Week 5 – Ryan Beggs

This week’s selections focused around the idea of what it means to pass, or to be passing. I found that the first piece by Richard Dyer titled “The Matter of Images” spoke towards the way films can be edited and shaped to elicit a passing attitude or associate characters with specific passing motifs. Dyer states “the final stage of editing is decisive, it does certainly go beyond the invisible joins of standard narrative… In a particular montage, understood not just as editing but as the use of a technique to stress connections between images, is widely used to pull the elements together” (95, 97). I found this interest of editing particularly grappling because in the film Johnny Guitar there are several moments where Joan Crawford’s character is very sharply cut to and depicted in a masculine manner. Aside from that basic editing sense, the utilization of a montage can show much more than a range of quick events. I do have to be honest, the second piece by Joan Mellen titled “Fascism in the Contemporary Film” was quite difficult to follow. I did find it interesting that Mellen was able to connect so many elements of fascist and anti-fascist attitudes to minor plot details in some film scenes. In the final piece by Amy Robinson titled “It Takes One to Know One: Passing and Communities of Common Interest,” the idea of passing is discussed in a bit more depth. Robinson additionally how gender functions in terms of passing, stating “Only intelligible in the evasive terms of gender, sexual preference enters visibility in the form of the pass. In other words, in the absence of sexuality but rather as an occasion for its reinscription as heterosexuality” (Robinson 718). Essentially, this quote discusses the meaning of why often sexuality is assumed. Overall, each of these articles discusses some extremely pertinent information regarding the idea of passing and how an individual functions within that boundary and how individuals function outside.


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