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Screening | Riddles of the Sphinx

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen
Riddles of the Sphinx
Thursday 5 October
6 – 8pm

For the third screening in the programme, Urgency and Possibility: Counter-Cinema in the 70s and 80s, Cooper Gallery presents Riddles of the Sphinx, 1971 an exploration of feminism, motherhood and sexual difference.

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen's second collaborative film addresses the position of women in patriarchy through the prism of psychoanalysis. The film draws on the critical writings and investigations by both filmmakers into the codes of narrative cinema, and offers an alternative formal structure through which to consider the images and meanings of female representation in film. In the film the narrative's female protagonist, is represented through a fragmented use of imagery and dialogue, in an attempt to break down the conventional narrative structures of framing and filming used to objectify and fetishise women in mainstream cinema.

Riddles of the Sphinx attempts to construct a new relationship between the viewer and female subject by presenting her through multiple female voices and viewpoints in opposition to the aesthetic conventions of traditional cinematic practice.

All screenings in the programme are free and ticketed. Please register on Eventbrite.

Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen, Riddles of the Sphinx, 1977
Courtesy BFI

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Urgency and Possibility: Counter-Cinema in the 70s and 80s, is a two-week screening programme of the collaborative film works by widely influential film theorists and filmmakers Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen. The programme, selected with Laura Mulvey, includes the artists’ experimental shorts, features and documentary, which instigated Counter-Cinema in the 1970s. These films are underpinned by the discourse of feminist theory, semiotics, psychoanalysis and leftist politics and an attempt to work against the formalist and ideological domination of Hollywood cinema.

See full programme screening times here.

Image credit: Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, Riddles of the Sphinx (production still), 1977. Image courtesy the artists and BFI.