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Abstract

In his paper, "Underwater Women in Shakespeare Films," Charles Ross looks at the film tradition of representing the social oppression of women by scenes submersion, a trope that has its literary roots in the classics, the French Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the novel. Ross argues that unlike classic directors such as Kurosawa, Kozintsev, and Polanski, modern filmmakers not only like to enhance the female body, but also to draw on this trope as a cinematic shorthand to symbolize the oppression of women by various forces. Hollywood films made in the 1990s often go overboard in their attempts to make women wet in the movies. Jane Campion's The Piano probably influenced Kenneth Branagh and Michael Almereyda, which soak Ophelia perhaps more than is necessary. Despite pandering to his audience, Baz Luhrmann obtains some significant effects by putting both Romeo and Juliet underwater, while Julie Taymor's Titus also uses and overcomes the convention.

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