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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathMulvey/Wollen

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extraordinary reverse shot. From the female star (on the screen) the shot reverses to a cinema audience, and, contrary to the conventions of the cinema, portrays the fantasy of a female, speaking spectator/filmgoer (Laura speaks, third function) visible and audible. [21] Accordingly, Mulvey and Wollen’s other cinema addresses three aspects of gender difference in the second chapter, that of the instance of the director, the actress and the spectator. All three levels appear again like the «palimpsest[s] or multiple Niederschriften» discussed by Wollen, in this case however attributed to the multi-voiced character of the Sphinx, that is, a female genealogy. The third alienation effect undertaken on the image of Garbo is aimed at this triple recoding. However, the new chains of association resulting from this triple recoding were already preformed in orthodox cinema as well as in the myth of the sphinx, or at least were conceivable. For this reason, besides the revolutionary moment, this recoding is characterized by a conservative moment, if in it something of the contemplation of the female star of Classical Hollywood was to be rescued in the film production of the 1970s and in its showing in 2001.


7. Mythical and Social Implications of the Sphinx

The third chapter («Stones») shows images of the Egyptian sphinx. The stone figures are worked on with filmic means; multiple generation filming, zooms, slow motion, extreme close ups. The shots emphasize the grainy character of the film material, and distort not only the stone of the sculptures, but also the physical reference of the filmic material, tending towards the abstract film of the avant-garde. Nevertheless, in their dissolved shadows these images also focus on the silent mouth of the Egyptian sphinx over and over again, as if this filmic mediation wanted to make the stones speak. Alternatively, as Roland Barthes put it in his ruminations about a detail in a film still (also a mouth, in this case that of an older woman), as if this filmic mediation sought to call up a process of direct signification beyond language and photographic representation, directly questioning embodiment itself. [22] The first three chapters are elements of a complex frame structure of the film. Only the fourth chapter narrates (and shows) the true story. The central figure of this representation is Louise, mother

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