Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema is an essay written by Laura Mulvey in 1973 and published in 1975 in the highly acclaimed British film theory journal Screen and later in multiple other collections and anthologies. Laura Mulvey is a British film theorist as well as a feminist, and is currently a professor of film studies at the University of London.
Mukvey's work is heavily influenced by the theories of Freud and Lacan, thereby influencing the perspective of film theory towards a more psychoanalytic framework. Her scholarship was the first to mesh together the three concepts of film theory, psychoanalysis, and feminism. In fact, her essay uses Freud and Lacan’s concepts as “political weapons.” She also to argue that the classical Hollywood cinema assumes that the viewer is masculine, matching up with the male protagonist, and always places a female into the position of desire.
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema was written to analyze pleasure and beauty in order to annihilate it. Her essay argues that there needs to be new filming strategies that incorporate many feminist methods in order to end the male-centric Hollywood system that provides “narrative pleasure” to men alone.