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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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Bodies and Genres in Transition

Bodies and Genres in Transition

Girlfight and Real Women have Curves

(p.84) Chapter 6 Bodies and Genres in Transition
Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas

Yvonne Tasker

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how independent women filmmakers use genre. Examining Girlfight (2000) and Real Women Have Curves (2002), it foregrounds strategies by which genres are deployed, combined, and remade in order to tell women's stories. The desire to tell women's stories has been formative for diverse traditions of feminist and feminist-informed filmmaking. Such filmmaking is often driven by a realist impulse, a perception that Hollywood/genre cinema trades in fantasized images of women that bear little correspondence to actual women's lives. In using genre to tell such stories, these films foreground contradictions between realist and generic codes, suggesting a number of questions. For instance, how far can a film shift the presentation of women's lives from those usually associated with a genre before it effectively becomes a parody? Can realist (rather than fantastic) feminist filmmaking itself be understood as generic, defined by its commitment to telling women's stories? How might such a genre relate to the “woman's film,” that mode of Hollywood production defined as much by its intended audience as by content? In addressing these questions, the chapter argues that genre has proved both productive and constraining for women filmmakers.

Keywords:   women's stories, feminist filmmaking, women filmmakers, genre, Real Women Have Curves, Girlfight

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