Ideology In Lust For Life

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The role of ideology in the biopic Lust for Life is ambiguous due to the many different interpretations of the term; critics over the years such as Marx and Engels have attempted to present how ideology plays a role in our perception of society. The idealised role of the individual artist is something which is highly romanticised and the presentation of Gogh as the stereotypical tortured genius is portrayed through the film’s artistic form . Fundamentally ideology is a social construct, and it is this constructed view of Van Gogh in 1950s America that plays a key role in determining the film’s overall purpose.
Lust for Life can be applied to the work of Marx and Engels, their ideas criticise the ways in which ideology is central in constructing
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Lust for Life established two key female characters that influence Gogh, one being his cousin Kee and the other a prostitute (Christine), who manifests as his love interest. The fact that both these women reject Gogh suggests that women were part of the driving force in cause his psychological depravity. The ideology of gender roles presented in the film is highly unrealistic and as Griselda Pollock explains it doesn’t correlate with Gogh’s life at all as he actually had a number of sexual encounters with various prostitutes . However director Vincente Minnelli removed this blemish so as not to tarnish the ideological image of Gogh as the talent who was the victim of women. Zoe Williams criticises the ideology of gender and argues that women are presented as predators who manipulate men for their own economic gain . 1950s America did not perpetuate equality and this is presented in the film through scenes of Gogh’s hysteria when Kee deserts him, which prompts the viewer to respond with empathy towards Gogh, essentially because a woman didn’t want to have sex with him. This idea further emphasises the films presentation of Gogh’s glorified authority and the societal connotations surrounding his deified …show more content…
It is clear the discussion of ideology in the film is highly ambiguous, and the amount of fact one assumes from the film is dependent on how form is interpreted. However there is an argument for an element of construction when approaching the character of Gogh, especially because of the socio-economic constraints that 1950s America was experiencing. Ultimately the artificial representation of Gogh in Lust for Life rests on the ideologies of gender, class and occupations of 1950s American people, and this shouldn’t be forgotten when thinking about the film as a

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