Masculinity and Film Performance: Male Angst in Contemporary American Cinema

Masculinity and Film Performance: Male Angst in Contemporary American Cinema

Language: English

Pages: 230


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A lively and engaging study of on-screen and off-screen performances of masculinity, focusing on well-known male actors in American film and popular culture in the 1990s and 2000s. Peberdy examines specific social, cultural, historical and political contexts that have affected age, race, sexuality and fatherhood on screen.

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male angst? In Acting in the Cinema, James Naremore sets out to reveal ‘buried, paradoxical assumptions about society and the self’ by analysing codes and conventions of film performance, or what he refers to as the ‘theatrical quality of movies’. Perceiving a connection between screen performances that are passed off as ‘natural’ in order to be believed and the function of ideology to appear natural and commonplace, Naremore concludes that ‘the very technique of film acting has ideological - licensed to McGill University - PalgraveConnect - 2011-09-05 116 Masculinity and Film Performance 117 Figure 3.4 Performance-of-a-performance on The Tonight Show (NBC, 2005) The caricatures climaxed in Cruise’s ‘presentation of self’ when he appeared on The Tonight Show in June 2005 (Figure 3.4).39 This time jumping on Jay Leno’s sofa, Cruise’s performance-of-a-performance was a conspicuous attempt to regain some of the credibility he had arguably lost three weeks

aging, these men demonstrate that old age does not necessarily equate with physical, mental and social decline and create the possibility that aging men can be professional and successful like their younger counterparts. Closer to Holmlund’s ‘despondent, rickety “rotting”’ is the second image of aging proposed by Featherstone. Depicting the ‘hidden and 10.1057/9780230308701 - Masculinity and Film Performance, Donna Peberdy Copyright material from - licensed to McGill

actively portraying social characteristics of aging yet passively portraying the physical appearance of aging. Considering aging as an active or passive process problematises the potential to present aging on screen as what James Naremore’s terms ‘pure biological performance’.45 Aging, he notes, is an ‘involuntary biological process’ to the extent that we cannot stop the process of growing old (although it can, as Sylvester Stallone demonstrates, be delayed or reversed via health care regimes and

Scandal Genres, 2. 49. Negra and Holmes, Introduction, 12. 4 Performing Paternity: Clinton, Nostalgia and the Racial Politics of Fatherhood 1. ‘The American Family’ (2001) US Society and Values: An Electronic Journal of the US Department of State 6 (1) (January), 1. english/facts/ijse0101/ijse0101.htm accessed February 2007. 2. See for example, S. Waldman (1992) ‘Deadbeat dads’, Newsweek, life/style (4 May), 46; N. J. Easton (1992) ‘Life without father’, Los Angeles

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