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Writer of the influential Visual Pleasure and Narrative in the Cinema, and a key figure in feminist theory, especially in the area of film, Laura Mulvey was born in Oxford, England in 1941. She studied history at St. Hilda's, Oxford University, and became known to the circles of film theory in the early 1970's, writing articles for magazines like Spare Rib and Seven Days. Her ideas are often heavily Marxist in nature.

In 1975, Mulvey published Visual Pleasure and Narrative in the Cinema, an essay in which she uses psychoanalysis to attack the phallocentrism of popular cinema. In VPNC, Mulvey combines Freudian theory and the writings of Jacques Lacan with examples from Alfred Hitchcock, Josef von Sternberg, and others, to discuss the idea of woman as the object of the male gaze in cinema, and the passivity of females therein. For a more in-depth examination of this work, refer to the writeup by Indra363. Following criticisms of VPNC that Mulvey herself admitted were valid, she wrote "Afterthoughts on 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative in the Cinema' Inspired by King Vidor's Duel in the Sun."

Between 1974 and 1982, Mulvey and her husband Peter Wollen (currently chair of the film department at UCLA) wrote and directed six films, Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), AMY! (1980), Crystal Gazing (1982), Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982), and The Bad Sister (1982). All six films explored aspects of feminism, most especially the idea of objectification of the feminine in cinema. They are intelligent and challenging, but tend to be rather ploddingly slow, suggestive of Mulvey's idea of the "Destruction of Pleasure."

In 1991, Mulvey produced and directed Disgraced Monuments, a solo work dealing with the various fates of several pieces of propaganda art from Communist Russia following the fall of communism there.

Mulvey is presently a film professor at Birkbeck College, University of London.

"Laura Mulvey." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Vincent B. Leitch, ed. 2001. pp. 2179-81.

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