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Post Modernism In Animation Essay

4527 words - 19 pages

The world of cinema as we see it today has been the result of an everlasting change that’s been within it since it first took root little before the twentieth century began. There are a lot of aspects that had developed in film making from the technology that a film maker uses to the complexity of storytelling structure. But there is one particular aspect I would like to discuss. It is something that has been argued and fought over not only in the film industry but also outside of it in politics and social science and is still discussed on many levels to this day. I would like to talk about the representation of gender within film.
What you see on the screen, referred to as the ...view middle of the document...

All constructed imagery in cinema will always have an effect on the subconscious mind so there is no doubt that what you see on the screen will affect how a person thinks and behaves in everyday life. This is especially true with children as they are the most easily influenced minds you can get. As this thread continued up until the 1960’s it is no surprise that the growing feminist movement saw this constant representation of gender as problematic and contributing a negative impact not only to their call for equality but also on society and culture.. As this movement became more prominent over the decades following post-modern Hollywood cinema there has been a growing change in how male and female are represented and also a growing number of female film directors.
There seems to be no better way to study this gradual change in male and female representation then through animation. The reason I use animation is due to the fact that character design can rely greatly on stereotyping, often exaggeratingly, in order to get a clear message across to the audience quickly. So it’s only a matter of observation to see how male and female can be represented through the hand-drawn line for either humorous or ethical reasons, especially leading up to and during the post-modern era of Hollywood film-making. To illustrate this I have selected two cartoon shorts and two feature length films, which are all discussed in chronological order.
One of the most famous cartoons made during the golden age of animation, Red Hot Riding Hood (Tex Avery, 1943, USA) makes use of a great deal of parody on many levels from start to finish. It opens up telling the traditional tale about Little Red Riding Hood but half a minute in the characters suddenly break the narrative and address to the narrator and audience that they are ‘fed up’ with seeing this story told in the same old way again and demand that the film makers do something new with the story. Direct address to the audience, by the way, is rarely done in live action film as it normally puts the narrative in danger of revealing the transparency of form. In animation or comedy, the audience is less likely to take this seriously so here it works well.
The film makers indeed do something new with the story and characters. The tale is set in a more contemporary New York City (at the time the film is made at least) and the characters speak with an equally contemporary use of language. The wolf becomes an apparently successful business man who visits a girls club at night to see Red Hot Riding Hood. Like any classical Hollywood film made at the time gender has immediately become sexualized and glossed over. Once the wolf fails to win over Riding Hood, she escapes to a taxi and the wolf follows her to Grandma’s house, where an even more slapstick chase sequence occurs with the Grandmother trying to win over the disgusted wolf through her fancy apartment. After the wolf gets away, he vows to shoot...

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