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Public Places, Private Thoughts
Nicky Hamlyn
Public Places, Private Thoughts
In contrast to Swann's autobiographical approach, Ruth Novaczek's Series 1 Part 2 reconstructs the mythic West in pictures and dialogue taken from Nicholas Ray's "feminist" Western Johnny Guitar (1954), fragments of which are mediated by a process of repetition and intercutting with more personal material.

The key image of Johnny, riding with a guitar in place of a rifle, and the voice over of Joan Crawford's masculine character Vienna declaring her love for him, together encapsulate the film's key themes of role reversal and outsider status. The playful disruptiveness of the film's genre manipulations is fitted within Novaczek's wider exploration of the disruptive power of gender blurring and sexual ambiguity.

Still from Series 1 Part 2 by Ruth Novaczek, 1999/2000
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