A considerable amount of critical literature on Luchino Visconti's film Ossessione [Obsession] questions whether there is a “gay” storyline that subtends its narrative. This paper shifts the emphasis to the film's representation of desire, which, it argues, is structured
not through the pursuit of an object but a desire for desire itself. It assesses how the filmic representation of desiring desire counters and troubles a trenchant form of clerico-fascist normalization, using insights from queer theory and sexuality studies to shed light on the formation of
such desire. The essay tracks the nomadic trajectories of the protagonists, and ultimately claims that its melodramatic narrative does not indulge its viewers with a fulfilled fantasy of liberatory revolt, but offers, rather, a capillary model of resistance that emerges through its anomalous
form of immanent desire.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.