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Performing Ethics Through Film StyleLevinas with the Dardenne Brothers, Barbet Schroeder and Paul Schrader$
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Edward Lamberti

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444002

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444002.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

American Gigolo and the Ethics of Falling in Love

American Gigolo and the Ethics of Falling in Love

Chapter:
(p.151) Chapter 7 American Gigolo and the Ethics of Falling in Love
Source:
Performing Ethics Through Film Style
Author(s):

Edward Lamberti

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444002.003.0011

Chapter 7 analyses American Gigolo (1980), Paul Schrader’s third film as a director, following on from Blue Collar (1978) and Hardcore (1979). In comparison with the styles of Blue Collar and Hardcore, American Gigolo, a romantic thriller focusing on the high-class gigolo Julian Kaye (Richard Gere), is stylistically ostentatious, positively exploding with flourishes such as elaborate camera movements, expressive lighting, abundant use of music and striking use of colour, all of which would come to recur throughout Schrader’s work, frequently in the 1980s and periodically thereafter. Drawing on Schrader’s own theoretical work on transcendental style, the chapter shows how analysing the film style of American Gigolo from a Levinasian perspective reveals the ethical drive of Julian’s relationship with his clients, before reflecting on what he gains ethically and what he loses ethically when he turns away from those clients towards a developing love affair with one particular person.

Keywords:   Paul Schrader, American Gigolo, Film style, Emmanuel Levinas, Richard Gere, Ethics, Transcendental style

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