Analysis Of Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills

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Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills have been at the centre of Post Modernist and Post-Structuralist discourse since the 1980s. This paper will address the arguments made by Rosalind Krauss, Judith Williamson, Laura Mulvey and Jui-Ch’i Liu surrounding these film stills. The work at hand consists of a series of black and white photographs where Sherman plays the role of the director and the agent to construct an image and mise en scène that has an uncanny resemblance to 1950s snapshots of films. In these stills, she poses as different personas, the femme fatale, the housewife, the victim, and heroine among others. I will begin by introducing the arguments made by each writer and or critic and follow up their argument by analysing their approaches …show more content…
Jui-Ch’i Liu is a professor in Yang-Ming University who specializes in feminist film theory, photography, and modern art. Liu first outlines the general discourse surrounding these controversial and ambiguous film stills and, using certain elements from each group, she explains that these forms of analysis do not bear in mind the role of the female spectators’ relationship to the work in terms of recognition and proclivity. The term spectator, which is often contested, is used in this case to mean a relationship between subject and object activate film and image. Liu claims there are two spectators in this work, Sherman, as she became the female spectator of 1950s style Hollywood films and the female spectators that gaze at Sherman’s works. Liu extensively used Sherman’s quotes as evidence for her ideas, against the arguments about the male gaze as being the reason for these stills. Liu, using one of Sherman’s quotes, mentioned that Sherman photographed these stills based on her own feminine experiences, which is harder for men to understand. Another major point brought up by Liu is the total ambiguity of the stills. They could be seen as a way to encourage criticism against the false representations and the roles of female figures in films or to provoke understanding, empathy, rejection as well as a host of other emotions that are all justifiable in response to the stereotypical, male dominated society. However, this creates a contradiction as Sherman claimed to admire the female heroines she saw on these films but at the same time refused to let them control her. Additionally, instead of inciting criticism, these stills may instead want the female spectators to

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