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The femme fatale on screen.

Van Raalte, C., 2020. The femme fatale on screen. In: Ross, K., Bachmann, I., Cardo, V., Moorti, S. and Scarcelli, C.M., eds. The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Wiley-Blackwell.

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IEGMC301_Raalte_EDITED (Oct 27).pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1002/9781119429128.iegmc301


This introduction to the femme fatale, as a cinematic and critical phenomenon, will explore the ways in which feminist film criticism has read and re‐read this figure, and the ways in which both the figure itself and the critical readings it has engendered, have articulated ideas of gender, sexuality, and power. The cinematic femme fatale is associated primarily with the film noir of the 1940s–1950s, in which context she is commonly read as articulating male anxieties about the position of women following World War II, and as symptomatic of deeper anxieties around female sexuality and agency. At the same time critics have recognized in her a potential for resistance and an expression of female empowerment notwithstanding the often tragic consequences of her ambitions. In the decades that have followed, the figure of the femme fatale has proved an object of endless fascination for filmmakers, audiences, and critics alike. Although most notably revived in neo‐noir, she is also to be found diverse cultural contexts and genres, each time articulating a slightly different set of values and generating a slightly different set of critical debates

Item Type:Book Section
ISBN:9781119429104, 9781119429128
Uncontrolled Keywords:female empowerment ; femme fatale ; film noir ; neo-noir ; sexuality
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:34724
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Oct 2020 16:41
Last Modified:20 Jul 2022 01:08


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