Abstract

Abstract:

This article explores the convergence of masculinity and foreignness in Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann (2016) and Valeska Grisebach’s Western (2017). Identifying a growing focus on masculinity in recent works by women directors around the world, I argue that both films express an urgent need in feminist film culture to understand and challenge patriarchal oppression as necessarily connected to other forms of social hierarchy based on difference. Engaging with Luce Irigaray’s ethics of difference and her theory of wonder, I view these films as feminist efforts to go beyond solely exposing hegemonic masculinities in order to denaturalize gendered subjectivity primarily through the experience of foreignness. Wonder, I suggest, is not only the ethical or relational basis through which Ade and Grisebach articulate and denaturalize hegemonic masculinities, but also the basis on which the protagonists engage with alterity (including their own) in these films.

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