Category Archives: Screening Prompts

Screening Prompt: Tomb Raider

How do the representations of gender and sexuality differ in Tomb Raider from the screenings we’ve seen before? Or do you see little change? Do theories of gender and sexuality in film and TV fit this video-game influenced text? (You can also apply this question to the Lara Croft machinima we’ll watch in class on Thursday.)

The reading explored gender and sexuality in video game representation and video game experience, suggesting that the Lara Croft video game franchise might offer, to a limited degree at least, new representations of active female power, and of male identification with a female avatar. Do these shifts in gender representation and engagement also manifest in the film versions of video games? Is Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raider as potentially empowering as game-Lara Croft? Or is she still a disempowered spectacle, to-be-looked-at, as in the scenario originally described by Laura Mulvey?

How are the negotiations of gender in the Lara Croft game series recreated or transformed when adapted to film in Tomb Raider? For example, how does this preoccupation with the female stunting body & desire to know discussed by Kennedy manifest in the film (or does it not?) What about the fetishization of the digital powerful female, the highlighting of the construction of femininity and gender? And how about questions of transgender identification? Is Lara still equally available for male and female engagement?

Screening Prompts: Vid Screening

What modes of masculinity and femininity do we see represented in vids? How do these vids make meaning out of their combinations of source texts? Do they transform or reinforce the gender representations on offer in their source texts? How might we understand these vids as the product of negotatiated viewing? How might we understand these vids as manifesting the power of identification (as discussed by Stacey)? How do these vids offer queer readings or negotiatiate between heteronormative and queer readings?

I’d recommend that if you choose to write your 1 page paper on vids, you choose one or two and perform a sustained analysis, rather than trying to talk about them all en masse.

Screening Prompts: Queer as Folk & Sherlock

With Doty’s expansive definition of queerness in mind, what queer meanings are available in Queer as Folk, and what queer meanings are available in Sherlock? How might you compare the queer meanings offered in Queer as Folk to those available in Sherlock?

Conversely, can you locate elements of the heteronormative in these two episodes/series (in narrative structure, for example, or in their use of genre codes) as well as elements of queerness? How do the two interact/coexist within one text?

And finally, how does this challenge of watching a series through a particular lens (which may or not be a mode of viewing familiar to you, and may or may not match with your own narrative of self and sexuality) impact your experience of the series? Does this become an act of negotiated viewing? Does it change the way you view the media texts in their entirety? Do the queer meanings transform your understanding of the work of the whole series?

Screening Prompts: Son of the Sheik & Scorpio Rising

How do either or both of these texts render masculinity? What models of masculinity are on display? Who do you think is the imagined viewer? How is the imagined viewer interpellated into the text? How might we understand this text in relation to Mulvey? To Cohan? To Gledhill?

For Scorpio Rising specifically–how might we interpret this film in terms of Foucault’s notions of ethics and technologies of self? How does the film combine music and image to imagine (new/revised) ways in which masculinity might “be played” (in the Foucaultian sense..)?

Screening Prompts: Supernatural & True Blood

How do these two television programs, in their own way, respond to/contribute to discourses of sexuality and masculinity in American Culture? What modes of masculinity do they represent and to what effect?

You could consider whether they model or offer a set of ethics or tools for technology of self. You could also consider whether they represent institutionalized power or revolutionary response to that power.