We started recitation with the rape scene from Blue Velvet. After a brief mention of Freudian theory, we discussed whether Blue Velvet was considered a mainstream or indie film. Although the film had some mainstream traits we concluded that its scope is too narrow to be considered a mainstream film.
We moved on to a presentation of the Lewis reading. We outlined the shift from critical auteurs to blockbuster auteurs and the focus of Hollywood on more wide-reaching films. Then we shifted to Oliver Stone and the role his political and controversial depictions played in taking the attention from his ‘brilliant’ cinematography and stylistic form. Then we moved on to Spike Lee and his commentary on race (as well as his ability to straddle the indie/mainstream line, along with Tim Burton.) On the topic of indie and mainstream film we proceeded to Quentin Tarantino. We moved on to discuss the separation in Hollywood from the personal feel of filmmaking, and brought the chapter to a close with its discussion about Women and African- American filmmakers who struggled to make it as auteurs. We discussed Point Break and Kathryn Bigelow in this context as well, tracing her move from indie to mainstream. She proved that she could be as gritty in style as her male counterparts.
We retuned to the Indie/ Mainstream/ and the Auteur in terms of Tarantino’s style, personal filmmaker, niche, and independent ideologies. Which we decided made him an Indie/Auteur despite his budgets or recognition (in terms of his personal touch). We attempted to bring Michael Bay into consideration as an Auteur and found that although he lacks some artistic touches, his films were still somewhat stamped as his own though artistic lack, lack of artistic challenge, and flashy-ness.
This provoked a discussion of Starship Troopers and its depictions of gender, the mainstream, and its content. Could the film be made today? These are things we then began to consider about Point Break. It was argued that Bigelow’s presence was not all that strong in the film, but that the film’s success gave her the ability to make the other films she wanted to.
Afterward we moved on to a presentation of Christina Lane’s article on Kathryn Bigelow. The presentation covered Bigelow’s anti-Hollywood tendencies and brought about the question on whether the auteur could exist within the Hollywood system. In addition Lane’s article suggests that Bigelow questions gender in emphasizing a lack of stabilization in polar oppositions. Lane also covers Bigelow’s auteurism and her idea that being too idealized was too dogmatic in terms of feminism and argues that we should throw away the idea of sleeping one’s way to the top. Point Break itself is as much an embodiment of masculinity as a cop film. The relationship between the two male counterparts in the film is seemingly very homoerotic. The woman is made an exchange of the two characters and it is imparted that Bigelow uses the genre as a way to “change the conversation.” In this way the film questions gender power struggles, posing new questions by blending characteristics and genre’s.
There were however some arguments against this within the classroom. One of which was the objection of the need to impose a feminist role upon a female director for the simple fact that she is a female. In contrast, some argued that the reversal of female and male characteristics in the film were a counter action against the 80’s hard body films, which created a level playing ground, which is by extension feminist.