Too Exotic to Enchant? How the Femme Fatale was sent on Retreat


In their latest adaptations of Japanese movies, producers such as Spike Lee, Adam Wingard, and Rupert Sanders all display the femme fatale in relation to the discourse of patriarchy and female empowerment. She is portrayed as a complex figure who is entangled in power, desire, femininity, self-determination, and deception. Ultimately, the femme fatale causes the downfall of the hero. Once dominating countless Japanese productions, this complex figure disappeared in Japanese films from the 1930s until the 1990s and did not yet make a notable return in contemporary cinema. I argue that the decline of the femme-fatale scenario ultimately began in Japanese popular culture and that she was transformed into a western figure in a foreign land where she was sent on retread. In my presentation, I examine the archetype of the modern girl and the Meiji school girl as presented in manga and anime originals and demonstrate how western producers transform them into femmes fatales with potent sexuality and destructive power. The materials to be discussed include Death Note, Ghost in the Shell and Oldboy.

Author Information
Michelle Genck, University of Augsburg, Germany

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2020
Stream: Media Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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