Informed by three interlocking texts—Nathalie Sarraute’s Tropisms, Agnès Varda’s 1985 Vagabond, and Lesley Stern’s Dead and Alive: The Body as Cinematic Thing—this essay attends to a series of scenes from US films of the 1970s. Visually oriented and guided by movement, these analytic descriptions develop together a context of feminist associations that in turn runs counter to the mastery of textual analysis that is so often implicitly aligned with the “masterful” auteurs and works of the era. By moving between a series of cinematic images that home in on women’s experiences, the essay at once recognizes their shared resonances and imagines a counter narrative to dominant histories of the era and an alternative or extension to dominant theoretical fields that emerged from the era. This form of speculative criticism allows for readers to engage in acts of speculation themselves.
Wandering around the ’70s: Glimmers of a Feminist Practice
Amelie Hastie is the author of Cupboards of Curiosity: Women, Recollection and Film History (Duke UP) and The Bigamist (a BFI “Film Classic”) and Professor of film and media studies and English at Amherst College. Her work focuses on film and television theory and historiography, feminism, and material cultures. She was a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective for ten years and the author of “The Vulnerable Spectator” column in Film Quarterly from 2013 to 2019. Her book on the 1970s television series Columbo will be published with Duke UP, and she is completing a BFI Film Classics volume on Klute.
Amelie Hastie; Wandering around the ’70s: Glimmers of a Feminist Practice. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2022; 8 (3): 61–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2022.8.3.61
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