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Men's Cinema

Masculinity and Mise-en-Scene in Hollywood

Stella Bruzzi

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The first full length study of masculinity and film style

Men’s Cinema offers a fresh theorisation of men in Hollywood cinema via a theoretical discussion of definitions of masculinity and the close textual analysis of classic and contemporary films. Through an examination of mise-en-scène, Men’s Cinema moves beyond discussions of representation and narrative to an exploration of the physical or instinctive effects of cinema and how we are invited to engage with, desire or identify with Hollywood's vision of men and masculinity. By delineating how Hollywood has built up and refined the language of men's cinema through a series of recurrent, refined tropes, this book critically explores masculinity and the concept of a male aesthetic within film.

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About the Author

Stella Bruzzi is a Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick and Fellow of the British Academy


'Stella Bruzzi’s new book makes a welcome intervention in the fields of film and gender studies. Skillfully building upon classic works on the construction of male identity on screen, she nevertheless provides a completely new focus on the topic, offering a valuable addition to existing scholarship on this most crucial issue.'
- Elisabetta Girelli, University of St Andrews, Scottish Journal of Performance , Volume 1, Issue 2

'This book is unique in its portrayal of masculinity in film by not only focusing on the construction of masculinity in film, but also by addressing the mise-en-scène in films that depict male characters. The text’s strengths are in its strong theoretical analysis, the concrete examples of scenes from a variety of different films and time periods, and the discussions of the stylistic approaches different filmmakers have used to portray the male aesthetic. The interdisciplinary nature of Bruzzi’s book makes it suitable for many social science disciplines, including gender and sexuality, media studies, sociology, cultural studies, and masculinity.'

- Heather R. Rodriguez, Central Connecticut State University, The Journal of Popular Culture

'Bruzzi deftly interweaves sociological and psychoanalytic theories of gender, desire and identification with vivid close readings of the aesthetic tropes and stylistic effects that define male-centred genre films to evaluate how images of masculinity are conveyed in classic and contemporary cinema… This is a lucid, highly enjoyable book that will undoubtedly stimulate further interesting research on the relationship between gender, aesthetics and spectatorship.'

- Ian Murphy, University College Cork, Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media

This book has an enormously attractive drive and fluency, carrying through a ground-breaking intervention in debates about basic gendering issues through a new kind of close attention to issues of aesthetics and mise-en-scene. The great thing is the way the prose itself operates in comparable ways to the ‘men’s cinema’ forms of mise-en-scene that are being identified and analysed.

- Charles Barr, Professorial Research Fellow, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham

Men's Cinema looks at familiar movies in surprising new ways. By paying close attention both to gender theory and to intricacies of film form, Stella Bruzzi shows us that male-centered films, from The Wild Bunch to Inception, provide more nuanced, and less oppressive, images of masculinity than is commonly suspected.

- Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, Michigan

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