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VIRTUE AND VICE ON 65TH STREET

The notions of vice and virtue, as defined within patriarchy, function as traditional motifs throughout the history of film production. This duality is most apparent when characters emerge from opposing corners—cowboys and Indians—but the incorporation of stereotypical dualities within a single character engages more ambitious complexities, especially when that character is a woman. For while a man’s fall from grace can prefigure a broad field of possible transgressions, the woman’s temptations are inevitably linked to her sex and how she wears it.

This good/bad motif was entertained by a number of films in this year’s New York Film Festival Michaelangelo Antonioni’s Identificazione di una Donna (Identification of a Woman) pictures a man obsessively riveted by what he sees as the moral mutability of “the fair sex,” while Cecil B. DeMille’s Madam Satan foregrounds its heroine’s appropriation

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