Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(Wo)man in the Mirror

I've been noticing lots of self-gaze -- in both the vein of a sad, "Who am I?" waif (above, a promotional still from the upcoming Coco Chanel biopic) and the beguiling femme fatale (below, the new Dior ad featuring aforementioned Marion Cotillard).

As pretty as it looks, you can't take the mirror too lightly -- its relationship with visual pleasure has deep roots (miss u, psychoanalysis). Lacan's "mirror stage" is the moment when the child recognizes himself in the mirror, and the 'pleasure' is in imaging the mirror image as "more complete, more perfect than their own body" (cf. Laura Mulvey). Extending the theory a little, psychologically-charged film criticism seems founded upon a comparison between the moviegoer and the child at the mirror: enamored with the self-recognition (even if a gross mis-representation) of looking in the mirror (at the film screen).

Anyway, leave it to female auteurs (Coco Avant Chanel's director, Anne Fontaine, and dykon Annie Leibovitz, who photographed the Dior ad) to make a conscious play on the perfect mirror image and the implications therein for the gazed-upon woman. You can't even take marketing campaigns for granted these days!

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