Gerald Otley, wannabe antiques dealer, is kicked out of his flat for failing to pay rent, sleeps at a friend's home for the night, wakes up two days later in an airport field, and finds himself entangled in international espionage.
Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to ... See full summary »
Queen Elisabeth I travels 400 years into the future to witness the appalling revelation of a dystopian London overrun by corruption and a vicious gang of punk guerrilla girls led by the new Monarch of Punk.
An astronomer and a cryptographer uncover a series of ancient tunnels, unwittingly unleashing a deadly Sphinx. In order to trap the Sphinx back in its tomb and stop impending destruction, ... See full summary »
The wine taster and merchant Martin Lynch-Gibbon is married to the shallow and spoiled Antonia Lynch-Gibbon, and loves his mistress Georgie Hands. Antonia is under therapy with Martin's ... See full summary »
As Laura Mulvey's lasting legacy has been her theorization of a feminist avant-garde that eschews visual pleasure, it's hardly surprising that her famous 1977 experiment Riddles of the Sphinx is a bit difficult to digest. I certainly had a hard time watching it. But even though the film consistently tried my attention and nerves, I cannot deny that it's a wholly original work. And the more I think about it, the more I respect it, and the more--this is a bit crazy--the more I think I might like to watch it again.
The most immediately intriguing stylistic component is the slow, rotating cinematography of the film's fourth chapter. By placing a camera in an environment and confining it to a mechanical 360 degree rotation, Mulvey and Wollen offer a deliberate point of view that maintains visual interest without conforming to any traditional understanding of the filmic "gaze." This technique is most effectively employed in a scene that takes place in moving traffic, to a distinctly Children of Menesque effect; its a compelling demonstration of the spectatorial pleasure to be derived from cinematic skill as opposed to voyeurism and scopophilia.
Elsewhere, Mulvey and Wollen continue to push the boundaries of how we engage with cinema--I can say truthfully that I was far more invested in seeing two water drops reach the end of a maze than I would have been in characters chasing MacGuffins. I can't promise that you'll enjoy Riddles of the Sphinx in any traditional sense, but I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any filmmakers or artists interested in exploring new forms of expression. -TK 9/23/10
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this