The philosophy of which is illustrated in the speech in the video below. Much has been made of the opening scene for example, in which Sabina is seen in the midst of a hysterical fit. Hysteria manifests physically in the form of bizarre facial tics and bodily contortions, as in the photos of early psychiatrist Jean Martin Charcot, whose work Cronenberg drew upon as research: But in these early days of psychoanalysis the ethical and professional lines were not yet drawn and practices not yet codified.
So it is that Jung takes to spanking and embarking on an affair with Sabina as part of his search for a cure. Now this could just be personal taste but that story-line strikes me as having just the right amount of intellectual and thematic meat, forbidden sexuality and sadomasochistic edge to be, well, a bit sexy really. Which brings us to the point of this post. In thinking about how A Dangerous Method seemed a bit sexy, it occurred to me that actually, for all that they are supposedly gory, cold and cerebral, Cronenberg actually makes sexy movies.
Which makes them even more sexy. A bit of theory first to bolster the argument as if it needs it, I hear you say! Film theorist Patricia MacCormack has developed a concept she calls Cinesexuality.
Mainstream cinema, according to MacCormack, works with narrative building-blocks of meaning which reinforce the semiotic pathways of desire already established by societal norms. So film genres such as the romantic comedy, for instance, work from a narrative, semiotic template informed by stable units of narrative meaning such as the nuclear family and heterosexual romance. These effects help create new pathways of desire, overturning the dominant family-oriented, heterosexual codes.
A brief explanation of this term is in order: Becoming is the action of entering the self into a participation with another element thus forming a unique relational structure which changes both terms and spreads forth to create a series of limitless connections with other terms.
In other words, what is depicted below is alien, cannot be made sense of in terms of conventional sexuality. Dream of the Fisherman's Wife Contrast this with the image below is taken from the exhibition Secret Images: The imaginative possibilities of the encaphaloid sexual encounter are reduced to what is actually a pretty standard masculine vision of sex as penetration.
In less academic terms, Picasso lacks imagination. His is ultimately a human hetero sexuality. Alas, further investigation of this topic will have to wait. Outside of octopi, depictions of non-human sexualities are not all that common for reasons that are as unfathomable to me as they are to you dear reader. Uncommon but not unheard of. In this scene an orgy of sorts climaxes in the participants melting into one another, faces fusing with body parts and individuals morphing, literally, into a heaving undifferentiated writhing mass of flesh.
Something no longer recognizably human. A stinking, sweat-sodden, meaty hive-mind. But Society is perhaps too nightmarish to be truly erotic. Red-light district colouring, deep shadows and cramped camerawork are replaced with cool-blue open space and wide shots. This is an altogether more welcoming posthuman sexuality. As I pointed out at the beginning, I began thinking about all this because A Dangerous Method is currently in cinemas and I thought it sounded strangely sexy.
At any rate, it occurs to me that the films of David Cronenberg are oddly arousing in general. But where there is Eros, Thanatos cannot be far behind. Often this evolution takes the form of sudden mutation. Once implanted, it causes uncontrollable sexual desire in the host. In the final scenes the infected apartment dwellers get into their cars to make their way out into the world.
For some critics Shivers was an attack on the bourgeois and bourgeois notions of morality and sexuality. But Cronenberg was after more than just satire. Croneneberg on Cronenberg p. The parasites have liberated them from bourgeois sexual conventions and morality and created something new. Shivers is uually viewed in conjunction with the follow-up Rabid, which also deals with mutant sexualities. Again, the synopsis is from Wikipedia: A critically injured woman, victim of a motorcycle accident, is taken to the plastic surgery clinic of Doctor Dan Keloid, where some of her intact tissue is treated to become morphogenetically neutral.
The tissue is grafted to fire-damaged areas of her body in the hope that it will differentiate and replace the damaged skin and organs. She uses it to feed on the blood of other people and afterwards erasing their memories of the incident. It soon is apparent that every victim whom she infects transforms into a rabid zombie whose bite spreads the disease.
This eventually causes the city to fall into chaos before the outbreak can be contained. Rabid, good as it is, is perhaps not as successful as Shivers. With Rabid, the sexuality is on the surface. The casting of porn star Marilyn Chambers in her first straight role. A world away from the libidinous infection of Shivers. A sickly and distressing film, full of imagery and ideas dredged up from the darkest and most fetid corners of the collective unconscious.
The film follows Max Renn James Woods the CEO of a small cable station who stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring extreme violence and torture. Renn embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with Debbie Harry, and their shared interest in sex and violence is facilitated by the videodrome transmissions.
Spectator and screen form a machinic assemblage. Machinic should not be confused with mechanical. It is an arrangement of a body and a surface, but the machine is independent of the materiality of its parts according to Guattari.
It describes the system of connection by which the components perturb and affect each other as they are perturbed and affected. Each perturbation shifts points of intensification and changes the direction of flows, making some areas dense and others dissipate. The territory is remapped, deteritorialisation leading to a re-composition. But the machine structure itself, the act of watching, remains the same A Cinema of Desire: The machinic assemblage Max Renn forms with the screen in Videodrome deterritorialises, then reterritorialises first his mind, then his body, then his very reality.
Devoid of explanation, the film, much like the videodrome transmissions the plot revolves around, dares us to look away and defies our attempts to make sense, to make meanings of it. Your flimsy human categories and modes of cognition are no use here. Best just to give way to the new flesh. From the Wikipedia synopsis: Elliot, the more aggressive and confident of the two, seduces women who come to the Mantle Clinic.
When he tires of them, the women are passed on to the shy and passive Beverly, while the women remain unaware of the substitution. Elliot seduces Claire and then urges Beverly to sleep with her. When Beverly becomes attached to Claire, it upsets the equilibrium between the twins. Claire leaves to work on another film. Beverly seeks out metal artist Anders Wolleck and commissions a set of bizarre gynecological instruments for operating on these mutant women.
Beverly is then put on administrative leave by the hospital board after collapsing on a patient. When Claire returns, Beverly leaves the clinic to be with her. When he returns to sobriety, he is concerned about his brother, and goes back to the clinic. There he finds the clinic in ruins and Elliot despondent and intoxicated. Their positions are reversed as Beverly cares for Elliot. Beverly disembowels Elliot on an examination couch. Beverly pulls himself together, leaves the clinic and calls Claire on a payphone.
Obviously on one level these instruments imply internal damage, which is to say that they appear to be weapons as much as instruments. This is a film about the identical as abberational. The same as more bizarre than difference. Unlike Picasso, Croneberg resists the phallic pull. At least to some extent. Seriously, what is going on here? And why does it remain sexy rather than gross? Naked Lunch also deals with the impact of technology upon the body, only in this case the technology is writing.
Before that though the video below provides a montage of highlights from Naked Lunch, and an indication of sorts of what to expect. At any rate, mere human genitals are the least interesting form of sexual gratification in Crash.
Both film and book hinge on symphorophilia; sexual arousal through staging or witnessing disasters such as traffic accidents. The couple are shown early on in the film engaging in various infidelities, and later having unenthusiastic sex; their arousal is heightened by discussing the intimate details of their extramarital sexual encounters. While trapped in the fused wreckage, the driver, Dr.
Helen Remington Holly Hunter , wife of the killed passenger, exposes a breast to Ballard when she pulls off the shoulder harness of her seat belt. While recovering, Ballard meets Dr. While leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin to have an affair, one primarily fueled by their shared experience of the car crash not only do all of their sexual assignations take place in cars, all of Dr. In turn, Ballard has a dalliance with one of the other group members, Gabrielle Rosanna Arquette , a beautiful woman whose legs are clad in restrictive steel braces, and who has a vulva-like scar on the back of one of her thighs, which is used as a substitute for a vagina by Ballard.
While watching videos of car crashes, Dr. Vaughan and Ballard eventually turn towards each other and have a homosexual encounter. Later on in the film, Gabrielle and Dr.