Coming, perceptions of Treut have in fact started to change in some quarters. To a degree, however, her exclusion is unsurprising. My Father is Coming is a whimsical comedy about Vicky, an aspiring German actress living in New York and working as a waitress in between attending auditions.
When her conservative, small-town father, Hans, arrives for a short vacation it precipitates a series of incidents which take both them and us, the audience, on a journey through a whole range of sexualities and sexual choices. As Vicky has told her father she is happily married, her gay flatmate, Ben, poses as her husband to try and maintain the pretence. Indeed, the film is as much about the heterosexual Hans and his journey of sexual exploration as it is about Vicky and hers, and it is left unclear whether Vicky will choose to stay with Lisa or Joe, both or neither. Furthermore, while the film covers a range of sexualities, it steadfastly refuses to privilege or foreground one particular sexuality.
What is important, the film seems to suggest, is the need for tolerance. When I was invited to introduce Virgin Machine at Bristol Watershed in autumn , I found myself almost at a loss to know how to start talking about her or her work. Virgin Machine, for instance, is narrative based, but the camerawork and editing during the first half, set in Hamburg, have more in common with avant-garde cinema. However, in the second half of the film, set in San Francisco, Treut cuts quite abruptly from her fictional narrative to Susie Sexpert talking direct to camera, as if she is a presenter on a magazine- style television programme.
This overall style of film-making has resulted in writers using a bizarre array of adjectives whenever they try to describe what her films are actually like to look at and watch, ranging from quirky, off-beat and weird, through amateurish, conventional and intimate, to feminist New Age, sophisticated and radical. He is reported to have objected to one scene in particular where a male masochist asks a professional dominatrix if he can be her toilet Ripploh , pp.
After raising funds elsewhere the film was eventually premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and, as Treut recalls, it caused an outcry: That opening was like a riot. It was packed, sold out three days beforehand because in Germany the scandal was known about the Minister…. In Berlin they have panel discussions after the films and the audience got so mad. They attacked us. Only people who hated the film talked. That was only men. The actors were frozen. The audience went crazy. So it was a big riot scene. But the festival appealed and the decision was reversed. Indeed, a textual analysis of the film suggests that the hostility with which the film was greeted in Berlin stems precisely from its refusal to show actual sadomasochistic activity, rather than from a genuine dislike or disapproval of that activity.
Using a highly episodic narrative, the film follows Wanda through various encounters with her paying admirers and faithful servants.
Initially horrified, Justine gradually becomes fascinated and then begins to participate. Although there are a few brief moments when the film shows either mental torture or physical pain being inflicted by one person on another, there is very little actual sex of any kind, or nudity, and no final act of total domination-submission.
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Instead the film constantly foregrounds the pleasure palace as a place where a paying public can go and act out their sexual fantasies or see them acted out. In one scene, for instance, a man and two women act out a scene of whipping in a room for a man who pays them to do so and then sits and watches. On several occasions Wanda and members of her entourage stage tableaux vivants while an audience watches. According to the director, this neglects the possibility of sexual pleasure and personal expression that can arise from playing with feelings of power and helplessness.
In this context, Treut and others view sadomasochism as more of an art form which, like other art forms, offers the possibility of personal expression. As if to support this reading of the film, Treut herself has pointed to the actual experience of viewing the film. She asserts that the film itself functions like classic masochist desire. And if we remain to watch the film we can also be said to participate in that universe of our own volition and thus remain in control of our situation.
She brings these notions together most clearly and perhaps most successfully in Virgin Machine , the humorous story of Dorothee, a Hamburg journalist who is investigating romantic love. Dissatisfied, she starts to look elsewhere and the film hints at a sexual relationship with her half-brother. Although fascinated by this strange new world, Dorothee persists in her search for romantic love, believing herself to have found it when she meets Ramona, a lesbian sex therapist, with whom she enjoys a romantic date that culminates in a night of sex.
But it turns out that, for Ramona, Dorothee is just another client, and she charges Dorothee for both her time and her expenses. It is as if she realizes that romantic love is a myth which, by encapsulating the promise of happiness, prevents women from pursuing their own sexual pleasure. Although Dorothee fails to find love with Ramona, she does experience sexual desire, and this permits her to start pursuing her own sexual pleasure by participating in the lesbian sex industry.
The final scenes show Dorothee on stage at the recreated Baybrick Club and, afterwards, symbolically casting off her old life by throwing the photos she took in Hamburg—images of romance into the sea. The women Dorothee meets in San Francisco can be viewed as having clearly placed themselves in control of their own lives by creating their own lesbian sex industry. In another, Susie proudly shows Dorothee her collection of dildoes and sex toys, taking great pleasure in detailing where she gets them and how she uses them. Thus the film suggests that it is not so much that women object to the sex industry itself, but rather to the fact that traditionally they have had little or no say in it.
Consequently, although the film does focus primarily on lesbian sexuality, it also clearly highlights the need for women to have the freedom to choose with regard to their sexuality. Treut emphasizes the idea of sexual choice, and hence promotes the recognition of a diverse range of sexualities by making Dorothee a journalist: rather than representing her as making a simple transition from one sexuality to another, Dorothee is shown investigating and assessing various possible options. The resolution of the film can therefore be read as the product of a conscious choice made from a range of possibilities, rather than as the only alternative available or the spontaneous emerging of a previously repressed sexuality.
And if we accept this reading of the film, it is possible to argue that what Dorothee chooses is—as with Justine in Seduction, and Hans and Vicky in My Father is Coming—almost incidental. What is important is having the freedom to choose. Thus, irrespective of sexuality or politics, it is difficult to respond unfavourably to images such as Susie Sexpert discussing her dildo collection with Dorothee in Virgin Machine or Annie Sprinkle rendering Hans speechless during their encounter in a public toilet in My Father is Coming.
Everything is always left to the last minute. In Treut made Dr Paglia and Max, two of the four documentary portraits that comprise her documentary compilation, Female Misbehaviour Moreover, in marked contrast to the distinctive camerawork of her feature films, both documentaries have been filmed in a highly conventional manner.
Indeed, since they deal with the notion of sexual choice and can be read as pleas for tolerance, it suggests they are actually consciously aimed at as wide an audience as possible. She has also maintained that she made the move from documentary to feature-film directing precisely in order to gain access to wider audiences Knight , p. Thus she is often asked if she considers herself a controversial director, or it becomes a convenient hook or starting-point for a discussion of her work see, for instance, Zeig , p.
She has, for instance, issued or authorized publicity photos of herself which quite consciously and deliberately position her as someone who is very much part of a sexual underground. In one photo she appears clad in leather, very much the dominatrix figure, with an eroticizing back light; while in another she has slicked back her shoulder-length hair and donned a fake moustache to suggest her own possible leanings towards transsexuality.
And she has been reported as having once considered having a sex change since she thought she would have an easier time as a film-maker if she were a man. However, she maintains she quickly dismissed the idea when she started to research precisely what was involved see, for instance, Schwartzberg ; Rosen She has also openly professed her support for other controversial figures, such as Camille Paglia and Annie Sprinkle.
Her energy is amazing and a lot of people…cannot deal with her. Like Paglia, Treut has also risked the wrath of certain branches of feminism by suggesting that, in the struggle for equality, women have tried to deny the role hormones and their natural biology play in their emotional make-up. It could be argued, however, that by playing up to her controversial image Treut has simply attempted to utilize an age-old marketing tool to help create that wider audience for her films while using her eclectic brand of film-making to try to create a niche for herself in the marketplace. Controversy has always proved to be a big box office draw, and Treut has in fact demonstrated a keen interest in the promotion, distribution and exhibition of her work.
She liaises closely with her distributors and, as already mentioned, is more than willing to be interviewed and to attend panel discussions. Her choice of titles and posters for her films has also served to fuel the fire: she has usually chosen sexually suggestive titles and some of the promotional posters for her films depict sexual encounters. But, as already demonstrated, most of her films contain very little, if any, of the actual sexual activity that the titles and posters seem to promise. As already stressed, Monika Treut undoubtedly deserved to win the Jack Babuscio Award in , since her films certainly challenge perceptions and images of lesbians and gays.
But it is possible to argue that her work also does much more than that. The meaning of treut?breathtertjetsres.tk
Items where Division is "School of Media" and Year is 1996
Carr, C. Guthmann, E. Harkness, J. Harris, D. Harvey, D. Knight, J. Moore, S. Rich, B. Ripploh, F. Rodgerson, G. Rosen, S. Saalfield, C. Schwartzberg, S. Scott, J. Treut, M. Warren, S. Zeig, S. That an author who is a lesbian and a feminist should be so successful in such contrasting contexts is seen as something to celebrate by other lesbians and feminists. Did the reviewers in the lesbian, feminist and radical press read it differently from those in the mainstream? Interspersing this narrative are short fables or fairy tales, commenting on the principal action, and direct interventions by an authorial voice.
Most reviewers agreed that Oranges was a notable first novel. Others adopted the tone of the professional literary critic. Bible quizzes, distributing tracts and laying out the dead are all normal routine until adolescence sows the seeds of temptation. Humour, then, a childhood within the context of an evangelical sect were seen as being at the heart of Oranges. Liberator, date unknown This assumption that the novel had a political dimension, and could be read as a case study of the power of institutions the church and the family , rather than simply being about a girl growing up with an evangelical mother, was exceptional, and did not recur in subsequent reviews of either the novel or the TV adaptation.
Most interesting, perhaps, in the light of critical developments in relation to the TV adaptation, were the assessments made of the theme of lesbianism in the novel. Lesbianism was thus constructed as one more comic device, useful in moving on the action of the novel, marking the shift from childhood to adolescence, and effecting the break from the domestic status quo that the narrative demands.
Few, other than the Liberator reviewer quoted above, saw the lesbianism as symptomatic of anything other than the next stage in this Bildungsroman. Lock up your wives and daughters—rumour has it that many a well-heeled lady cared no more for the marital goosefeather bed when this gipsy came to her door. Evening Standard, 7 September The text alone had not seemed to offer the possibility of sexual intrigue and titillation to reviewers. By suggesting that Jeannette is a character with whom we can all sympathize, because lesbianism is just another human experience, these critics aspire to a universal reading.
Whilst this liberal humanist reading has the advantage of being accepting and inclusive of lesbian experience, it does deny all sense of the novel having any specificity, whether to lesbian experience or to northern working-class experience. Lesbian oppression, whether in the form of violence, repression, stereotyping or denial, has no part in such a depoliticized reading, and thus remains unacknowledged.
A good deal of media publicity and excitement, in the form of extracts, previews and interviews with Winterson herself, heralded the first episode. However, the screening of Oranges was also subject to a degree of pre-broadcast nervousness: what would a television audience make of the uncompromising lesbianism of the text?
Oranges are not the only fruit 33 Elsewhere, however, Winterson also suggested that the lesbianism would indeed be the focus for any controversy generated amongst viewers, because of the way that the protagonist, Jess Jeanette in the novel , was represented: What will make people most angry is a feeling that they have been manipulated because it is very difficult not to be sympathetic with Jess.
You want her to win out and it is very difficult to sympathise with the other side which is where most people would normally place themselves…. Finding themselves in complete sympathy with Jess rather than family or church is what some will find most difficult.
ISBN 13: 9780415107259
Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 9 January But it did not work out this way; instead, reviewers in tabloids and broadsheets alike applauded long and loud. In order to investigate this question, two factors contributing to the context in which the text was produced are worth exploring further, before turning to the press responses: first, the specifically historical and political context of the production, and second, the context formed by the history of television drama itself. These two events had elements in common, most significantly in the responses and opposition that they elicited: the liberal arts establishment saw each as undermining the principle of free speech.
Concerning Rushdie, the arguments were similar: the novel may be offensive to Islam, nevertheless the artist should not be silenced but allowed to function free from outside political or religious constraints. Thus Oranges was able to retain its high-cultural status despite its translation into television, usually ascribed as a low-cultural form. However, the question remains as to how a lesbian text was able to occupy this high-cultural space so successfully.
Certain of these productions acted as sexual reference-points for Oranges: A lesbian love scene between two adolescent girls on BBC2 next week could mark a new stage in the passage of television from the kitchen sink to the boudoir. Together, then, these two elements worked to produce a context in which lesbianism could be read as something positive. I was always clear that it would do.
I would rather not have embarked on the project than see it toned down in any way. That all this should be the case and that it should still have been so overwhelmingly well received cheers me up. Winterson , p. Oranges are not the only fruit 37 As with the novel, the decentring of the lesbianism does not involve its denial: in most accounts of the storyline it is mentioned, but nearly always in relation to something else, generally the ensuing rejection and exorcism of Jess by members of the evangelical group. Class stereotypes of small-minded working-class women here reinforce the ridiculousness of the evangelicals.
Subject to the most anger, however, was the exorcism of Jess carried out by the pastor and assorted members of the congregation when her sexual relationship with Melanie is discovered. This clearly suggests that the punishment tells us more about religious fundamentalists than it does about the status of lesbianism in our society. This sympathy, then, can be seen to rest on two mutually reinforcing bases: first, it is a response to the punitive, anti-sex attitudes of the evangelical group—and even gay and lesbian sexual rights had increasingly become the objects of liberal championing since the passing of Section 28; and second, it is responding to the representation of fundamentalism, which had become a prominent liberal target in the wake of the Rushdie affair.
Thus it appears that the yoking of the lesbianism with the fundamentalism was itself crucial for the favourable mainstream liberal response: lesbianism became an otherness preferable to the unacceptable otherness of fundamentalism. The producer, Phillipa Giles, told the Daily Mirror. We wanted to face the question everyone asks—What do lesbians DO? Most reviewers, however, read it with the kind of romantic idealism the makers were trying to eschew. There is scant evidence, then, that these reviewers were shocked by this representation of lesbianism.
Not only did the manifest youth of Jess and Melanie allow them to define and praise the relationship in terms of its tenderness and innocence, it also implicitly allowed the lesbianism to be understood as an adolescent phase, a naive exploration that would be outgrown. Significantly few of the mainstream reviewers commented on Oranges as in any way erotic.
Independent, 25 January Steyn alone showed a willingness to go beyond the feeling that for lesbianism to be acceptable it had to be tender, innocent, essentially asexual.
Critics elsewhere, however, were more willing to contemplate an active erotic reading of the text. In the alternative publications, on the one hand, and in some of the tabloids, on the other, there is a marked contrast to this predominantly liberal mainstream interpretation of the sexuality in Oranges. Some of the tabloids, for example, made a concerted effort to construct a pornographic reading of the text.
Most notable of these attempts was one that appeared in Today: According to a male friend, the lesbian love scenes in this drama are not nearly fruity enough. What we need, he adds, is a lot more tits. Samantha Fox and Maria Whitaker would be ideal. Their refreshing lack of embarrassment and shame is a breakthrough for a mainstream TV drama slot. Is BBC2 stealing the radical remit from Channel 4? This interpretation and emphasis from Smyth suggests that perhaps the text operated rather differently for lesbian and gay audiences: used to relying on the subtleties of innuendo and veiled meanings, they read the text through a specific set of codes apparently undiscerned by other audiences.
It was not only the alternative publications that hinted at the political significance of the drama. Another very favourable piece, also by a woman, Hilary Kingsley, says that Oranges is: an important milestone for women. Male homosexuality has been represented in television drama frequently over the years. But to television, as to Queen Victoria, lesbians do not exist—except in an Australian jail.
No wonder the late night soap Prisoner: Cell Block H has a high following among gay women. Daily Mirror, 15 January Despite historical inaccuracies lesbianism clearly had been represented on television before ,9 Kingsley was identifying something important by suggesting that Oranges was an exceptional text in making lesbianism its central concern. Lesbian viewers seemed to agree that Oranges was a milestone, staying at home in droves on Wednesday nights to watch it.
This enthusiasm was in part, no doubt, because it made lesbianism a visible presence on television where, with the exceptions of Prisoner, Out On Tuesday and some documentaries and films, it was usually invisible. Moreover, it became visible in a mainstream slot, rather than in the furtive late-night positions of most representations of lesbian and gay issues on television. The way that the lesbianism was represented was also unusual: rather than becoming either villain or victim, the lesbian protagonist remained a heroine throughout.
The screening of Oranges on BBC2 also represented the infiltration of that bastion of television high-cultural respectability by a programme directed and produced by women, scripted by a lesbian, and one whose main themes was lesbianism; this, too, added a certain edge to the pleasure of Oranges for a lesbian audience.
Furthermore, whatever debates may rage about the dangers or desirability of being accepted by dominant culture, here, at last, was a programme about lesbianism that, far from being run down or ignored by the reviewers, was praised to the skies. From many perspectives, then, Oranges signified something pleasurable and exceptional for lesbian viewers. Oranges is a book, of course. And how delighted author Jeanette Winterson must have been. Seldom can a fine novel have been transported with such skill and with such little disruption to the small screen.
Not all lesbian texts, of course, operate as Oranges does. Moreover, the readership of much recent lesbian pulp fiction is arguably more diverse than its heterosexual equivalent. Precisely because of the lack of representations of lesbianism within mainstream culture, lesbian texts which are available take on a particular significance. Lesbian readers and viewers do not divide neatly into consumers of high or popular culture, since their prime interest here is often the representation of a lifestyle, an identity or a sexuality which is marked by its absence elsewhere within the media or literature.
This, then, raises the question of whether the introduction of the question of lesbianism confounds many of the assumptions about texts and readers which have informed debates about high and popular culture in much criticism in recent years. And what, finally, of Oranges itself? Having asserted its fluidity, its ability to cut across so many critical and cultural categories and positions, its refusal to be pigeonholed as one sort of text or another, its appeal for a diversity of audiences, it is impossible to arrive at a conclusive statement about it.
Perhaps it is enough to suggest that any text that can transgress so many barriers deserves all the critical attention—from whatever source and from whatever perspective—that it can get. Franklin, C. Lury and J.
Items where Division is "School of Media" and Year is - Research Repository
They include isolated episodes in serials and soap operas such as Brookside, Eastenders, St Elsewhere, The Golden Girls, and the dramatization of D. Brunsdon, C. Caughie, J. McCabe ed. Franklin, S. Kerr, P. McCabe, C. Merck, M. Brunsdon ed. Modleski, T. Myers, K. Masterman ed. Pearce, L. Raitt ed. Poole, M. Radway, J. Robbins, K. Immortal, Invisible: Lesbians and the Moving Image.
Publisher: Routledge , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Immortal, Invisible: Lesbians and the Moving Image is the first collection to bring together leading film-makers, academics and activists to discuss films by, for and about lesbians and queer women. Product Description : "Immortal, Invisible: Lesbians and the Moving Image" is one of the first collections to bring together leading film-makers, academics and activists to discuss films by, for and about lesbians and queer women.
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