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Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers$
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Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474425261

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.001.0001

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date: 31 May 2020

Hollywood Transvestite: Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker1

Hollywood Transvestite: Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker1

Chapter:
(p.100) 3. Hollywood Transvestite: Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker1
Source:
Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
Author(s):

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425261.003.0004

This chapter offers an analysis of the authorial persona of Kathryn Bigelow in relation to her Iraq War movie, The Hurt Locker (2008). Bigelow represents a cause célèbre for feminist criticism in terms of her apparent abandonment of her earlier experimental work for mainstream narrative fiction, her presumed subversion of Hollywood gender types and genres, her refusal of both feminist and gendered identities, and her ‘capitulation’ to the supposedly masculinist action genre. Bigelow’s work thus puts into tension the conjunction of women filmmakers, genre, authorship and the questions posed by feminist film criticism – issues dramatised by her nomination for the Best Director Oscar in competition with her former husband’s sci-fi film, Avatar (2009). In contrast to the readings that regret the lack of female characterisation or that place The Hurt Locker within the realist realm of signification – considering Bigelow’s aesthetics as a documentary gesture that transmits an accurate description of warfare – the chapter explores the director’s highly self-aware and metageneric approach to filming. While framing it within Bigelow’s authorial signature, the chapter argues that The Hurt Locker participates in the contemporary war film format, conceptualised by Robert Burgoyne (2013) as a ‘body genre’, concluding that the film creates tensions between abstract, mythical masculinity and the singular, material body at risk.

Keywords:   war film, metagenericity, authorship, feminist criticism, male/female genres, body genre, masculinity, women filmmakers, Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

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