Feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey is known for her critique of gendered relationships in film and her interest in creating new, different kinds of cinematic pleasure. This film, one of the most important films to emerge from the 1970s, seeks in its combination of theoretical principles and formal innovation to construct a gender neutral film language. It tells the story of a mother/child relationship in the context of Oedipus' encounter with the Sphinx. Louise is a middle class woman with a four year-old daughter Ana. The main narrative portion of the film follows their everyday life as Louise struggles with to raise Ana in a patriarchal society. Their commonplace tale is interwoven with sequences that dramatize Oedipus' psychological battle with the terror of Thebes. Oedipus struggles to answer the Sphinx's riddle as Louise and Ana struggle to answer each others emotional needs and to lead a happy life.
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