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An analysis of 'The Gold Diggers' (1983) by Sally Potter : feminist film, Julia Kristeva and revolutionary poetics

Parsons, Louise Ann (1994) An analysis of 'The Gold Diggers' (1983) by Sally Potter : feminist film, Julia Kristeva and revolutionary poetics. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Sally Potter's film The Gold Diggers (1983) occupies an important place in the cultural politics of feminism. It poses the question of female subjectivity through a critical exploration of the structuring linearity of classic narrative film. Casting Julie Christie and Colette Laffont as co-stars, the film explores the relationship between the female spectator and two cinematic portraits: the over-exposed white female star and the under-represented black woman. Mobilised by their mutual desire for change, the white star escapes her pre-given status of screen goddess and the black woman adopts the role of investigative agent. Bringing together two women who have been divided by constructs of race, class and culture, Sally Potter is disrupting a prohibited story and making it possible within the parameters of feminist intervention in the cinema. Based on a detailed survey of the text, interviews and preproduction/production material located in hitherto unexamined archives, the thesis reconstructs for the first time an analytical script for The Gold Diggers. This enables the spectator to identify the film's episodic structure, montage system and camerawork and explore the innovative possibilities generated in response to the cinematic orchestration of voice, music, ambient sound and image. Although, at the level of content, The Gold Diggers draws on an Irigarayan critique of woman as commodity in patriarchal society, the film can be analysed using Julia Kristeva's models of revolutionary poetics and the analytic relation. With reference to Kristeva's theoretical precepts the thesis focuses on the new meanings generated by two women who are exploring the economic, political, psychic and cultural sources of their oppression. In Part I of the thesis, I examine the film's context within feminist cultural politics of the 1970s and address its strategic reworking of the conditions and conventions of twentieth century filmmaking; I give an introduction to and overview of the script; and I present an account of Kristeva's theories of subjectivity, signification and change. Part II consists of a succession of sharply focused segmental analyses of the text which demonstrate how the film contributes to and gives voice to the political revolution in female subjectivity and its representation through cultural practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2010 14:59
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 10:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/714

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