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Fight Club: fantasy and masculinity

Exam question break down
by

Maria Edwards

on 15 February 2013

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Transcript of Fight Club: fantasy and masculinity

"Fight Club uses cinematic means to produce a fantasy which is also a serious exploration of masculinity". How far does this statement capture your own response to the film? Fantasy elements Cinematic means = micro and macro elements

Fantasy = genre elements

Explorations of masculinity How far = write an argument,
do you agree with the statement or not? De-saturation of colour creates an gloomy and gritty atmosphere that challenges traditional fantasy conventions, but has been seen in contemporary films such as Pans Labyrinth and fairy tale remake Snow White and the Huntsman, to develop a 'neo' fantasy sub genre that is aimed at an adult audience. Arguably Fight Club pioneers this style.

Circular narrative with temporal montages
Direct address: breaking the fourth wall
Dream and meditation sequences - the penguin and Marla

Editing: Inserts of Tyler before the narrator first meets him
Tyler: can be likened to the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland... gives him control and dominance over the narrator, reinforcing his masculinity. Introduction EXPLORATIONS OF MASCULINITY Fight Club presents the viewer with an exploration
of masculinity rather than simply a representation
of it. This is mainly done through narrator, whose
perspective we watch the film through. The nameless narrator's journey to understand and regain his masculinity (and thus his identity) in post-feminist, consumerist 90s America is the
driving force of the narrative and consequently the
film explores the development of masculinity in
a society where traditional ideologies on gender roles no longer work. You must refer to the question and give a brief overall answer. For this essay, I would include something relating to critical receptions as well.

In this case, you must explain whether or not you agree with the statement.

THEN: Use your introduction set up the rest of your essay, outline the key things you will discuss: cinematic techniques used to create fantasy genre, ways in which masculinity is explored Which nicely feeds into... EXPLORATIONS OF MASCULINITY Narrator: Pluralistic representation of masculinity Masculinity in crisis:
- Ikea nesting instinct
- Submissive to Tyler and Marla
- Emotional relationship with Marla Tyler: Represents hyper-real masculinity Exaggerated masculinity:
- Nihilistic philosophies
- Shots of muscular body
- Image (costume)
- 'New' masculinity through Fight Club and Project Mayhem
- Misogynistic ideology: has sex with Marla but states "I'm not sure another woman is what we really need".
- Dominance over the narrator: knows what is going on, speaks for him.
- Criticism from critics: "Bully... Leather clad club operator" Threats to Masculinity Marla Singer:
- Femme Fatale (costume, cigarette prop)
- Dildo on dresser "He's not a threat to you"
- Non-conformity
- Dominance over narrator
- Represents post feminism of 1990s

Disease:
- Bob - testicular cancer, remaining men together, crying with boobs.
- Lou - traditional 'gangster' stereotype of masculinity is subverted by Tyler scaring him off with possibility of disease "You don't know where I've been" - link to wider context of Aids, swine flu, mad cow disease - contamination.

Fight Club and Project Mayhem:
- Ways of trying to 'find' masculinity, but end up as cults: no names, same costume, guerrilla warfare. Criticised in reviews - e.g. Roger Ebert.
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