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Representation of the femme fatal in sci-fi films, how has the femme fatale changed from the 20th centaury to the 21st centaury - Dissertation Example

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Evolution of the Figure of the Femme Fatale in Science Fiction Films By [Insert Name] [Course] [Tutor] [University] [Department] [Date] Introduction: The spectre of the femme fatale has haunted literature over several centuries now. Right from the Bible, where Eve in The Book of Genesis has been interpreted as the archetypal femme fatale, for her role in luring Adam into partaking of forbidden knowledge, leading to the loss of Eden and the doom of the rest of humankind (Edwards 2010, p…
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Representation of the femme fatal in sci-fi films, how has the femme fatale changed from the 20th centaury to the 21st centaury

Download file to see previous pages... But from literature, the femme fatale has inevitable seeped into other forms of art as well. In film, for instance, the role of the femme fatale has become a recognizable trope in certain genres, even inviting variations like spoofs or parodies of it. In film, the genre of film noir has generally monopolized or been associated traditionally with the use of the femme fatale. Film noir makes room for two kinds of female archetypes: the sweet, dutiful, loving and reliable women and the deceitful, mysterious, subversive and manipulative femmes fatales (Dirks, ‘Femme Fatale’, n.d.). An instance of a film where one finds both kinds is Double Indemnity (1944), where Phyllis Dietrichson, the homicidal wife who feigns interest in and plots with the insurance agent to kill her husband is the typical femme fatale while her step-daughter Lola Dietrichson, loving, honest and helpless, represents the only other type of woman that film noir allows for. The appearance and function of the femme fatale in films has evolved over the years, and film noir is no longer the genre that monopolizes the use of this figure. Science-fiction films have also been repeatedly invoking the figure of the femme fatale over the years to complement their other thematic concerns. How, why and where this use of the femme fatale has taken place will be evaluated in the course of this paper. What evolving roles has the femme fatale been invoked to perform; what common patterns and departures from such patterns have occurred in their representation; what universal concerns, if any, has the femme fatale stood for: these are a few of the questions which this paper will seek to answer. The femme fatale must first be defined for us to be able to identify her in different works of art. There are certain characteristics that are popularly recognized as being typical of the femme fatale. Tim Dirks’s description of femmes fatales as ‘mysterious, duplicitous, subversive, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, tough-sweet, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative and desperate women (‘Femme Fatale’, n.d.)’ puts in place some of these commonly accepted associations of the femme fatale. However, there is no real consensus among either critics or moviegoers of what exactly defines the femme fatale. The term is flexible and allows for a wide range of interpretations. There can be elements of the femme fatale in some characters that do not otherwise wholly conform to the stereotype and vice versa. To begin our exploration into the role of femmes fatales in science fiction films over the years it is instructive to first attempt providing an introduction to, if not a definition of, the femme fatale through the eyes of various critics and scholars over time. This attempt at defining femme fatale has been a long ongoing process in film studies, and not often with much success. There are often inherent obstacles in the act of defining itself. As critic Linda Ruth Williams declares that though most critics try to provide a ‘psychoanalytic or socially informed’ analysis of the femme fatale, what happens more often than not is succumbing to the impulse to ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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