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Femme Fatale (2002)

Femme Fatale (2002)

(p.257) Chapter 26 Femme Fatale (2002)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen
Douglas Keesey
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses female strength and solidarity in Femme Fatale (2002). Following the opening sequence's detour from the male-defined heist genre, the remainder of the film considers the question of whether or not the lead character Laure (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) will depart from her predetermined role as a femme fatale in a typical film noir. The femme fatale is sometimes known as a phallic woman because she appropriates emblems of male power. And the film shows that while the men are busy fighting to maintain possession—or to deprive each other—of their tokens of power, the women unite and secretly turn the male forces to their own advantage. The chapter embarks on a character study of Laure in a world shaped by the dichotomies of male aggression and female alliance, turning to the women in De Palma's own life who might have inspired the characters of Femme Fatale.

Keywords:   Femme Fatale, film noir, male power, male aggression, female solidarity, female alliance, female connectedness, phallic woman

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