Resistant motherhood

In the 1977 film Riddles of the Sphinx, Laura Mulvey explains that the ‘Oedipus myth associates the voice of the Sphinx with motherhood as mystery and with resistance to patriarchy’. With a metaphoric connection in the Sphinx’s riddle and resistant motherhood, Mulvey and Wollen explore the film’s themes through everyday depictions played by actors. The scenes are bookended with an opening and close in which Mulvey speaks directly to the camera, suggesting the ultimate dilemma to with ‘motherhood and how to live it, or not to live it’.


With the aim of developing our understanding of motherhood, this blog post shares an interview between Mulvey and Griselda Pollock from 2010. The interview adds critical perspective to BIMI’s upcoming screening of Riddles of the Sphinx on Friday 22nd March, which explores issues of female representation and mother-child relations in society.

Laura Mulvey in conversation with Griselda Pollock, published in Studies in the Maternal:
https://www.mamsie.bbk.ac.uk/articles/abstract/10.16995/sim.101/

Laura Mulvey’s ‘The Oedipus Myth: Beyond the Riddles of the Sphinx’
https://public.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/public/article/view/29783/27367

Leila Nassereldein

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