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The Camera and the Speculum: David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers

Marcie Frank
PMLA
Vol. 106, No. 3 (May, 1991), pp. 459-470
DOI: 10.2307/462779
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462779
Page Count: 12
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The Camera and the Speculum: David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers
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Abstract

Feminist film theory sees the instruments of both gynecology and filmmaking as tools for examining women; this equation is made in a different register by David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, a film that subordinates the examination of women to the relationship between twin brothers who are gynecologists. Dead Ringers imagines that the camera and the speculum extend each other's province, thus drawing our attention to the way women are figured in the film even when they do not appear. Cronenberg also uses the camera, however, to establish identities where they do not otherwise exist. His film therefore occasions questions about the analogous status that film theory has given to its various analytical devices. By making us ask about the similarities and differences between the functions of the camera and those of the speculum in investigation and representation, Dead Ringers interrogates the ways feminist film theory can integrate psychoanalysis.

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