Lecture by Laura Mulvey organized by the Chair of Artistic Studies. 20th / 21st centuries


Lecture “Another Afterthought on Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. The overlooked alternative gaze: fetishism, film form and the female form” by Laura Mulvey.


When I re-read ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ recently, I noticed that there has been an imbalance in the critical reception of the essay.  The introductory section, the section on Hitchcock and voyeurism and the conclusion have been discussed and quoted extensively over the years. But the section of the essay on Sternberg, Dietrich and film fetishism has been almost completely overlooked.  This section opens the argument up to another kind of spectatorship in which the ‘male gaze’ is displaced.   While the alternative might suggest a gendered ‘female gaze’ but also a mode of spectatorship that is more engaged with film form itself.    I will expand these points in relation to Joseph von Sternberg’s 1931 Morocco  to include the male star as object of visual pleasure and the female protagonist as the driving force of the narrative.

Laura Mulvey is Professor of Film at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of: Visual and Other Pleasures (Macmillan 1989/2009), Fetishism and Curiosity (British Film Institute 1996/2013), Citizen Kane (BFI Classics series 1992/2012) and Death Twenty- four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (Reaktion Books 2006). She made six films in collaboration with Peter Wollen including Riddles of the Sphinx (British Film Institute 1977; dvd 2013) and Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (Arts Council 1980).  With artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis, she has made Disgraced Monuments (Channel 4 1994) and 23 August 2008 (2013).


IVAM-UV-UPV-UMH (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern-Universitat de València-Universitat Politècnica de València-Universidad Miguel Hernández)

Directors: Giulia Colaizzi/ Marina Pastor

The aim of second edition of the Chair of Artistic Studies,  will consist in encouraging this reflection about the life of images both in the world of art and in social life, including imaginary. It will do so broadmindedly, avoiding academic, artistic or technological restrictions, but, nevertheless, thriving on and taking advantage of all the academic, museum-based and institutional aids at its disposal. For that reason, the fact that it is held at the IVAM is propitious because it can enrich its activities with the reflection about exhibitions, installations or lectures, and also the series of projections.