Through The Glass DarklyThe Reflection Of Society — страница 3

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man and women is explored. The introduction of Quinlan and Tanya as a couple and foil of the Vargas’ is of a significantly different nature. Quinlan has been thoroughly articulated as a character through earlier footage before he darkens Tanya’s doorstep. The audience’s first view of Tanya is that of a dark haired, sensuous woman in some sort of ethnic garb with a cigar smoking from her full lips. She is a drastic contrast to the pale, blond Susan Vargas who stepped daintily next to her husband. Tanya’s sultry presentation is in part contrasted by an apron and pot, two domestic items that do not coincide with her image as “femme fatale” but allude to her nurturing presence later on. Tanya exists independently, she speaks with an accent alluding to foreign origins and

ideals, including those held by society. She has heard the “explosion” but it was not on her side of the border. She is separate from the controversies surrounding the other characters in the film but existing outside the norms of society.Where Tanya ironically has a nurturing presence, that of Susan Vargas remains complex. Susan is not the quiet little housewife, but an independent sensuous newly wed. Her outfits reflect her innocence and good girl demeanor by being light of color but that is contrasted by their cut. Her conservative sweater and skirt outfit is overridden by the tightness of that sweater which accentuates Mrs. Vargas’ natural attributes. Her night ware at the hotel, a virginal white, is styled anything but. Mrs. Vargas is not unaware of her wiles, often

tossing her coat over her shoulder and walking with a purposeful stride. Despite her marriage, she is very much still an independent woman. First and foremost, she crossed cultural norms to marry a Mexican despite the prejudices she had to have encountered. Her interaction with the Grandi boys on the street and her self-assured manner dealing with Uncle Joe support her natural tenacity. At the end of her meeting, she does become less assured, afraid even. Susan does in part rely on her husband, conforming there to stereotype, but she makes her own decisions such as to stay with him and go to a hotel across the border. Many of her decisions that effect her husband turn out to be detrimental and have awful consequences; by remaining she becomes a vulnerability to her husband

particularly after what occurs at the hotel. In some respects, it seems that Mrs. Vargas independent ventures are “punished” sending her back to her husband and his care and protection. The independent women seen in the first half of the movie is reduced to sobbing in a jail cell, and later to her husband’s arms. Tanya in contrast remains alone, the effect Quinlan’s death on her concealed and ultimately true to herself. Susan is compromised, returned to the stereotype of the wife dependent on the husband. This deviation from typical film noir structure is inherent to the deviation into Post-Modernism.As Susan and Tanya illustrated in Touch of Evil, the film noir genre and its Modernist- Post-Modernist transitional concepts provide commentary on women and society. Within

the garish lights, unusual angles and extreme characters found within the film noir genre, there is a distorted yet acutely accurate portrayal of what society views as the position of women. Blaser, John. No Place for a Woman: The Family in Film Noir. Hassan, Ihab. “Toward a Concept of Postmodernism.” Natoli & Hutcheon 273. Natoli, Joseph, and Linda Hutcheon. A Postmodern Reader. New York: State University of New York Press, 1993.Touch of Evil. Dir. Orson Welles. With Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich and Orson Welles. 1958. 120 min. The arts, whether through words, film, melody or watercolor, have always reflected the society that created them. Within these renditions, the role of the women holds a great importance. Women have long

been seen as the silent backbone of the family, and the family is itself the most basic unit of society. The interaction of this unit, primarily between husband and wife, is the microcosm for the interplay of man and woman as a whole. The genre of film noir relied heavily on that intercourse to comment on society. The portrayal of women in Touch of Evil, essentially through the roles of Susan Vargas and Tanya, utilized the film noir genre and the concepts surrounding this juncture of Modernism and Post-Modernism to critique gender issues developed by the stereotypes of the time as to the woman’s place in the world.Film noir developed as a Modernist medium but Touch of Evil took place in the ambiguous territory between Modernism and Post-Modernism, an important and underlying