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Madame Web (2024) and Pearl (2022)
Episode 130th April 2024 • Film Trace • Film Trace
00:00:00 01:03:26

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Welcome to the first episode of Season 13 of Film Trace. In this season, we will explore the notion of Camp in Film. Building off of Susan Sontag's foundational 1964 essay, Notes on Camp, we will explore two films each episode we think demonstrate Sontag's concepts of naive camp and intentional camp.

First off is the financial and critical disaster of Madame Web (2024). We argue this film is a good example of what Sontag would call naive camp: over the top, extravagant, but without much artistic merit. A spectacular failure. The open question with Madame is whether anyone involved thought it should be anything more than a lark inspired by the trashy comic book films of the 1990s.

Countering the cinematic cacophony of Madame Web is the arthouse excess of Pearl. Ti West was given a million dollars by A24 to create a prequel to his 2022 slasher X. The star of that film, Mia Goth, helped write the script and plays the titular Pearl. Boy this one is a doozy. Goth is out there in a place all her own. We think it is a great example of intentional camp: total excess that somehow succeeds in being a good film.




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