The Gaze as Cinematic Object

Todd McGowan explores the gaze in the classic films Citizen Kane and Vertigo.

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25 May, 2018, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

£9 - £11

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The gaze has long been at the center of film studies, most often understood as central to the workings of patriarchy.

But how does this concept of the gaze fit with the psychoanalytic one? For psychoanalytic theory, the gaze is the point in the film where spectators recognize their unconscious involvement in what they are looking at. The gaze, understood in this way, represents the radical edge of cinema, shifting the accent from its complicity in ideology to its subversive potential.

This talk will look at the deployment of the gaze in the classic films Citizen Kane and Vertigo. These films are typically named at the top of lists of the greatest films of all time because of their great aesthetic achievements, but in fact this achievement centers on the relationship to the gaze that each develop. By examining how Citizen Kane and Vertigo arrange an encounter with the gaze for spectators, we will approach the political stakes of cinematic spectatorship.

Todd McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of The Impossible David Lynch, Only a Joke Can Save Us: A Theory of Comedy, Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets, and other works.


25 May, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
£9 - £11
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Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SX United Kingdom
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