Bruno’s Recitation, Point Break (Death of the Author)

In this week’s recitation, the majority of the discourse centered around themes exhibited in Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break. Among the topics discussed were the state of the film industry at the time (infatuated with elements that played into an audience’s expectation of an action film), a new wave of satire, and the ironies of the Reeves-Swayze relationship. However, the most interesting point of discussion centered around feminist undertones of the film, and whether this was Bigelow’s intent. This sprouted an even more interesting argument about whether one should judge a film keeping in mind the director’s intent, a notion founded in Roland Barthes’ theories.

In any film, or piece of art for that matter, we usually frame our analysis by trying to understand the perspective of the director. Essentially, we ask “Why did he/she make this film?” and “What did he/she intend to say?” This was extremely relevant during our analysis of SweetbackDo the Right Thing, and Boys Don’t Cry. For Point Break, we attempted to do the same when discussing the feminist significance of Tyler, the female (tomboyish) lead character. 

Barthes stated that to give any consideration to the intent of the author “is to impose a limit on that text.” This statement is accurate, as our discussion about feminist undertones narrowed dramatically after considering public statements by Bigelow herself. We tried to fit the details to her statements and failed to analyze the art itself as a separate entity. 

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