‘I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do’: music, dance, and the performance of male identity in ‘Joker’

Arthur Fleck meets his mirrored gaze with approval and acceptance.

By Amanda Howell

Excerpt: “Like Bickle, Fleck tries out a series of personae over the course of the film, cobbled from elements of popular culture, especially television: beloved and dutiful son, standup comic, lover, vigilante clown, and finally, Joker, prime time assassin and emergent cult leader. And similar to Jake La Motta, it appears that even Fleck’s most violent impulses are recuperable as entertainment. But Joker – which like Fleck himself is shaped by emulation and mirroring – is most closely modelled on The King of Comedy. For Arthur Fleck, like Rupert Pupkin, reality and fantasy, public and private performances blur together in the pursuit of a new identity as a celebrity comic. Success eludes Fleck, as it does Pupkin; both settle for notoriety as a path to fame. But most importantly, we see Fleck, similar to Pupkin, work to reshape his identity within a fantasy framework informed by images and ideologies of entertainment, with an emphasis on music and dance.” Read the full article here