Literature & Film

All Articles

Can Women be Doctors?: Regenerating Doctor Who

Here is an anecdote from a friend: My sister, who is now actually a practicing doctor, when asked around the age of six by my dad what she wanted to be when she grew up said she wanted to be a nurse. When dad responded by asking why she didn’t want to be a doctor she said, “can women be doctors?” Representation is not isolated to our screens. It trickles down to infiltrate real people, real decisions, and real aspirations. Decisions made about a fantasy universe with endless realities both can and do matter to our here and now....

read more

The Pick of Online Film: ‘It Follows’

There’s a theory in horror film circles that there’s two types of fear: horror-fear and terror-fear. Horror-fear is confining it traps us within our own psyches thus making us yearn for reassuring safety of companions. The process of thinking goes, “if I just have another person with me I’ll be safe”. Think of slasher films like Halloween (1978) or the machinations of the Saw series; these are the types of movies you watch with your buddies, the social aspect of feeling fear together comforts you all. The other type of fear is terror-fear....

read more

She-Hulk: Marvel’s Wonder Woman

As Wonder Woman lasso-of-truthed into theaters on June 2nd, film and comic geeks alike waited with bated breath. Not since the abysmally conceived Catwoman in 2004 had the silver screen been alight with a super heroine of such ready household recognisability and, needless to say, there was a lot resting on the Amazon’s sculpted shoulders. Fortunately, the reviews were sparkling and audiences came out in droves, resulting in a $223 million worldwide opening which is, as stated by Forbes: “an all-time record for a female director and the...

read more

The Pick of Online Film: XX

The horror genre often serves as a crucible for the film industry; countless directors, writers and actors found their start in the proving ground of the thriller. And so it seems especially poignant to note that, at the feet of Wonder Woman’s continued worldwide dominance, some of the horror genre’s most effective, fresh ideas over the past few years have come from the minds of female directors. One only has to look back to Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, (which has previously featured in culturised’s Pick of Online Film series) and Ana Lily...

read more

She’s Got the Power: Naomi Alderman’s ‘The Power’ and Empowerment Feminism

The Power – winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and critically lauded as The Handmaid’s Tale for the millennial generation – is a dystopian novel that imagines a world where women, particularly young girls, develop an electrical power that has the ability to maim, heal, or kill. Our contemporary social structure, the patriarchy, founded on the idea that men are physically stronger than women and thus the dominant sex, is inverted as women become physically more capable than men and gender roles become reversed. Like Charlotte...

read more

Four Alpha Males: A Different Take on Masculinity in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Dictionary definitions of masculinity circle around having qualities or appearances traditionally associated with men, especially strength and aggressiveness. However, when it is applied to the male characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice this definition appears insufficient, or at least somewhat wide of the mark in understanding the actions of the novel’s male characters. Jane Austen places heavy emphasis on gender roles, but in her novels masculinity is defined by the relationship between men and women; the author avoids defining...

read more

Poetry, Plagiarism, and a Polemical Poe: The Longfellow War of 1845

According to Oscar Wilde’s account of his 1882 visit to Craigie House, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s longtime residence in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wilde’s American host admitted sometimes waking up in the night. His thoughts would go back to when he met Queen Victoria thirteen years earlier: “Oh, I assure you, Mr. Longfellow, you are very well known”, the Widow at Windsor apparently told him, “All my servants read you.” He could apparently never tell whether or not this was a slight.[1] But the Queen...

read more

Highlights from The Edinburgh International Film Festival

In its seventy-first iteration this year, the Edinburgh International Film Festival strived to attract interested parties into its embrace with as diverse and comprehensive a selection of cinema as possible. Originally starting in in 1947, this gathering in Scotland’s capital is the longest continually-running film festival in the world, and it has lost none of its luster or charm over the years. This year, there was a distinct feeling of openness that accompanied the festival, bringing films of all sizes, scales, and stakes. Friendliness was...

read more

Game of Thrones: The High Septon and the Franciscan Ascetic

“He took off the shoes from his feet, put down the staff from his hands, and, satisfied with one tunic, exchanged his leather belt for a cord.”[1] “[His] beard was grey and brown and closely trimmed, his hair tied in a hard knot behind his head. Though his robes were clean, they were frayed and patched as well… [his feet were] thick with callus.”[2]   A description of the High Sparrow, leader of the religious order the “Faith of the Seven”, from Game of Thrones? Or of thirteenth-century mendicant St Francis of...

read more

Screening ‘Julius Caesar’: In Conversation with Phyllida Lloyd

Phyllida Lloyd has recently conducted a revolutionary experiment with Shakespeare. Billed as the “Shakespeare Trilogy”, Lloyd has taken Julius Caesar, Henry IV, and The Tempest and spun them with a diverse, all-female cast (starring Harriet Walter) in a bid to address issues relating to the representation of women in the theatre. More than this, in these productions the cast assume the roles of female prisoners staging the plays within the walls of an institution; Lloyd uses this added layer in order to explore wider structural societal...

read more