Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Ziss forgets me

Ray Davis of Bellona Times always has a wonderful way of putting things. Here's a bit from a recent post about Hitchcock & Notorious.
What might we infer was the filmmakers' intention?

1. To expose the workings of sexism.
2. To linger over the pain of a young woman.
3. To apply social insight to the narratological problem of isolating and endangering a protagonist while increasing tension on her sole lifeline—that is, to revivify the gothic form by finding contemporary equivalents for the moribund sexist institutions that originally powered it: wives and daughters as property; restricted civil rights and employment; acceptability of rape....

Check all that apply.

But please, don't then publish essays with titles like "Hitchcock the Feminist" and "Alfred Hitchcock: Misogynist or Feminist?" As a collective name for five decades of collaborative work, "Hitchock" is much too large and slippery for such personal labels to be meaningful. ("Random House: Vegan or Murderer?") All we're likely to establish is that the movies partake somewhat of experience, where misogyny and feminism find their common source.

As for Alfred Hitchcock the human being, more appropriate than a false dilemma like "Hitchcock: Misogynist or Feminist?" might be a conjunction like "Hitchcock: Artist and Laborer".

Or "Hitchcock: Fat Ugly Sissy and Heterosexual Man".

Or, more generally, "Hitchcock: Observer and Manipulator".

As someone who's read more than her share of Tanya Modleski, Teresa DeLauretis, Kaja Silverman, and Laura Mulvey, I appreciate those titles.

Hitchock is my absolute favorite lingerie fetishist (a group with which I feel a great affinity). How often does his camera linger on women's underwear, whether or not it comprises an actual woman? Some lingerie scenes in Hitchcock that spring to mind in thirty seconds:
There must be more.

I always thought that one of my favorite Ingrid Bergman quotes came from Notorious: "Ziss forgets me." I took it to be a cute clumsy Germanic inversion of "I forget that." I've used it to mean that billions of times. But now I just did a search for it. Couldn't find it. There is a moment in the script when, apparently, she says "This fog gets me.". I'm such a total idiot.

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