Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance: Powers of Affection by Elena del Rio

By Elena del Rio

The appearing physique privileges the thought of affective strength over the inspiration of visible shape, and Elena del Ri­o locations this on the middle of theories of spectacle and performativity. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of the physique, and on Deleuze-Spinoza's proper thoughts of impact and expression, del Ri­o defines "affective-performative" cinema, the gains of which spread via exact discussions of the events, gestures, and speeds of the physique in quite a few movies by way of Douglas Sirk, Rainer W. Fassbinder, Sally Potter, Claire Denis, and David Lynch. She grounds her research within the body's powers of love, proving the insufficiency of former theoretical ways in accounting for the transformative and inventive capacities of the relocating physique. Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance will curiosity students and scholars operating with Deleuze, phenomenology, and feminism.

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But these necessary causes are not in themselves sufficient to explain or justify the unscripted conditions that make each repetitive performative instance paradoxically unrepeatable. And here precisely is where Butler’s reading needs to be taken a step further. ’ ” The difference, Butler suggests, is that “in this second rendition the imitation is meant to expose the illusion that the first act [Annie’s blackness] sought to produce and sustain” (Butler 1990: 9). Here, as in the case of the feminine gesture, Butler submits the racial gesture to a binary rhetoric of reality versus illusion, and depth versus surface.

While, in the first instance, the film positions the woman as a self-absorbed erotic icon in direct rapport with the camera and the viewer’s gazes, its conservative moral and ideological stance is more likely to define her as responsive to social and familial demands, hence contained by narrative requirements that destine her for marriage or motherhood. Thus, Lora’s body may be seen as the site where the film stages its ideological battle between divergent notions of femininity. In the final analysis, the split choreography of Lora/Turner’s body reveals the difficulties, and the ultimate failure, of the classical, patriarchal film aesthetic in seamlessly blending the narrative and the spectacular together into a single, unitary system.

Ruling out expression: feminist theories of spectacle and performativity An analysis of performing bodies in Sirk’s melodramas may illuminate the degree to which previous focus on the female performer on the part of feminist theorists such as Mulvey and Butler has failed to acknowledge the coexistence of oppressive structures and expressive capacities. qxp:Andy Q7 32 6/5/08 10:46 Page 32       Feminisms,” and to some extent Chapter 4, “Kinesthetic Seductions”), my overall concern here is with the possibility of moving beyond a notion of difference as absence, of desire as negativity and lack, and, by extension, beyond a notion of the body as inert and mute form.

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