Through His Gaze - A Neoformalist Film Analysis of Narrative and Cinematography in Bombshell
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On an example of the film "Bombshell," this essay shows how contemporary Hollywood, despite the progress in variety and equality of representation of female characters (journalists in particular), still subjects women to the male gaze theorized by Laura Mulvey. By analysing two sequences through a Neoformalist lens, the essay looks at the tension created between the narration and the cinematography. Although female characters narrate the diegesis, they are not immune to the operation of cinematography and are subjected to the look of the camera, the male character, and the audience. The tension between the narration and the cinematography plays with the expectations on who will control the events set by the opening sequence. "Bombshell" constructs the male gaze rather unconventionally, as it does not openly present the male perspective. The male gaze is implied on the visual level through handheld shots hinting the alignment with the male character’s point of view or the female body continuously presented in the frame in the harassment scene. The essay confirms that although the improvement has been made to reduce visible gender inequalities in film representation, the core changes still need to be made since the current systems continue to follow old rules. To put it differently, contemporary Hollywood filmmaking adapts the principles established by the Classical Hollywood that has been created by and for white heterosexual men - the so-called enunciators of the gaze who derive pleasure from voyeurism and the constitution of the ideal ‘I’. Despite allowing women to tell their stories on the narrative level, the cinematography in "Bombshell" focuses on fulfilling the male desire. The essay does not intend to criticize the film for fuelling the systems of oppression, but rather to reveal and support the message conveyed through it. "Bombshell" raises the topic of sexual harassment and oversexualization of female journalists in Fox News; through diegesis, it deconstructs its own filmmaking techniques (like mise-en-scène choices: characters, costumes, etc.) and auto-reflects on the oppression systems governing visual media today.