Twelve Characters in Search of a Televisual Text: Magnolia Masquerading as Soap Opera
Paul Thomas Anderson's film Magnolia (1999) is striking for its implications of gender address and enunciation. Somewhat akin to Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author--which displaces "fictional characters" into the "real" world--Magnolia displaces film narrative to television text and shifts from the normative masculine viewing position to a feminine one. Magnolia is symptomatic of a crisis in masculinity and interrogates cultural texts such as cop shows, quiz shows, and infomercials. Read as soap opera, Magnolia is a subversive cultural product, an indictment of paradigms of male hegemony and power, and a critique of the media systems of film and television.
Journal Of Popular Film And Television
pre-print, post-print with 18-month embargo
Dillman, Joanne Clarke, "Twelve Characters in Search of a Televisual Text: Magnolia Masquerading as Soap Opera" (2005). SIAS Faculty Publications. 125.