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The new Basic Instinct- Camille Paglia commentary track!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shane Gralaw, Sep 15, 2001.

  1. Shane Gralaw

    Shane Gralaw Well-Known Member

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    I can't think of a better extra to any DVD release this year than the Camille Paglia commentary for Basic Instinct. Tracks with filmmakers are great (and insightful) but a track with a passionate fan always has a certain energy and excitement that filmmaker commentaries (focusing on anecdotes and technical matters) lack, making me reconsider films I originally dismissed. Like the Roger Ebert track for Dark City (another film I didn't care for on first viewing), Paglia brings her unique insight to point out subtle details (the use of nature imagery, the power dynamics of the sex scenes, the comparisons with Vertigo, the role of the Catherine Trammel character in the larger schema of the femme fatale) that the casual viewer can easily miss. Just because a film is a big Hollywood production aimed at a mainstream audience does not mean that there is no artistic skill involved. I am a defender of Verhoeven's Starship Troopers for its subtle social commentary and clever use of small, seemingly throwaway details, but had never noticed the same in Basic Instinct. Verhoeven's films are so glossy and over-the-top that they are all too easily dismissed. Fascinating!
     
  2. Joel C

    Joel C Well-Known Member

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    While I agree that the track was a good listen, I wouldn't put too much stock into these kinds of comments, especially for a film as trashy as Basic Instinct. If you've ever taken a film class, you can hear someone speak of "subverting the genre," "archtypes," ect. about every singl movie ever made. Seriously, I could make you think Masters of the Universe was a brilliant commentary on the place of music in our society.
    Still, it is a fun track.
    ------------------
    Joel
    woemcats@hotmail.com
    "I've been very lonely in my isolated tower of indecipherable speech."
    digitallyOBSESSED
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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    I was hoping Universal would get Paglia to do a commentary for The Birds - she wrote the Birds entry in the BFI series - but alas...
    I look forward to hearing this one.
     
  4. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Well-Known Member

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  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Is this Paglia commentary the same one that was recorded for the LD special edition?
     
  6. cafink

    cafink Well-Known Member

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    Who is she?
     
  7. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Well-Known Member

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    Camille Paglia is a college professor who writes alot about feminism and other female topics. I believe her most famous book is Sexual Personae : Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.
     
  8. DonaldB

    DonaldB Well-Known Member

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  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    I just want to know if the "DVS" track is still there--the one that narrates the action for the sight-impaired (never mind what a blind person would be doing buying a DVD...
    "He straddles her naked a$$..."
    that line always made us laugh when the narrator said it. [​IMG]
     
  10. Garry I

    Garry I Well-Known Member

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    Is the interrogation scene airbrushed? I heard that Sharone stone asked to leave this out. IS this true?
     
  11. Mitty

    Mitty Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt that Stone has the pull to do that. That'd be like the guy who played the cop in Reservoir Dogs asking them to remove the ear scene. It's the signature moment of the film. That shot made Sharon Stone a star.
     
  12. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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    quote: Who is she?[/quote]
    One of the few art historian/theorists who's scholarship has successfully straddled the increasingly interrelated "high and low" relationship between the fine arts and the popular arts. She has a particular interest in the sexual identity of women as portrayed in the arts, from the earliest pagan depictions to the latest Hollywood films.
    And as for the absurd theoretical blather derided above and which certainly pollutes our humanities departments, Paglia stands as one of the few who's forcefully challenged the remnants of the poststructuralist takeover in art and political theory, disentwining the two and helping to return us to more of a sensualist's perspective.
    She's also a thorn in the side of the knee-jerk left, particularly the feminist orthodoxy. Of course, as a lesbian libertine she's utterly anathema on the right, as well. Her style as a firebrand polemicist has brought her criticism as a shameless self-promoter - a criticism I might agree with if I didn't find her views so refreshing and so necessary in the stifling and stale environment of the modern academy.
    In her own words:
    quote: The psychology of gender has been one of the inspirations of my work, dating from the earliest gender dysphoria of my childhood. I began accumulating research materials and recording my own observations and reflections on the subject while I was still in high school in the early 1960s. In college and graduate school, I ransacked the libraries to survey changing definitions of gender in world culture from prehistory to modern times. Hence I was well-positioned to see how full of crap feminist theory was from the moment it hardened itself against science in the early 1970s -- a situation worsened by the anti-science bias of poststructuralism, which flowed in from France at the same time via Johns Hopkins and Yale universities.
    The overwhelming majority of today's gender theorists belong to humanities departments and have made little or no effort to inform themselves about anatomy, physiology, endocrinology or evolutionary biology, without which their social constructionist dogma is baseless. I have constantly argued that science courses should be required for anyone credentialed to teach gender issues at the college level. Right now, there are no prerequisites at all for faculty positions in this field: Just wave a gay or feminist flag, and voilĂ , you're an instant expert!
    Most students who take a psychology of gender course simply want their thinking expanded at a time when their own identities are in flux. In my "Women and Sex Roles" course, which I have been offering since 1986, I stress that, no matter what my strong opinions might be, there is no party line in the class. That such freedom of choice is not standard -- despite what professors like to claim -- I know from the huge volume of letters of complaint I have gotten in this decade from graduates of colleges and universities all over North America.
    The only solution to this intellectual mess is for concerned teachers to steer psychology of gender courses back toward scientific and historical rigor. Over the past 90 years, the major European and American schools of psychology produced an enormous body of fascinating material on sex and identity that is still relevant. Right now, there is far too much myopic focus on glitzy work of the past two decades that has been generated by linguistic wordplay or political posturing rather than by empirical study.
    The subject of sex is central to our century. But college courses must have scholarly detachment and never overtly aim for social change -- or we slide back to the Nazi and Stalinist vision of education as an instrument of ideology. Students need facts, not flattery. And professors need to recover their ethical compass.[/quote]
    Here's a good example of her polemics regarding art, film and sexual identity vis Hitchcock's The Birds, the theories of feminist film theorist, Laura Mulvey, and Paglia's own sensualist/pagan views:
    http://www.salon.com/it/col/pagl/1998/10/07pagl.html
    Al's DVD Collection
    Al's Criterion Collection
    [Edited last by Al Brown on September 16, 2001 at 02:02 PM]
     
  13. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Premium
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    While I often disagree with Paglia,
    I find her to be a breath of fresh air,
    and eagerly look forward to her commentary on
    Basic Instinct.
    Mark
     
  14. Tony Lai

    Tony Lai Well-Known Member

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    If you want to read your fill of Camille Paglia (and you will get full!) try the Salon.com
    Lots and lots of screed and I admit, she's entertaining, rather tasteless at times and definitely polarising as shown above.
    T.
     
  15. Shane Gralaw

    Shane Gralaw Well-Known Member

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    I love her Salon column and have really missed it since she went on summer hiatus. But summer is over- where is it? Camille come back to us!
     
  16. John Koehler

    John Koehler Well-Known Member

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    Damn fine post, Al.
    Before anyone dismsses Paglia as pseudo-intllectual, give her a bit of a chance. She has laid bare some major gender issue propaganda, exposing it for the factless emotionalism that it can often be. As she asserts, science and history must play a role in formulating any concept of sexuality, and at the very least she acknowledges that men and women ARE very different!
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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  18. Max Leung

    Max Leung Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully, Camille isn't one of those Intellectual Impostures. A review of Alan Sokal's book, http://dannyreviews.com/h/Intellectual_Impostures.html
    If you want a better general understanding of our crazy crazy world, you would have a hard time beating this selection.
    ------------------
    Max Leung
    [Edited last by Max Leung on September 19, 2001 at 01:03 PM]
     
  19. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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  20. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Premium
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    Well-
    I finished watching the unrated cut of the film
    with CP's commentary track on, and I must say that
    it left much to be desired.
    I have heard her lecture before (on television),
    and felt much more enthralled by what she was saying
    in front of the university's audience, that what she
    read into Basic Instinct.
    She does pull out some EXCELLENT references, and
    her comments about the femme fatale in a social
    history are excellent, but her visual analysis of some
    shots seems to be really really reaching.
    Like she mentions the waters down below as Douglas
    and Stone descend down a pathway that is attached to a
    rocky cliff with the ocean swirling below...Paglia's
    states this reflects the conflicted emotions in
    Catherine Trammel.
    I doubt that. More likely it is just a visual quote
    from Vertigo.
    She does the same thing with the ice pick and the ice,
    like the police are the picking, trying to chip away
    at her....I mean, this is the kind of analysis I would
    expect from a high schooler who likes to write poetry
    about sad clowns hidden behind painted smiles.
    There are a bunch of times like this.
    (Like she mentions when Beth stops smiling,
    "we are being shown she is a woman not to be trusted.")
    Hey, Paglia, we're not stupid.
    Maybe I expected too much of her.
    I have no problem with her citing the
    social context and all that,
    and as a gay man myself,
    I was as annoyed with the outcry from
    some members of the gay community as anyone,
    so I feel like I agree
    with much of what Paglia says,
    but Man!, her ability to interpret symbolism
    in the film was just so amateurish...
    this from a woman who loves
    many Hitchcock films.
    And she was all over the proverbial map,
    and a bit redundant at times.
    Maybe I have listened to Ebert too many times
    on the Dark City DVD. I have
    come to expect that level of commentary from
    some one who usually has something intereting
    to say...
    Ah, well.
    Mark
    [Edited last by Mark Walker on September 19, 2001 at 07:14 PM]
     

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