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Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas$
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Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036613

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036613.001.0001

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Femme Fatale or Lesbian Femme

Femme Fatale or Lesbian Femme

Bound in Sexual Différance

(p.219) Chapter 16 Femme Fatale or Lesbian Femme
Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas

Chris Straayer

University of Illinois Press

This chapter analyzes the neo-noir Bound (1996). It shows how the splitting of sex from gender liberates generic conventions in the service of protagonists who, enacting a lesbian romance in film noir, avail themselves of generic formulas to double-cross the villains. Analyzing the creative capacity of noir gender “to turn cartwheels on both male and female characters within a system of sexual difference,” the chapter shows how Bound—self-consciously playing on the debated identities of butch, femme, and feminine—generates different-sex erotics through same-gender protagonists. Through such playful manipulations, the film opens up flexible reimaginings of sex and gender across the spectrum of gay and straight as alternatives to rigidifying heterosexual and homosexual binaries.

Keywords:   sex, gender, genre, film noir, lesbian romance, gays, heterosexual, homosexual

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