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CULT Seminar: İpek Çelik (Brown University)

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

 

CULTURAL STUDIES SEMINAR

 

 

İpek Çelik


Postdoctoral Fellow inInternational Humanities
Cogut Center for the Humanities
Brown University

 

 

 Corporal Violence in Art Cinema

 

February 24, 2011 Thursday

15:30-16:30

 FASS 2034

 

 

Abstract:

The New York Times reviewer of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival underlines the common ingredient that brings together the majority of the award-winning films: “Violence Reaps Rewards at Cannes Festival” (05/25/2009). While the best director award winner Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay (Slaughter) shows a brutal rape and dismembering of a prostitute at length, the best actress award went to Charlotte Gainsbourg of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, a film with graphic scenes of torture and genital mutilation. Similarly, bloody scenes of beating and murders dominate Jacques Audiard’s Grand Prix winner prison drama A Prophet. The striking synchronicity of these films suggests a new trend in European art-house cinema where graphic scenes of violence become not only a convenient tool to further audience affect but also a means to reinforce the reality effect. In the light of anthropological literature on violence, this lecture analyzes the narrative possibilities opened up by stylistic violence in cinema: possibilities such as providing a commentary on the disposability of bodies under a neo-liberal economy obsessed with efficiency and adaptability. This talk also inquires into the narrative limits of the above award-winning films that reflect violence as an eruptive force that speaks to the liberal imagination. I explore how films commenting on neo-liberal biopolitics simultaneously and paradoxically produce a “violent-chic”.