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The Silence of the Lambsby Yvonne Tasker
Synopses & Reviews
Released in 1990, The Silence of the Lambs is one of the defining films of recent American cinema. Adapted from the Thomas Harris novel and directed by Jonathan Demme, its central characters, Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, have become contemporary icons. Jodie Foster is Starling, a rookie FBI agent on the trail of "Buffalo Bill," a serial killer who flays his victims. Anthony Hopkins is Lecter, the psychopathic former psychiatrist whom Starling consults about Bill's identity.
With its pairing of a perverse, invasive anti-hero and a questing, self-searching heroine, The Silence of the Lambs is a narrative of pursuit at several levels. In this study Yvonne Tasker explores the way the film weaves together gothic, horror and thriller conventions to generate both a distinctive variation on the cinematic portrayal of insanity and crime, and a fascinating intervention in the sexual politics of genre. She identifies the film as a key reference-point for tracking the '90s obsession with police procedure and serial killing, analysing its key themes of reason and madness, identity and belonging, aspiration and transformation.
"Erudite, concise, exhaustively researched and thoroughly illuminating, I read it in one sitting and was imediately covercome by a compulsion to view the film again." kamera.co.uk
"Tasker has produced an admirable work, one that displays rigor of argument without the bane of cumbersome jargon." Medienwissenschaft
In this study, Yvonne Tasker explores the way the film weaves together gothic, horror and thriller conventions to generate both a distinctive variation on the cinematic portrayal of insanity and crime, and a fascinating intervention in the sexual politics of genre.
About the Author
Yvonne Tasker is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of East Anglia. She is the author of Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema (1998) and Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema (1983).
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