Bruno Recitation Summary, 4/11 4:55 p.m.

At the beginning of our section Bruno discussed the directions for our final paper proposal due the next recitation and gave us guidelines such as: it should be about one to two paragraphs and include our thesis and several sources we will be using for research and support. We then went into a viewing of the opening scene of The Truman Show and discussed several aspects of the scene which both critique and satire the media and mediation of performance. The scene literally suggests that we as an audience are bored of “phony” actors and therefore seek more realistic scenarios, such as that of Truman who is unaware that his life is a completely fabricated television show. Although everything in his environment is artificial, Truman’s reactions are genuine which the audience finds fascinating despite his own uninteresting personality. The editing of the film suggests that the camera itself is a character in the film, and there is an emphasis on mediation suggesting that even our world is mediated much like Truman’s. We then discussed the clip from Being John Malkovich we had seen the previous night and how it is similar to The Truman Show in its portrayal of identity politics and mediation. It was suggested that this mirrors Boys Don’t Cry in that Teena Brandon created an identity and was essentially performing this identity. We then viewed a scene from Boogie Nights and discussed the masculinity of performance and its parody of the porn industry. The film critiques the admiration of the hard body by using a pathetic protagonist as its main masculine figure. We decided the satire in the film is successful due to its genuineness and believability; the characters really seem to be taking the porn industry seriously, almost as something profound.

Next was the presentation of Christina Lane’s article about Kathryn Bigelow and Point Break.  The “death of the author” theory was discussed and critiqued as being detrimental to minority filmmakers at the time because of its suggestion of the exclusion of the director in the examination of a film, thereby making the representation of minority filmmakers nearly impossible. Kathryn Bigelow’s movement from counter cinema into mainstream cinema was discussed in relation to her first film Loveless and Point Break, the latter being considered her most mainstream film. Bigelow’s representation of the male hard body and masculinity is discussed and it was suggested that because of her portrayal of such she is not a real “female” filmmaker. This led into a discussion of the gender politics of film and whether a film by a man could be considered a feminist work or not. This led into a further look at Point Break and, more specifically, the homoeroticism present in the film between the two main characters played by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Kathryn Bigelow’s representation of the masculinity of these men is extremely homoerotic in that the conventions of looking are reverted by Bigelow showing them in such suggestive situations such as showering on the beach and checking out each other’s butts. We also discussed the representation of women in the film as being minimal and suggesting the singular female character as actually representing the absence of women, again suggesting a homoerotic undertone. It was suggested that the relationship between Johnny and Bodhi is the actual main romance of the film, although in the end masculinity is rejected by the two main characters as nature wins out over law and order.

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