Goldsmiths Literature Society and Curzon Goldsmiths presents a rare screening of Laura Mulvey’s seminal film, ‘Riddles of the Sphinx.’ A significant marriage of theory and practice that demonstrates one of the most pre-eminent film-theorists of the twentieth century addressing her own work through cinematic form, ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ remains an unmissable work of avant-garde British cinema.
Mulvey’s work is a mainstay in contemporary film-studies. Her groundbreaking 1975 essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ remains a landmark text, combining film theory with a political use of psychoanalysis and feminism to assert that narrative film traditionally revolves around male spectatorship of the objectified female body. Two years later, Mulvey directed ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ – her second avant-garde film with fellow academic and theorist Peter Wollen – which draws on both of their critical writings and investigations. Anchored in an exploration of the Oedipus myth, ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ represents a significant revision of the ground covered in Mulvey’s essay work.
Through silver-grained experimental shots, to-camera readings, and a series of slow 360 degree pans shots, the film explores the entrenched patriarchy of narrative and through visual experimentation, aims to develop a new relationship between the viewer and female subject.
Laura Mulvey will be in attendance at this screening, to both introduce the film and respond to questions thereafter, and this promises to be a rare opportunity to see a seminal figure in film and narrative studies reflect on her work.