Screening Musidora: Inscribing Indeterminacy in Film History

Screening Musidora: Inscribing Indeterminacy in Film History • Camera Obscura sively to the black-leotard-clad icon of Irma Vep (Musidora’s character from Feuillade’s Les vampires), but also to this quite explicit act of “writing” a life “as good as a novel.” Moreover, this process of “writing” or inscribing is best not read as a linear history. That is to say, it is not simply the case that Musidora becomes a “star” of French cinema and French cultural history because of Les vampires (and then turns to her own independent projects), but rather that the traces of her own authorial marks both pre- and postdate her work with the Feuillade/ Gaumont troupe. Thus, as film historians and film theorists begin to reassemble the narrative(s) of Musidora’s career on the basis of these traces, what we discern about Irma Vep/Musidora takes on a life that rewrites our understanding of the Feuillade serial and is worthy of life in a novel, or perhaps more to the point, in the cinema. More specifically, it is the special relationship between the very openness of the cinematic image, particularly in the silent era, that is represented, or, perhaps more accurately, embodied in Irma Vep’s black bodysuit, and Musidora’s inscription within that openness http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Camera Obscura Duke University Press

Screening Musidora: Inscribing Indeterminacy in Film History

Camera Obscura, Volume 16 (3 48) – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Camera Obscura
ISSN
1529-1510
eISSN
1529-1510
D.O.I.
10.1215/02705346-16-3_48-59
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

• Camera Obscura sively to the black-leotard-clad icon of Irma Vep (Musidora’s character from Feuillade’s Les vampires), but also to this quite explicit act of “writing” a life “as good as a novel.” Moreover, this process of “writing” or inscribing is best not read as a linear history. That is to say, it is not simply the case that Musidora becomes a “star” of French cinema and French cultural history because of Les vampires (and then turns to her own independent projects), but rather that the traces of her own authorial marks both pre- and postdate her work with the Feuillade/ Gaumont troupe. Thus, as film historians and film theorists begin to reassemble the narrative(s) of Musidora’s career on the basis of these traces, what we discern about Irma Vep/Musidora takes on a life that rewrites our understanding of the Feuillade serial and is worthy of life in a novel, or perhaps more to the point, in the cinema. More specifically, it is the special relationship between the very openness of the cinematic image, particularly in the silent era, that is represented, or, perhaps more accurately, embodied in Irma Vep’s black bodysuit, and Musidora’s inscription within that openness

Journal

Camera ObscuraDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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