ABSTRACT

Yvonne Rainer's engagement with feminist film theory in her 1985 film The Man Who Envied Women illuminates several possibilities and limitations within that body of work. Rainer takes the critical work of Laura Mulvey and Ann Kaplan to its logical conclusion: if the male gaze is an integral structure of cinematic desire, so integral that it is inscribed by everything from camera position to narrative structure, what happens when the usual object of that gaze, the heroine, is denied a visual presence within the film? By creating a two-hour film in which the female protagonist is not imaged, Rainer's film sets up the possibility of a different kind of relation between filmic protagonist and filmic spectator. 1