The University of Pennsylvania
2012-2013 spring semester
Queer and Feminist Film Studies（GSWS 322-401）
Proposal of Final Project
Teacher: Dr. Cathy Hannabach
Student: Katon (Kai Chun, LEE)
The Construction of Femme Fatale
– Case Study of the film Femme Fatale (2002)
To discover how a film construct the concept of Femme Fatale.
With the use of the film “Femme Fatale” as a case study.
Film to be analyzed:
Femme Fatale (2002), French mystery film directed by Brian De Palma. The film stars Rebecca Romijn and Antonio Banderas. It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
Brief summary of the film:
It is a story about a femme fatale called Laure. She works for a gang and is responsible for stealing diamonds in the story. But she double-crosses her bosses and brings the money away. As people are chasing her for the money, she plays with her sexuality with other men and women in order to overcome all the challenges. In this sense, this film successfully presents a distinct female figure which is the femme fatale. This project aims at analyzing how the film constructs and spreads the concept of “Femme Fatale” to its audience.
What to do in the Analysis Paper? (DUE: 1/5)
To discover how the film (Femme Fatale) constructs the concept of Femme Fatale.
Research Directions to achieve the Research Objective:
1. Analyzing the IMAGES of Femme Fatale in the film, including:
- Facial expression
2. Analyzing the ROLES of Femme Fatale in the film, including:
- Plots concerning how Femme Fatale acts
- Relationship of Femme Fatale with men in the film
- Relationship of Femme Fatale with women (especially the lesbians) in the film
- Femme Fatale’s missions, jobs and responsibilities
By the above two analyses, draw a conclusion upon how the film constructs the CRITERIA of being a Femme Fatale (i.e. the Femininity of a femme fatale)
- Mystery, Danger
- Role model of women (strong, threatening/as strong and threatening as men)Power and Growth of womenTo change women status and acknowledgement of female sexuality and power from the old and stereotyped perspectives possessed by society
In the end of the paper, a conclusion is going to be made that how the film brings out all the above elements which contribute to the construction of Femininity of a femme fatale.
Film to be analyzed
– Femme Fatale (2002)
Scholarly (Peer reviewed) Journals
– DANGEROUS BEAUTIES by Elizabeth K. Menon
Vandenbrouck-Przybylski, Melanie, Art History; Apr2009, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p410-413, 4p, 2 Illustrations
– Stay Still So We Can See Who You Are’ Anxiety and Bisexual Activity in the Contemporary Femme Fatale Film
Farrimond, Katherine, Journal of Bisexuality; Jan-Mar2012, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p138-154, 17p
– Female Masculinities
Gardiner, Judith Kegan, Men & Masculinities; Aug2009, Vol. 11 Issue 5, p622-633, 12p
– Femme Fatale 2010
Alfonso, Kristal L., Air & Space Power Journal; Fall2010, Vol. 24 Issue 3, p59-73, 15p, 1 Illustration
– The Femme Fatale Images, Histories and Contexts
Leonard, Suzanne, Feminist Media Studies; Dec2011, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p511-512, 2p
– etc. (should be more about the director Brian De Palma)
Readings of Bound
– Straayer, Chris, “Femme Fatale or Lesbian Femme: Bound in Sexual Difference.”, Women in Film Noir, 2nd ed., edited by E. Ann Kaplan (London: British Film Institute, 1998), pp.153-161.
– Wallace, Lee, “Continuous Sex: The Editing of Homosexuality in Bound and Rope.”, Screen 41.4 (2000), pp.369-387.
Readings of FtF: Female to Femme
– Selections from Femme: Feminists, Lesbians and Bad Girls, edited by Laura Harris and Liz Crocker (New York: Routledge, 1997) pp. 1-12, 93-102, 119-130, 145-159 and 170-174.
– Selections from Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011), pp.23-26, 67-78, 310-312.
– Duggan, Lisa and Kathleen McHugh, “A Fem(me)inist Manifesto”, Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity, edited by Chloe Burshwood Rose and Anna Camilleri (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002), pp.165-170.
– Femme Shark Communique no.1 (zine)
– Femme Fatale: the female criminal
– Chinese Femme Fatale
– The Femme Fatale: images of evil and fascinating women
– The femme fatale: images, histories, contexts
What to do in the Digital video? (DUE: Draft 13/4)
The Digital Video may mainly be divided into 2 parts.
The first part is a plan of making a documentary of interviewing several men from different regions/countries/nations/culture of the world to see how they respectively perceive the concept of “Femme Fatale”.
To analyze the key elements of femme fatale, questions will be asked, including:
1. What do they think about the standards, requirements or criteria of being a femme fatale?
2. What are those same/common key criteria in their minds?
3. How do they perceive “Femme Fatale” differently?
4. How do those criteria vary from regions to regions/culture to culture of the world?
5. How do they think about the role of Femme Fatale? E.g. for sex, for satisfying men’s desire?
By asking these questions, we can get some ideas on the general criteria which femme fatale should meet.
And at the end of this part, a conclusion is going to be drawn upon “what femme fatale really is/means under the male gaze?”
The second part is a plan of making a documentary of interviewing several women from different regions/countries/nations/culture of the world to see how they respond to the perception of men to Femme Fatale.
For example: Asking female interviewees “Men are thinking femme fatale in this way. How will you respond to it?”
And in this part, we are going to see the difference on how different gender perceives femme fatale differently and draw up a conclusion on “what femme fatale should really be”.
What to do in the Google Map?
For the Google Map, several important scenes in the film are going to be located, like:
- Prison Road, South of France
- Sheraton (Room 214), Charles de Ganlle Airport, Paris
- Sydney Live Show Night Club
- Residence of American Ambassador
These locations are so much important that they outline the main plots of the film. And they respectively reflect their significance in the film, which will be discussed in this task.