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Thesis Statements My Own Private Idaho
Gus Van Sant’s use of a still life technique to document the sex scenes challenges or defamiliarizes the way sex is typically represented in Hollywood film, ultimately suggesting a challenge to heteronormative modes of representation. Normally, we associate still life with painting and to film people in this manner gives them an in-human, object-like quality. The still life technique is inherently constructivist, emphasizing Van Sant’s critique of essentialist notions of gender and sexuality.
In MOPI, Gus Van Sant humanizes the marginalized lower class while dehumanizing the dominant upper class in order to position the upper class as the abject, questioning its morals and values, ultimately suggesting that maintaining positions of privilege and power requires the loss of expressive freedoms and desires.
Gus Van Sant uses images of dilapidated, empty barns to symbolize the inevitable fruitlessness of Mike’s search for a home. This is significant because the plot of the movie relies on this journey.
In MOPI, Van Sant showcases Mike’s narcolepsy in order to question the lack of control and freedom in relation to his life. The representation of narcolepsy ultimately suggests that the anxiety and stress is a cyclical order in which the act of falling asleep results from stressful situations but also creates more stress upon Mike’s life.
In MOPI, Gus Van Sant showcases Scotty’s decision to embrace a heterosexual life in order to question the privilege this life entails, ultimately suggesting that heterosexuality is a performance one makes in order to belong to the dominant group and reap the benefits of heteronormative power.
In MOPI, Gus Van Sant makes use of the “double protagonist” character dialectic to enforce the boundary that exists between the normative and destitute classes, by functionally alienating one, then the other, through a repositioning of the power of the “narcissist” and “masochist” character.