A tango with the camera: Sally Potter in the director's seat and on stage
AuthorZeleike, Jesseka Zulke
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation looks at Sally Potter's career by focusing upon the ways in which her directorial style has been influenced by her performance and dance background. Chapter 1 provides the reader with an introduction to Potter's major film work, the motivation for undertaking this study, and ends with an overview of Potter's early film work through Combines (1972). Chapter 2 takes up the issues of auteurism, essentialism, and genre, in an attempt to create a strategy for writing a major study of an individual filmmaker at this critical juncture in film/feminist/cultural studies. This study of Potter draws out a discernible sense of style in relation to a corresponding body of social and artistic concerns that shape Potter's work from her early experimental films through her feature films in the 1990S. Chapter 3 covers the years between 1972-1979, during which Potter performed in a variety of situations and groups around Europe. These years also provided her formative experiences in feminist groups and with early feminist film theory. In 1979 Potter returned to filmmaking and made Thriller, a remaking of the opera, La Boheme. Thriller is both a reflection of 1970s feminist thought and the precursor to feminist film theory in the 1980s and 1990s. Chapter 4 and 5 are dedicated to Potter's most recent film, The Tango Lesson (1997). Chapter 4 focuses on The Tango Lesson as a musical and explores the genre from various angles, including women making musicals, and the theme of Jewishness in Potter's exploration of the tango. Chapter 5 elaborates on the history of tango and its marketability as the exotic, and compares Potter's film, in which Pablo Veron choreographs a menage-a-quatre to Piazzolla's "Libertango," and Matthew Diamond's documentary on Paul Taylor in which Taylor choreographs a performance to Piazzolla's "Caldera." This discussion ends with a look at The Tango Lesson and Jutta Bruckner's Ein Blick und die Liebe bricht aus (One Glance and Love Breaks Out, 1985). I also place Potter's work with the tango in history of women filmmakers like Leni Riefenstahl and Maya Deren, who were also dancers and explored the exotic on film.
Degree ProgramGraduate College