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‘I Want to Go Someplace Where I Can Be a Woman’: The Problem of ‘Having it All’ in the Screwball Comedy Romance

A woman’s place, in the eyes of His Girl Friday heroine, Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell), is difficult to find. Caught in a web of clacking typewriters, front-page stories, and an obsessive ex-husband, who uses every trick in the book to win her back, Hildy has little time to discover a ‘place’ which she can call her own. The 1940 screwball comedy presents ‘career woman’ and ‘wife’ as mutually exclusive roles. Hildy, it seems, cannot find happiness in both her work in journalism and her personal life. She finds herself torn between these two worlds, embodied in her two suitors: hard-boiled editor, Walter Burns (played by the iconic Cary Grant), and the dull Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy). Continue reading ‘I Want to Go Someplace Where I Can Be a Woman’: The Problem of ‘Having it All’ in the Screwball Comedy Romance

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Cher Under the Microscope: What Defines a Rom-Com Cool Girl?

Clueless (1995) is undeniably a classic chick flick and its protagonist Cher Horowitz is a typical rom-com cool girl. But what exactly does it mean to be one of these characters? Which other romantic comedies feature cool girls? And how central is the figure of the cool girl to the romantic comedy as a genre? Continue reading Cher Under the Microscope: What Defines a Rom-Com Cool Girl?

Living for Killing Eve: Ep. 3 – Meetings Have Biscuits

Series three of Killing Eve continues this week with the release of episode three, ‘Meetings Have Biscuits’. We begin with Villanelle tuning an old piano in an exquisitely grand home in Andalusia, communicating effortlessly in yet another language, Spanish. If this opening scene wasn’t already typical of Killing Eve, the audience is then treated to not one, but two swift, clinical, and brutal murders. And so, just like that, Villanelle is back for another week. Continue reading Living for Killing Eve: Ep. 3 – Meetings Have Biscuits

Review: RAMM Lates

Last Friday night I went to the RAMM for just the second time since I’ve lived in Exeter. As an English student and exhibition lover, I find it strange that there is such a valuable resource in the centre of town that I have never used. The RAMM Lates event highlighted the fact that the RAMM is a great resource that has real relevance to the student community. Museums allow us to experience culture up close and without the filter of computer screens that we have become accustomed to. After learning about Native American culture and history last term I found it eye-opening to be able to see firsthand authentic artefacts – such as traditional clothing and weapons – from Native American culture. So surely this is a resource we should all be using more often? Continue reading Review: RAMM Lates

Politics on Screen: Parasite

Ever since it debuted at Cannes Film Festival in May 2019 and won its prestigious Palme d’Or, Parasite has been making waves. With two Baftas, four Oscars (including best picture – the first time a foreign film has ever won) and countless other accolades under its belt, it has dominated the awards circuit and catapulted writer-director Bong Joon-Ho to international fame. A much-celebrated director in his native South Korea, Bong’s work often touches upon social issues. Okja, for example, deals with environmental issues, capitalism, animal rights and corporate greed, whilst The Host explores dictatorships, governments and power, amongst other things. Continue reading Politics on Screen: Parasite

Arty Nudes

There goes the age-old art centric debate; what constitutes nude and what naked? Nudity is often viewed as the artful posing of the naked human form, whereas nakedness is often perceived as more vulnerable, unrefined and bare – in such a sense nudity is often elevated to a higher artistic and cultural standing, with nakedness being largely associated with censorship and stigmatisation. The terms are often used interchangeably, and while this may not be 100% linguistically correct, I would argue that it is important to destigmatise the taboos surrounding nakedness; a naked body is just that, whether it can be perceived as sexually attractive should not be central to the manner in which we address it. As demonstrated, both words mean the unclothed human body, so how did such a differentiation in contextual understanding occur? Art critic John Berger previously argued the meaning of the nude has changed over the years; in his 1972 book ‘Ways of Seeing’  he says that the nude has been continuously utilised to portray the female body in a manner that is sexually pleasing to the viewer, whereas a ‘naked’ piece of art depicts a sitter embodying their own space and pleasure. Whether this is true is dependent on the subjective opinion of the viewer, something that has undoubtedly changed throughout history. Continue reading Arty Nudes

Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts

This winter the Royal Academy of Arts has exhibited Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits. The collection of portraits ranges from his early career in 1940, to his most recent work in 2001. This masterfully curated exhibition focuses on the self and demonstrates how Freud’s painting style has changed and matured over time. The exhibition progresses from his early surrealist painting, to his later brutally realist work, exposing the frailty of his aged body. The style of his portraits is striking and contradictory as Freud resists being exposed and “known”, he hides in his paintings, yet also maintains intrigue as the subject of the portrait. Continue reading Review: Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits @ The Royal Academy of Arts

Review: ‘Inspired By The East: how the Islamic world influenced western art’ @ the British Museum

The exhibition runs at the British Museum until 26 January 2020 (£12 for student concessions).

If you happen to be in London over the Christmas break, I would really recommend making a trip to this exhibition. The exhibition was laid out skilfully as you would expect from the British Museum, yet it is still worth carefully choosing your time to attend. Ideally go early or late so you have a chance to get close to the artefacts and are able to double back and see things in light of later objects. Some of the first things you see are drawings of Ottoman costumes which still have the vivacity of a contemporary sketch by a designer. These drawings work in brilliant concord with the later portraits. These draw on Ottoman models or are drawn from life. One particular portrait which stood out to me was of Sir Robert Sherley, by Anthony van Dyck, which shows an Elizabethan gentleman who was also the envoy to the Papal court for Shah Abbas I of Persia. As such you can see how complex identity can be and how fashion, as a form of art, expresses culture and social affiliations. Continue reading Review: ‘Inspired By The East: how the Islamic world influenced western art’ @ the British Museum

Frost on Film: Le Mans ’66

In some ways James Mangold’s latest directorial outing is a rare breed as we are not often treated to films about racing cars and the drivers inside. Since the release of Rush in 2013, there hasn’t been anything particularly comparable in cinemas, that is, until now. Le Mans ’66 serves almost as the spiritual cousin to Rush, delivering exhilaration, excitement and energy in spades, tracing the story of two men who fought to beat the odds and win an acclaimed international racing marathon. Continue reading Frost on Film: Le Mans ’66