Rear Window Study Questions
"Rear Window" and "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" Things to ask yourself as you watch the film
Please print these out to bring to class when we screen Rear Window.
1. If the male protagonists controls our viewing experience, then how does the film achieve this? Are there times when we see through eyes other than Jeffries? What does this mean?
2. How can you apply some the conventions of the colonialist gaze, as discussed in the essay, "Surveillance: Under Western Eyes", to your understanding of "Rear Window"? (Such as fragmentation, parataxis, aerial views, centralized power, etc.)
3. Mulvey suggests that in the patriarchal order, "woman" embodies a contradiction: she both represents a sexualized object and also symbolizes lack. (pg. 21). In order for the male to reconcile this he must demystify her, devaluate her, save her, overvalue her (festishize), or distance her (become a voyeur). How do you think this happens or doesn't with Jeffries and Lisa in "Rear Window"?
4. Is there one point in the film in which Jeffries attitude towards Lisa changes, that suddenly he desires her?
5. Do any fetish objects (beside Lisa, perhaps) which appear in the film?
6. On page 19, a writer is quoted as saying that in traditional film, the heroine is important not for what she does, but for what she "provokes" or represents. Her role is to inspire the hero, get him to act, but that she in herself has no importance. Do agree with this as it applies to Lisa?
Reflect on these as you watch the film, making notes as you go. Use them afterwards to organize your throughts on the film for class discussion. You may incorporate them into the writing assignment (see syllabus, assignment #2).