"Whose Eyes May Look on Thee": Queering the gaze in The Handmaiden and Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu
This thesis strives to answer the following research question: How do the different constructions of the gaze function in The Handmaiden (2016) and Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (2019)? )? To this end, I combine image and text analysis to gather information from both cinematic and narrative aspects of these films. Looking at the cinematography and mise-en-scene, I examine the way the characters look at each other, as well as the way the camerawork manipulates the viewer’s gaze. Whose gaze does the camera embody? Who are we thus encouraged to side with? How do different elements of story and mise-en-scene mediate the gaze, and what do they tell us about the relation of the observing subject to the observed? By analysing the dialogue in addition to the cinematography and mise-en-scene, I aim to distil what these films communicate about the gaze, be it male, female or neither.
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