Through The Glass DarklyThe Reflection Of Society — страница 4

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facet in the foundation of it’s world view and importance to our analysis. Modernism, as defined by Hassan, is a vertical institution. It has a defined hierarchy, with reliance on a specific structure, synthesis and traditional symbolism. Looking at Lyotard, the reliance on a meta-narrative is present. The meta-narrative is just that, the grand narrative, the big story. The meta-narrative is very much like the Force in the Star Wars series by George Lucas but in this case it serves as the institution that verifies knowledge. Knowledge is the ever-present currency of humanity. Film noir was Modernist because it had a specific meta-narrative, a dark and macabre Force that connected the grand narratives with each other. It also relied on an untraditional structure that was

standard for the genre and a particular brand of symbolism. Touch of Evil has a foundation within these norms of the film noir genre but through its deviations from those it also has Post-Modernist aspects. This is scene most specifically through the shift in imagery of the “marrying women” and “femme fatale”. An examination of film noir itself is required before an examination of these themes can continue.Film noir developed as a criticism of society prior to and following World War II that encapsulated the worldview through dark and often disturbing visual images and thematic content. According to most critics, film noir originated with the motion picture The Maltese Falcon in 1941 but the genre did not reach its height until the post war years. Film noir inherently

questions and critiques current government and social institutions. One of its favorite targets was women, who represented a key component of the basic family structure, a microcosm for society. At the dawn of the film noir era, women were experiencing new freedoms brought about by the economic necessity created during World War which required women to work outside the home. This freedom transcended to other areas and women were no longer content to remain in their traditional stereotypes. In response, film noir created the “femme fatale”. By the time of Touch of Evil, women had again returned to the home while America was experiencing the baby boom and were increasingly seen as more of a threat towards men from their traditional role of expecting wife and mother. Again, film

noir responded with a new role: the “marrying women”. (Blaser)Three types of women were represented through film noir in reference to the women existing in society: the “femme fatale”, the “good women” and the “marrying women”. The “femme fatale” was the most revolutionary of the women represented in film noir. She refused the traditional role of women in society. She denied marriage and reveled in sexual freedom. In fact her sensuality is one of her defining characteristics, coupled with her strength of character and fierce independence. The nature of the “good women” drastically contrasts this independence and strong will of the “femme fatale.” The “good women” embraces her traditional role and stereotype. She is what society wants the man to

have, but on screen she is boring and unattractive in comparison to the “femme fatale”. The last woman to shadow the film noir is the “marrying woman”. Historically, the “femme fatale” was a reflection of those women who worked during the war and were reluctant to return to their humble labors within the home. In the late 40’s and into the 50’s a new woman emerged that film noir criticized. The “marrying woman” submitted to her domesticated role but dragged her husband down with her, making him the slave to the family. (Blaser)Within Touch of Evil, the traditional role of the “marrying women”, portrayed through Susan Vargas’ character, and the “femme fatale”, which was seen in Tanya, were altered, paralleling the concerns of the time and branching

into the Post-Modernist aspects of the film. Susan Vargas’ character existed as the perfect wife: beautiful, intelligent, devoted to her husband: a devotion that appeared often as an entrapment. Tanya was a prostitute, living on the wrong side of the border and whose dusky figure was framed by dark hair, gypsy clothing and an air of sensuality. At initial inspection, both conformed to the stereotypical “marrying woman” and “femme fatale” expected in film noir. As Touch of Evil progressed, Susan was depicted as more of a threat to her husband, trying to dissuade him from his job, becoming a vulnerability by remaining by him when she should return to Mexico City, and Tanya, the classically destructive “femme fatale”, became the nurturing force that supported Quinlan