Portraying Masculinity Through the Lens of Two Cinematographers

Examinations of masculinity are most interesting when viewed either through the female or gay male gaze as we have seen so little of this perspective in the context of the history of cinema. When women do get the opportunity to direct, they frequently, and completely understandably, focus on female protagonists, personal themes and coming-of-age stories. However, when they do turn their lens on a male protagonist, fresh insights can be brought and new truths revealed, through the objectivity of an ‘outsider.’

In Beach Rats (2017), director Eliza Hittman and cinematographer Helene Louvart closely follow Frankie (Harris Dickinson), a young man from Brooklyn who is wrestling with his sexuality. In Lazzaro Felice (2018), director Alice Rohrwacher and cinematographer Louvart (again) tell the story of gentle tobacco farmer Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) in two halves; one in the summery, rural setting of the farm in Italy and then secondly in the cold city. The secondary character of the Marquise’s son, Tancredi provides a counterpoint to Lazzaro’s highly unusual brand of masculinity.

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