Gazing at Love

Blue Is the Warmest Color

a film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

Can a moviegoer set academic theory aside and still ask, What is the cinematic male gaze, and is it so very different from the female one? Is the camera inherently masculine, a powerful instrument of anxiety, and lust, forever casting women as objects? (The phallic pen has never once deterred a woman writer.) And when is a gaze not a gaze but something else—something prurient or false or constructed as if through a rifle sight, or, as one filmmaker friend of mine has said, “as something to be viewed in the safety of a dark theater”?

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