The Dance

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kara B. Still (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Keith Newlin

Abstract: This screenplay, The Dance, tells a story of a woman struggling for a life and love to call her own in a world where so few choices are her own. It is a fictional story based on a factual romance set during World War II. Instead of focusing on the factual romance, the screenplay instead focuses on Maggie Dalton, the woman left behind by the man she loves. This shift in focus is an attempt to shift the cinematic narrative gaze from the predominate male character to the female. In mainstream cinema (i.e. studio produced films which operate under a bureaucracy) women are typically viewed through the male protagonist’s gaze and are thus objectified and sexualized. Film theorists recognize that a shift in this gaze would also shift the way in which the audience views a film and the world. Shifting the narrative focus was my primary concern throughout my screenplay. It was my belief that by using a female cinematic gaze, the focus would remain on Maggie’s struggles as a woman caught in a patriarchal society. Today, women make up at least half of a film’s viewing audience. Hence, mainstream cinema has begun to realize a shift in the narrative gaze will not hamper the audience’s ability to relate to the protagonist. The male narrative gaze was adopted simply because the assumption was that the predominately male audience would better relate to this point of view. However, that is no longer a valid reason for mainstream cinema to still remain patriarchal. Although mainstream cinema has brought about the origin of the female protagonist, she is still typically highly sexualized and objectified, ergo her story often becomes densely intertwined with the stronger, story-telling male character. Mainstream cinema needs to reevaluate the power of the female protagonist and utilize her to tell her own story instead of merely being a story facilitator.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Women in motion pictures
Women in motion pictures

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