Date of Submission
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
At its core, this is a story of a woman who seeks power in revenge. Adapted from the mythical archetype of Medusa, this film is about one woman’s deadly gaze. Playing with the genre of Giallo, aesthetically and structurally, this film adapts the Italian dramatics of colorful lighting and 70s synth music. I was inspired by Giallo filmmaker Mario Argento and his films Susperia and Inferno. I adapted the use of bright and colorful lighting to create a mystical ethos. By using the genre to reclaim the mythical monster, Medusa’s gaze is the female gaze. This mysterious Medusa travels to an elaborate hotel in the snowy mountains. The men she meets there are victims to her unforgiving stare that freeze them in place. In public, she demands the attention of the room and punishes men by simply looking at her. The demeaning comments and looks from men that women deal with in public spaces is vengefully reason enough for Medusa to lower her sunglasses and turn these men into stone.
Is she reclaiming the male gaze, or is she catering to it? Are these male victims showing their actual attitudes towards women, or is she bringing it out in them? I see the possibility of many interpretations of Medusa and who she is; a hero; a villain; a femme fatale; a victim. Medusa represents men’s fear that a woman can ruin his potential. She illustrates the anger men have towards women and the violence that it manifests every single day. She is fighting against the male gaze and cannot escape it despite her efforts of revenge. When Medusa is dancing in the empty nightclub and expressing her inner self through voice-over, she turns her gaze to the camera and freezes us as the audience. We are not innocent when looking at her, and the camera manifests the same gaze she is trying to rebel from. Medusa was sexually assaulted in Athena’s temple, and her rage turned into a vengeful reclamation of the male gaze. She cannot shake the eyes of her oppressor or the eyes of her abuser, even when she is all alone. We, as an audience, are similarly objectifying her beauty and power for our own entertainment. Medusa’s relationship to the camera and her victims represents the complexity of rejecting the male gaze or reclaiming it through revenge and the difficulties of doing either when the male gaze is internalized. By the end of the film, Medusa freezes the camera, she turns off the music, and finally, she’s free. The camera is gone, and so are the men, and finally, no one is looking at her.
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Gatti, Stella Louise, "Through Her Eyes" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 312.
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