Recitation this week was mainly a focus on the clash of ideas of independent and mainstream filmmaking and the questions of identity and masculinity of the late 1980s and the 1990s. Jaap began with a screening of the infamous “rape” scene from Blue Velvet. We discussed the question of as to whether Blue Velvet should be considered an independent or mainstream studio film, and whether David Lynch should be considered the same way. The general consensus was mixed: Blue Velvet has elements of both of these, and some cited the merging and buying up of independent film studios and companies by bigger studios as a reason for this. Jaap also showed a clip from Starship Troopers to further illustrate the skewing of the mainstream/independent boundary. Julien then gave a presentation on Jon Lewis’s discussions of filmmakers who rose to prominence in the 1980s and early 90s and skewed the line between mainstream and independent filmmaking in their careers. Julien also presented the ending of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, a recent example of fused mainstream and independent cinema from a director whose career reflects much of the same. Also cited as an aside was the relationship between Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron as ex-marital partners, filmmaking cohorts, as well as Academy Award co-contenders, with Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker beating Cameron’s Avatar for Best Director and Best Picture.
The focus on Bigelow segued into the discussion of the feature Point Break. The discussion focused on Professor Zinman’s questions about identity and masculinity in lecture the night before. This included discussing the characters of the film and the homosocial bonds and communities created within it, the masculinization as well as feminization of the Lori Petty character Tyler, and the conflict between the two ideas of masculinity in the film, the lawless surfer’s way (Swayze) and the cop’s way (Reeves). Tom presented on Christina Lane’s essay “From The Loveless to Point Break” about Bigelow’s portrayals of gender on screen, leading to what was and has been labeled as an “independent” style of filmmaking, although Bigelow has gone between independent and mainstream frequently. Jaap ended the class with a small discussion of how Point Break‘s ideas of masculinity compare and contrast with those of the films of the eighties, and how the “hard bodies” concept of masculinity got absorbed into the ideologies of films that came later on. Thus ended the recitation.