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Title: A transgressive femininity : narrative, spectacle and desire in the films of María Luisa Bemberg
Author: Miller, Denise Emily
ISNI:       0000 0001 3401 1873
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2003
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This study presents the first detailed textual analysis of the six feature films of Argentine feminist Maria Luisa Bemberg, 1922-1995. Analysis - important because Bemberg is a major, but critically-neglected, woman filmmaker - was addressed to her construction of transgressive heroines. By transgressive is meant the challenges - that successfully - Bemberg’s female protagonists make, to actual, and to the representational, strictures that history and cinema, respectively, have placed upon them. There are two divisions. Contexts places Bemberg’s feminist work and protagonists within Argentine culture. It asks of her cinema and protagonists how far it (and they) helped redefine Argentine cinema. Feminism asks two principal questions - based in feminist film theory - of Bemberg’s feminist constructions. Firstly it asks what happens to Bemberg’s female protagonists. Secondly - in examining the mise-en-scène of femininity - it asks how Bemberg’s films, her protagonists and her spectator are gendered and ‘look.’ Primary sources were the films themselves, Bemberg’s collaborators in Buenos Aires, contemporary film journals and newspapers, and unpublished documents in Bemberg’s archive. Analyses of this data were situated in the contexts of Argentine politics, culture and filmmaking, and international women’s filmmaking. This thesis’ secondary sources - formal and feminist film (as well as some cultural) theories - were applied to the analyses as a way of evaluating them. Bemberg’s protagonists indeed transgress multifarious social and religious boundaries set against their womanhood. My findings further suggest that Bemberg’s work contributed a popular, as well as a feminist, vocabulary to Argentine (and Latin American) cinema, whilst textual exegesis suggests that her filmmaking practice transgresses some feminist film theoretical expectations concerning the gaze and the gendering of spectatorship. The thesis concludes that in her visually pleasurable construction of transgressive femininity, Bemberg created a new ‘look.’ Therein she made her major contribution to feminist filmmaking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Board ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General)