The Laura Mulvey Retrospective, which I co-curated with Lara Thomson, included the following films: Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1974, UK); Riddles of the Sphinx (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1977, UK); AMY! (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1980, UK); Crystal Gazing (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1982, UK); Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1982, UK); The Bad Sister (Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1983, UK); Disgraced Monuments (Laura Mulvey and Mark Lewis, 1994, UK), Untitled: Reworked Footage of Marylin Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (2000, UK).
‘Two early film experiences resonate throughout Laura Mulvey's theoretical writings on the cinema. The first moving image she saw was Robert J. Flaherty's 1922 documentary Nanook of the North at the age of five. Fascinated by a single moment from the documentary, Mulvey recalls Nanook struggling with an unseen force under the water, his body inexplicably jerking, before a dead seal is finally hauled out and laid on the ice. The second film, which left a deep impression on her was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's sumptuous, tragic story The Red Shoes (1948). Another single image sequence remained embedded in her memory: as Moira Shearer dances in the emotive 'Ballet of the Red Shoes', a newspaper 'comes alive' and takes on the form of a man so that it might dance with the flame-haired actress in a magical moment of animated automatism. These two short sequences of film history allude to Freud's concept of the uncanny, as well as to the trapped woman and the death-state, encompassing many of the concepts that are present throughout Mulvey's filmmaking and theoretical career.’
From ‘Laura Mulvey’s Curious Gaze’, co-written with Lara Thompson, published in the Festival Catalogue, 2010