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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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Troubling Genre/Reconstructing Gender

Troubling Genre/Reconstructing Gender

(p.71) Chapter 5 Troubling Genre/Reconstructing Gender
Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas

E. Ann Kaplan

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the cultural work that feminist critics performed in “inventing” the genre of the woman's film, and how genre impacts on feminist cinema practices in the current postmodern moment. It argues first that historically, genre was important in providing a useful pathway through which feminist film theorists could assert a critical position vis-à-vis dominant cinematic and critical strategies. That is, feminist critics used genre as a concept to invent a new genre—the women's picture or woman's film—thereby drawing attention to aspects of Hollywood melodrama that had been neglected by (largely male) critics. Secondly, through the examples Sister My Sister (Nancy Meckler, 1994) and Memsahib Rita (Pratibha Parmar, 1994), the chapter shows how some female directors have drawn on traditional Hollywood genres for feminist ends.

Keywords:   woman's film, genre, feminist cinema, feminists, Sister My Sister, Memsahib Rita, Nancy Meckler, Pratibha Parmar

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