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A full face bright red money shot: Incision, wounding and film spectatorship in Marina de Van's Dans ma peau

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Through an analysis of Merleau-Ponty's concept of ‘flesh’, I wish to suggest that this term offers a potential site for the reconsideration of the phenomenological situation of the film viewer. I will do this through an analysis of Marina de Van's film Dans ma peau (2002), a film which addresses the individual spectator directly in the intimacy of the viewing experience and, moreover, interrogates that individual relation of embodied viewer to film.

Distancing myself from previous scholarship on this film, I suggest that Dans ma peau stages an explicit reflection not (or not only) on the creative process of filmmaking but, rather, on the embodied, fleshy, phenomenological viewing experience of the audience. However, if the onscreen presentation of the body in Dans ma peau seems to offer the body up as an object to be cut open, the wounding that takes place in the film is of a different kind entirely. Drawing on Deleuze's concept of the wound, I will suggest that in the diegesis of the film and the relation instigated between film and spectator, we witness the construction of a relational matrix constituted by the sensations and intensities that flow across a body which is nothing but the embodiment of a wound that pre-exists it. This, I will suggest, has important ramifications for any phenomenological theory of cinematic spectatorship based on the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty in which flesh is coterminous with dehiscence.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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