Advertisement

Queering the Biopic? Milk (2008) and the Biographic Real

  • Isabelle Van Peteghem-Tréard
Chapter

Abstract

Gus Van Sant’s biographical movie Milk raises several questions that are typical of the biopic genre itself, the issue of truthfulness, respect, representation, legacy, and bias. But it also fueled controversy as to the treatment of the queer issue which was considered as far too mainstream by some critics. The mixed feelings come indeed from the tension between exploring a popular genre and representing the queer issue in a transgressive creation both in form and content. This article therefore focuses on Milk’s compliance with the generic frame of the biopic. It also explores the political and poetical Real of the movie Milk and the difficult process of sublimation of history and legacy in a creative process.

Works Cited

  1. Adorno, Theodor. Aesthetic Theory, trans. C. Lenhardt. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984.Google Scholar
  2. Als, Hilton. “Revolutionary Road.” The New York Times, N.p., March 12, 2009. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/mar/12/revolutionary-road/. Accessed on June 18, 2017.
  3. Anderson, C. and J. Lupo. “Hollywood Lives: The State of the Biopic at the Turn of the Century.” In S. Neale (ed.), Genre and Contemporary Hollywood. London: British Film Institute, 2002, 99–104.Google Scholar
  4. Anderson, C. and J. Lupo. “Off-Hollywood Lives: Irony and Its Discontents in the Contemporary Biopic.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, vol. 36, no. 2 (2008): 102–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benshoff, Harry M. “Milk and Gay Political History.” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, vol. 51 (2009). http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/jc51.2009/Milk/index.html. Accessed on June 19, 2017.
  6. Bingham, Denis. Whose Lives Are They Anyway? The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  7. Bowen, Peter. “Mighty Real: Gus Van Sant on Milk.” Filminfocus.com, November 12, 2008. http://www.focusfeatures.com/article/mighty_real_gus_van_sant_on_milk?film=milk. Accessed on June 17, 2017.
  8. Bruzzi, Stella. Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies. London: Routledge, 1997.Google Scholar
  9. Custen, George Frederick. Bio/Pics: How Hollywood Constructed Public History. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  10. Farr, Hannah Mary. Mapping Contemporary Cinema. Queen Mary: University of London, 2011. http://www.mcc.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/?p=1396. Accessed on June 18, 2017.
  11. Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire XX—Encore. Paris: Seuil, 1975.Google Scholar
  12. Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre VII. L’éthique de la psychanalyse. Paris: Seuil, 1986.Google Scholar
  13. Lacan, Jacques. (1959–1960) The Seminar of Jacques Lacan—Book 7, Ethics of Psychoanalysis, trans. and ed. J.-A. Miller. London: Routledge, 1992.Google Scholar
  14. Lacan, Jacques. Séminaire XVI—D’un Autre à l’autre. Paris: Seuil, 2006.Google Scholar
  15. Miller, J.-A. “Dossier Suture: Suture (Elements of the Logic of the Signifier).” Screen, vol. 18, no. 4 (1977): 24–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Extimité.” In Mark Bracher, M.W. Alcorn, R.J. Corthell, and F. Massardier-Kenney (eds.), Lacanian Theory of Discourse: Subject, Structure, and Society. New York: New York University Press, 1994, 74–87.Google Scholar
  17. Nicoletta, Danny. “Milk.” Set Decor, Winter, 2008/2009. http://dannynicoletta.com/pdfs/nicoletta_setdecor_milk.pdf, accessed on June 10, 2017.
  18. Rose, Jennie. “The Last Refuge of Democracy: A Talk with B. Ruby Rich.” GreenCine.com, May 7, 2004. http://www.greencine.com/article?action=view&articleID=119. Accessed on June 12, 2017.
  19. Setoodeh, Ramin. “The Death of the Biopic.” Newsweek, N.p., February 2, 2010. http://www.newsweek.com/death-biopic-75249. Accessed on June 10, 2017.
  20. Simpson, Mark. “There’s Just One Problem with Milk: It Castrates Its Hero.” The Guardian, N.p., January 28, 2008. http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2009/jan/28/milk-gus-van-sant-sean-penn. Accessed on June 15, 2017.
  21. Tarkovsky, Andrei. Sculpting in Time. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  22. Virilio, Paul. War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception. London and New York: Verso, 1989.Google Scholar
  23. Wood, Michael. “At the Movies.” London Review of Books, June 2008. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n01/michael-wood/at-the-movies. Accessed on June 15, 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Van Peteghem-Tréard
    • 1
  1. 1.CinéSupNantesFrance

Personalised recommendations