Female Perversions  

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"The perversity of woman!" thought Julien. "What pleasure, what instinct leads them to betray us?" --Chapter 21 in The Red and the Black

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Female Perversions is a 1996 drama film, the first feature directed by Susan Streitfeld, which stars Tilda Swinton, Amy Madigan, Karen Sillas, Frances Fisher, Paulina Porizkova and Clancy Brown. It draws on insights from the 1991 book Female Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary by the New York psychoanalyst Louise J. Kaplan. Aspects of female psychology, particularly the more morbid, are explored through the interactions of the characters and through their fantasies.

Plot

Eve Stephens, a successful trial attorney in Los Angeles, is close to the high point of her career, which is being appointed as a judge. Her private life is less successful, however. She has occasional intense sex, sometimes with a male geologist John and sometimes with a female psychiatrist Renee, but the relationships lack warmth or commitment on her part. She is troubled by erotic nightmares and by flashbacks to the lives of her parents, centring on her unfeeling father and the suspicious death of her mother.

Both her professional and personal lives start unravelling when her intelligent but disturbed sister Maddie, who lives in a desert cabin, is arrested for repeated shoplifting. In the end, the two sisters begin to recognise the malign influence of their parents on their lives and the unsatisfactory responses they unconsciously adopted, one seeking compensation in stealing and the other in sex.

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Female Perversions" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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