(Re)Gendering the Fantastic: Neil Jordan and the Feminine Supernatural.

Sergeant, A., 2018. (Re)Gendering the Fantastic: Neil Jordan and the Feminine Supernatural. Film Journal International (March 2018).

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Abstract

Neil Jordan’s oeuvre of filmmaking has long-displayed an interest in the supernatural in relation to issues of gender. However, more recent efforts of Ondine (2009) and Byzantium (2012) have seen Jordan pursue these interests in a post-2008 cultural climate framed by “accounts of economic decline [that] frequently privilege male subjectivity” (Negra, 2004) at the expense of discussions of female subjectivity. Within this context, Jordan’s treatment of the supernatural in such films makes for a useful case study to return to wider concepts of the fantastic as a storytelling mode that provides a space for the representation of ideas deemed culturally inadmissible (Todorov, Jackson) and to examine the role of the supernatural as a carnivalesque subversion of the contemporary status quo. A key component of Todorov’s original literature of the fantastic was the presence of the female as supernatural, an element that whilst remaining a largely implicit aspect of his study is nevertheless reflected prominently in his examination of novels such as Louis Lambert and Le Diable Amoureux. Displaying a recurrent narrative trope which allies the reader experience of the supernatural with the male protagonist’s feeling of distrust or uncertainty towards a feminine other, Todorov’s genre of the fantastic offered an experience of “hesitation” that, taking into account the gendered dynamics of such texts, was very much geared towards standard phallocentric notions of the male as presence and female as absence. Jordan’s recent films can be said to provide a gendered reworking of this aspect of the fantastic through their interplay with these established narrative conventions in a manner that expresses rather than discounts female subjectivity, partially spectacularising cultural constructs of gender whilst at the same time demystifying the somewhat pernicious archetypes of the feminine supernatural that remain at large throughout contemporary culture.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0046-3787
Uncontrolled Keywords:fantasy ; gender ; Neil Jordan ; the fantastic
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:30945
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:06 Jul 2018 13:18
Last Modified:06 Jul 2018 13:18

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