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Riddles of the Sphinx U rating

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s visually accomplished and intellectually rigorous film is one of the most important avant-garde films of the 1970s.

Drama 1977 87 mins

Director: Laura Mulvey

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Overview

Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s visually accomplished and intellectually rigorous Riddles of the Sphinx is one of the most important avant-garde films to have emerged from Britain during the 1970s. The second collaboration between Mulvey and Wollen, both of whom are recognised as seminal figures in the field of film theory, Riddles of the Sphinx explores issues of female representation, the place of motherhood within society and the relationship between mother and daughter.

Composed of a number of discrete sections, many of which are shot as continuous circular pans, the film takes place in a range of domestic and public spaces, shot in locations which include Malcolm LeGrice’s kitchen and Stephen Dwoskin’s bedroom. The film’s ground-breaking electronic score, by The Soft Machine’s Mike Ratledge, was composed on synthesisers which were developed in collaboration with Denys Irving (the man behind the mysterious and controversial 1970s band Lucifer).

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