Thinking in Images addresses the current crisis in film theory by offering a new methodology for interrelating theory and film texts. Drawing on the groundbreaking work of Michele Le Doeuff the author argures that philosophy is reliant on socio-cultural images, such as the figures of the veiled woman, the femme fatale and the seductress. The author traces the key role played by such images of woman in the theorisations of beauty, art and truth offered by Nietzsche and his successors: Derrida, Kofman and Baudrillard. Importantly, the recognition that images are crucial to theorising means that film images have the capacity to challenge and change previous theoretical models. This is demonstrated by a case study of three films from the Dietrich/Sternberg cycle: The Scarlet Empress, The Devil is a Woman and Shanghai Express. The detailed readings focus on the ways in which Dietrich's glamorous characters challenge the theorisation of woman as a beautiful object, thus offering new ways of conceptualising woman's role as the icon of beauty, art and truth.
Catherine Constableis Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University.
Introduction: Thinking in Images Chapter 1: Theories Proper and Improper Chapter 2: The Mirror of Woman Chapter 3: Venus of Stone Chapter 4: Mapping the Roads Not Taken Chapter 5: Woman as Caprice Chapter 6: The Seductress Chapter 7: Conclusion