Video Essay for 938. Dames (1934, Ray Enright and Busby Berkeley)

Special thanks to Filmbrain for his feedback, and for pointing out that the bit that starts at 1:50 is as much a “birthing” as an assembly line – which makes an interesting dovetail with the “fertilization” bit that follows.

Video essay:

View the original sequence:

Author: alsolikelife

This is my pet project

  • phyrephox

    Amazing! I love the direction you’ve taken with this essay. The slo-mo finger wagging at “anarchistic revolt” at 4:26 is particularly clever and funny. Not sure I agree with you about the first penetration motif, nor that the second is necessarily pornography, but they are points worth making.

  • alsolikelife

    Hey DK – curious, did you discontinue your rss feed? you’re no longer showing up on Google Reader.

    As for this, I am not fully satisfied with the precision of my words. After spending hours on the last two I wanted this one to be a bit breezier. It’s dangerous to toss in a word like pornography like the way I did without a further reflection on just what that means. But I hope there’s at least an overall impression of a kind pornography going on in this sequence with its automated body movements and materialist/commodity view of women. (Not that that’s bad per se – it’s what made America what it is today. God Bless America!)

    but how can you not see the first penetration motif as, well, a penetration motif? It’s practically a six-foot vaginal canal made of women for the camera-phallus to slide through!!!

  • Daniel

    Hmm I’m not sure if the RSS feed on my site is broken or what, I’ll look into it.

    I generally am a bit suspect of most camera anthropomorphications, and I think this scene is just too abstract to literally convey this idea. A shape turns into a diamond which very subtly turns out to be made of women, the camera pushes down this diamond tunnel as it rotates. One would have to step out of the film to imagine the camera as a pole or phallus, as traveling through a tunnel, even a tunnel made of women, doesn’t suggest penetration in the same way the second clip does, with the camera pushing into the girls’ spread legs. Again, I think it is a valid point to make but I would quibble that it is not an accurate interpretation, instead it is a valuable suggestion.

  • Expat Philippines

    Uh oh, the video has been removed for violating terms of use….

  • ABIBA99967052

    Woow This is best blog i have read on the tpoic

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  • Free Gifts

    Made a Shortcut into my N8.