BA (Hons) Film Studies
Post #MeToo in Independent Cinema: A Contemporary Representation of Women
An investigation into contemporary representations of women in the films Climax (2018), Suspiria (2018) and Midsommar (2019).
This dissertation is an investigation into the contemporary representation of women in independent cinema; an era deemed “Fourth Wave Feminism” (Grady, 2018). This era is the direct result of a cultural shift that encompasses a rise in female representation in top-grossing Hollywood films, social media usage for political discourse and the creation of such movements as #MeToo and Time’s Up. This dissertation is structured around a close reading of Laura Mulvey’s 1975 article, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, an assessment still regarded as fundamental in feminist film theory. Along with a concise exploration of the cultural landscape, I analyse the following three contemporary female-led independent films: Climax (2018), Suspiria (2018), and Midsommar (2019). This study investigates Mulvey’s psychoanalytic theory in a modern cinema context, allowing for a better understanding of the impact pioneering movements such as #MeToo have had on the representations of women in cinema. Ultimately, the findings indicate the selected films seek to challenge the viewer’s perception of the female lead and supporting female characters. They do so through cultural, political and societal contexts. A multitude of themes such as sex, violence and death are explored in order to critique society’s attitude towards women and women’s issues. The female leads aren’t solely depicted as favourable in support of women and to pander to the female audience; instead the protagonists are complex and flawed individuals, providing a multidimensional and realistic representation of women. In essence, all selected films support further discourse of women’s issues and more.