Camera Obscura 27:1 (79)

An issue of: Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura 27:1 (79)
Journal Issue Pages: 200 Volume 27, Number 1 Number: 79 Published: 2012 An issue of Camera Obscura


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The Wages of Affluence: The High-Rise Housewife in Japanese Sex Films

McKnight, A.

This essay considers how ideas about liberation flourished in Japanese sex films in the 1970s by exploring the genre of the housewife film as it traverses industrial contexts. Liberation was abandoned by melancholic male intellectuals after the 1970 failure to halt Japan's military treaty with the US and the crisis of a 1972 hostage incident. These early 1970s events were seen by denizens of mass media as well as intellectuals to signal the end of radical politics. However, treatments of liberation viewed through the lenses of gender, sexuality, and complicity thrived in sex films, especially films that featured the popular trope of the housewife. Both low-budget "pink films" and more lushly produced, experimental roman poruno narrative films by Nikkatsu, Japan's oldest studio, put the housewife at the center of their stories and used the housewife's dwelling in modernist architecture to advance their critique of "managed life" during postwar economic growth. My readings focus on films by pink auteur Wakamatsu Koji as well as roman poruno directors that feature residents of danchi — Japanese high-rise apartment complexes built to solve the postwar housing shortage. Wakamatsu maps the danchi landscape as something that regiments and confines human life and conceals illicit activities despite its pretensions to rationalization. In contrast, the Nikkatsu productions depict a critique of managed life that includes both sexes and implicates the built environment through dependence and complicity, not rebellion or resistance. Both, however, use the danchi wife to frame their broader social critiques. This essay argues that far from being the end of politics, sex films see liberation in intimate formal relation to postwar political and economic realities. Finally, I argue that sex films display surprising common ground with radical feminist discourses and discourses on landscape that emerged in an era otherwise known for political fatigue.

The Poetics of Addiction: Stardom, "Feminized" Spectatorship, and Interregional Business Relations in the Twilight Series

Fan, V.

This article studies the success of the Twilight franchise in relation to the stardom of Robert Pattinson by proposing a model of interpretation called "the poetics of addiction." The term addiction is used in this essay not as a top-down form of dependency but as a multilateral and multilayered network of mutual dependency and interactive/interpassive reconfigurations. The article asks in what ways the Twilight films construct or imagine their targeted audience — teenage girls, Twilight moms, and gay men — and how such desires are then consumed, multiplied, and circulated on textual, industrial, and transnational levels. In the Twilight series, Pattinson's highly flexible star image appeals to audiences with different kinds of sexual or romantic desires, for if we look carefully at the way Edward Cullen is represented, and how Pattinson is marketed in the media, he is portrayed as both sexy and sexually unavailable. In this light, teenage girls, Twilight moms, and gay men could fabricate their own individual ideas of what it means to fall in love with the idea of love for the first time, with a figure that is both abundantly available as a sexual imagination but physically unapproachable, sexually undefined (e.g., Is he straight? Is he gay? Or does it matter?), or even potentially dangerous. The article develops this idea via a close analysis of the films and seeks to extend this idea to an understanding of how Hollywood and the int

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