The impossibility of vision: vampirism, formlessness and horror in Vampyr
Author: Peirse, Alison
Source: Studies in European Cinema, Volume 5, Number 3, January 2009 , pp. 161-170(10)
Abstract:This article argues that the shifting bodily borders of male protagonist, David Gray, and female vampire, Marguerite Chopin, evoke horror in Vampyr (Dreyer, 1932). Situating the film within the loose, ambiguous narratives of European art cinema, it is suggested that the film's central trope is the confounding of spectator's ability to make sense of the events taking place within the text. Gray's bodily borders vacillate throughout the film, moving between active and passive and alive and dead, evoking formlessness and uncertainty. Vampyr even includes an uncanny moment in which Gray looks upon his own dead body laid out in a coffin. Even when Gray is active, the mesh screens, closed windows and locked doors distance him from his object of pursuit and undermine his gaze. Through the formless female vampire, oblique narrative and form and white mise-en-scne, Vampyr reveals the impossibility of vision and the limitations of the spectatorial gaze.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2009-01-01
- Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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