Ecofilm Theory : Towards an Ecofeminist Film Study: Nature, Gender and Nation in Lemon Tree

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Published on April 5, 2014

Author: sherrykmathews

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Towards an Ecofeminist Film Study: Nature, Gender and Nation in Lemon Tree

Sherry Mathews Guest Lecturer Department of English St: Mary’s College Manarcad Towards an Ecofeminist Film Study: Nature, Gender and Nation in Lemon Tree

Ecology/Eco-politics ‘ a set of beliefs and a concomitant life style that stress the importance of respect for the earth and all its inhabitants , using only what are necessary and appropriate ,acknowledged the rights of all forms of life and recognizing that all that exists is part of one interconnected whole’ - John Button Dictionary of Green Terms. London: Routledge.

 ‘the study of biological themes and relationships which appears in literary works. It is simultaneously an attempt to discover what roles have been played by literature in the ecology of human species’ Joseph W Meeker The Comedy of Survival; Studies in Literary Ecology (New York; Scribner’s , 1972)

 Ruckert advocated that ‘reading teaching and critical discourse – all release the energy and power stored in poetry that it may flow through the human community’  Ecofilm theory is in a way an extended application of Ruckert’s “Poems as green plants” vision to films, considering films as a creative force/ source that can release an eco- aesthetic decorum among spectators. 

Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt ed. Ecocinema Theory and Practice. NY: Routledge, 2013.

 All films are unequivocally, culturally and materially embedded.  Ecofilm theory analyses how this world is reflected/recreated and imagined in film.  “Though many films are predictably bound to common ideologies of nature, many are far richer in contradictions and more ethically, emotionally and intellectually satisfying than much of what passes of eco-politics” - Sean Cubitt

 Address itself to the growing canon of ecofilms and documentaries, which are made as a self- conscious reaction to environmental issues and critical discourses related to ecology.  A prodigious task of making an atavistic journey through all the existing films and analysis it through the ecofilms’ theoretical terms.

 “practically everybody knows that today the two most immediate threats to survival are overpopulation and the destruction of our resources ; fewer recognizes the complete responsibility of the male system, in so far as it is male (and not capitalistic or socialistic ) in these two dangers; but even fewer still have discovered that each of the two threats is the logical outcome of one of the two parallel discoveries which gave men their power over fifty centuries ago; their ability to plant the seed in the earth as in women , and their participation in the act of reproduction” - Francoise d’Eaubonne

Salma Zidane (Hiam Abbass) Abu Hussam (Tarik Copti) Ali Sulaimani(Ziad Daud)

Sigi Navon(Hili Yalan) Defense Minister Israel Navon(Doron Tavory)

“…..In order to give sufficient response to the security demands, we decided it would be suffice to prune, (not uproot), fifty percent of these trees to 30 cms….This would allow a clear view into the grove neighbouring with the defense minister’s house….[in] the event that having taken the above action the respondent will conclude that , security demands are not being met all the full measure, that is , uprooting of the tree is required”.

 Feminist first investigated women from a sociological perspective considering – ‘woman’ in film as a reflection of woman in ‘nature’.  The images in film appear coded and social/gender construct with male lineage. This disguised and displaced images need to be decoded(Claire Johnston , Women cinema as counter-cinema).

 Cinema is created fully under ‘male gaze’. In such representations women takes the role of a ‘spectacle ’ – as an object of desire .Structured in such a way , main stream films , under ’male gaze’, female becomes an object for male fantasies and pleasure.

 Mulvey traces “’three looks”: (i) How the male characters on screen look /perceive the female characters (ii) perspective of the male spectator , of female characters on screen (iii) the third look joins together the previous two looks . The male audience of the film identifies himself with the male character. This leads to; male audiences consider the female character as his own object of pleasure. (The visual pleasure and narrative cinema’ (1975) : Laura Mulvey )

 In an ecofeministic film the audience as a whole should be led through a two stage of self identification, thus creating an ‘eco-gaze’ and ‘Ecofeminist gaze’ .  One, the entire spectator should identify with the female character who considers nature as solace. This is essence of an ‘eco-gaze’.  Every woman’s identification with Salma. Salma’s relentless fight for protecting her Lemon Grove is every woman’s struggle to create a room/garden of one’s own, not only for an aesthetic expressions but also to maintain her umbilical relation with mother earth and financial independence.

 “When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an axe to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?”Deuteronomy 20:19, (New International Version).

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