La Donna è Mobile: Portraits of Suburban Women in 1970s American Cinema


Francescato, Simone


Ph.D, Ca'Foscari /University of Venice (American Culture); MA University of Birmingham; Faculty,Ca'Foscari

This book examines the relationship between suburban lifestyle and gender construction in the American cinema of the 1970s. Inspired by the work of scholars such as historian Bruce Schulman, and film critics Peter Lev and Thomas Elsaesser, this book argues for a reassessment of two classic films that perfectly conveyed the anti-suburban stance characterizing what is now considered a pivotal decade in American cinema. These films - John Cassavetes's A Woman Under the Influence and Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore - offered a unique representation of the tension between traditional values and the late Sixties counterculture in the United States, as embodied in the struggle for emancipation of  two ordinary women living in suburban areas of the country. The analysis of these films paves the way for an enlarged discussion of the contradictory revival of the Seventies suburbia genre in the movies of the last fifteen years.

This book is divided in three parts. The first examines suburbanization and the effects of gender construction in the United States in the early Seventies from a variety of viewpoints: sociological, historical and cultural. The second part provides in-depth critical readings of two suburban films now widely regarded as classics of mainstream and independent cinema. The third and last section is an overview of the 1970s suburban woman theme in late 1990s and early 2000s cinema, entailing the critical discussion of recent films such as Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, and Frank Oz's The Stepford Wives.

Contents: Introduction - PART ONE: Suburbia as a Gendered Cage - PART TWO: Case Studies in Independent and Mainstream Cinema - PART THREE: Revis(it)ing Stepford: A Decade Under Trial - Bibliography - Index of Names

American Studies, Film, Women/Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Film History
Release Date: 
Cloth: 978-1-933146-97-3
Trim Size: 
Yes - B/W photographs/graphs

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