Our homes, our selves: The house in American film

By Paul Weideman
Santa Fe New Mexican

Spectacle of Property (John David Rhodes)“The detached, single-family home is one of the most powerful metonymic signifiers of American cultural life — of the dreams of privacy, enclosure, freedom, autonomy, independence, stability, and prosperity that animate national life in the United States,” writes John David Rhodes in his introduction to Spectacle of Property: The House in American Film. The new book from University of Minnesota Press details how we enjoy viewing private property in the movies — that in buying a movie ticket, “spectator-tenants pay for the right to occupy a space in order to gaze up at a space they can never occupy.” Rhodes examines the ways in which gender, race, security, isolation, and issues of property and ownership are treated in cinematic portrayals of the house. A Louisiana native, the author teaches at the University of Cambridge, where he is director of the Centre for Film and Screen. 

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