The Male Gayze: Queer Cinema and Psychoanalysis
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In feminist psychoanalytical world of cinema studies, the theory of the male gaze by Laura Mulvey has informed the way we think about the role of gender and sexuality in the way women are portrayed (and spectated upon) in narrative cinema. This project aims to approach the notion of a male gaze in underground arthouse queer cinema aimed at male gay audiences, dealing with sexually explicit gay storylines. The very notion of the gaze—coined as gayze—is a recurring obsession in the storylines (content) and directorial choices (camera movement, formality) of the films chosen, Un Chant D’amour and Pink Narcissus. In short, the characters in such films are in knowledge of the gayze, and react accordingly. The gayze is sometimes contested, looked back at. It is sometimes basked in, appreciated, seduced. And at times, the gayze itself plays an active role in perverting the embodiments of masculinity and feminity. What I find is that more engagement in discussions about this gayze, may in fact be the key to moving gay male subject-related research in queer theory forward.