Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathMulvey/Wollen

icon: previous page

image of the sphinx as a counter-strategy. The sphinx of the Greek myth is interpreted as a remainder and buried trace of an older, matriarchal culture, and as such in need of reinterpretation. At the same time, Mulvey and Wollen overlay the riddle of the sphinx from Greek mythology (not discussed any further in Freud interpretation) onto Freud’s discussion of femininity, explicitly introduced by Freud as «the riddle.« [5] This intertextual superimposition of the Greek myth onto Freud’s text «Femininity» represents the origin for the plural in the film’s title, «Riddles of the Sphinx». Even if the film by no means undertakes a reading of Freud, instead placing its emphasis on contemporary woman and her concrete everyday life, something like a «return to Freud» flashes up in the title, placing this filmic counterstrategy in close proximity to intertextual and deconstructive strategies. Up until now, this has gone without comment.

2. The Proximity to Deconstruction

Wollen already established this proximity to deconstruction theoretically a few years previously in


relation to Godard’s cinema: «The text/film can only be understood as an arena, a meeting place in which different discourses encounter each other […] [These] can be seen more as […] palimpsests, multiple Niederschriften (Freud’s word) in which meaning can no longer be said to express the intention of the author or to be a representation of the world, but must like the discourse of the unconscious be understood by a different kind of decipherment» (Wollen, 1972/1982, p. 87). In this essay, Wollen ordains Jean-Luc Godard the representative contemporary avant-garde filmmaker. He characterizes his strategy as «counter-cinema,» emphasizing its intertextual structure and its inscribed character as a palimpsest. At the same time, he points in passing to a radical shift within the text paradigm from author/director to reader/spectator. This turn in textual understanding corresponds to the poststructuralist text theories of Barthes and Derrida. As a conceptual reference point, however, Wollen names Freud’s psychoanalysis. At the same time, he imitates Godard’s discursive technique, inserting the concept Niederschriften as a discursive fragment of Freud in his own text, whereby he marks

icon: next page