Examines the gaze in Lacanian film theory.
Winner of the 2008 Gradiva Award, Theoretical Category, presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
The Real Gaze develops a new theory of the cinema by rethinking the concept of the gaze, which has long been central in film theory. Historically film scholars have located the gaze on the side of the spectator; however, Todd McGowan positions it within the filmic image, where it has the radical potential to disrupt the spectator's sense of identity and challenge the foundations of ideology. This book demonstrates several distinct cinematic forms that vary in terms of how the gaze functions within the films. Through a detailed investigation of directors such as Orson Welles, Claire Denis, Stanley Kubrick, Spike Lee, Federico Fellini, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Andrei Tarkovsky, Wim Wenders, and David Lynch, McGowan explores the political, cultural, and existential ramifications of these differing roles of the gaze.
Todd McGowan is Associate Professor of English at the University of Vermont and the author of The End of Dissatisfaction? Jacques Lacan and the Emerging Society of Enjoyment and The Feminine "No!": Psychoanalysis and the New Canon, both also published by SUNY Press.
"By 'real gaze' McGowan means … Lacan's gaze is not the look of the spectator at the film but something the spectator encounters in the object seen, something that disturbs or distorts the experience of the object … McGowan is solid on his theory." — CHOICE
"The style and arguments in this book are impressively clear and concise. Complex ideas are made straightforward through use of anecdote and illustration and the author unhesitatingly draws his examples from both 'art house' cinema and popular Hollywood movies." — Mikita Brottman, author of High Theory/Low Culture
"This book is clearly written, persuasive, and contains an insightful exposition of difficult Lacanian concepts." — Henry Krips, author of Fetish: An Erotics of Culture