Selective Viewing

An exploration of film, video and other media by Kate Blair

Tag: cinema

Marlene Dietrich’s face: feminine power and the subversion of gender norms

shanghai express marlene dietrich

Numerous homages have been written about Marlene Dietrich. She had incredible star power that is unmatched by basically anyone else. I’m not saying that Dietrich was the greatest star that ever existed, but quite possibly the strongest star persona ever constructed. Dietrich is a dream, and a powerful point of identification for women, especially because she so frequently bridges the gap between femininity and masculinity – not just in her appearance, but in her behavior.  Read the rest of this entry »

Cinema and television: the auteur question (part 1)

Cinema and television fight to the death

television set

Picture of mid-century TV set from Kitschy Living blog

The introduction of television into the home decades ago instilled fear in the hearts of movie critics and industry professionals alike. Since then, they argue, cinema has been dying for a long time, slowly singing its swan song over the years. This kind of threat to one of the largest commercial and artistic industries in the U.S. has, not surprisingly, invoked vitriolic criticism of television through the years. Television and cinema – the two visual narrative mediums are similar enough that it seems as though there can only be one. At the very least, one of them must be dominant. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, homo sapiens eliminated the neanderthal. Years from now, will one of these art forms also be extinct? Cinema or television – which one will be left standing? Read the rest of this entry »