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Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance

Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance: Powers of Affection

Elena del Río
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance
    Book Description:

    The first study of the interface between Deleuzian theory and film performance.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3526-9
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Cinema and the Affective-Performative
    (pp. 1-25)

    Once again, I am watching the scene of Dorothy Malone’s “dance of death” in Written on the Wind. First, I see a female body dancing to the brassy sounds of a Latin jazz score. Then, as the music and the body become one, their force can no longer be confined within the frame of the dancer’s body. Such fury cannot survive the contours of a thing. It gives way to a red, headless and armless, amoeba-like stain that pulsates on the surface of the screen with a movement that lacks calculation or goal, its purpose spent on its own maddening...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Animated Fetishes
    (pp. 26-66)

    In her essay, “Film Body: An Implantation of Perversions,” Williams discusses Eadweard Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope projections of human movement sequences, remarking on discernible differences in his treatment of male and female bodily comportments:

    Some of the movements and gestures in the women’s section . . . parallel those of the men. Yet even here there is a tendency to add a superfluous detail to the woman’s movements – details which tend to mark her as more embedded within a socially prescribed system of objects and gestures than her male counterparts. (Williams 1986: 512)

    Noting how these protocinematic examples “invest the woman’s...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Choreographies of Affect
    (pp. 67-112)

    Few cinemas are as visibly and heavily marked by the affective-performative body as Rainer W. Fassbinder’s. Such early films in his career as Love Is Colder than Death (1969) and Gods of the Plague (1969) already exhibit an obsession with containing and releasing gestures and movements through emphatic choreographies that alternately organize and disorganize the body. Synonymous with Fassbinder’s auteurist signature, the term “stylization” particularly befits the choreographic sense of bodies in his films. Fassbinder’s foregrounding of the body seems to emerge from a desire to counter its frailty and mortality with a redoubled attention to its life – its...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Dancing Feminisms
    (pp. 113-147)

    Feminist film theory of the 1970s and 1980s was marked by a deep suspicion of the female body as source of aesthetic and erotic pleasure. Inspired by Mulvey’s seminal analysis of the unconscious structures that govern the relations of visual/spectatorial pleasure and gender in classical narrative cinema, feminist theorists strove to restore to women those aspects of subjectivity that the patriarchy had historically suppressed. If patriarchal interests had rendered woman a speechless and thoughtless body, reclaiming her capacity to engage in a rigorous analysis of her predicament would become the foremost objective of a feminist critical agenda. Not surprisingly, feminist...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Kinesthetic Seductions
    (pp. 148-177)

    The films of Claire Denis are often described as sensual, even surreal, in their lack of conformity to narrative and cognitive structures of classical cinema. Denis’ cinema intersects the world less through the visual, one-dimensional grid of classical representation than through a multisensory, kinetic prism that is as decentered and chaotic as it is filled with intensity of affect. This chapter will examine the films Nénette and Boni (1997), Beau Travail (Good Work, 1999), and Friday Night (2002) as instances of an affective-performative cinema that dissolves the disciplinary mechanisms weighing upon both the performing and the viewing bodies into a...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Powers of the False
    (pp. 178-207)

    Issuing from a variety of perspectives, analyses of David Lynch’s films have often deployed theory in an attempt to explain what the films themselves refuse to give away in a rational form. Given the propensity of Lynch’s cinema to destabilize notions of reality through the preponderance of dream-like images, psychoanalytically oriented critics have seen these films as literal exponents of unconscious processes of desire and fantasy. Still within the psychoanalytic camp, some feminist critics have focused their attention on the controversial gender dynamics they see operating in these films – their problematic treatment of the female body as the target...

  10. CONCLUSION: Everything is “Yes”
    (pp. 208-217)

    At several key moments in Potter’s Yes (2005), the narrator (Shirley Henderson), a woman working as a housekeeper at the female protagonist’s (Joan Allen) home, tells us of her futile struggles with dirt (“it never disappears, it only changes places”). During the film’s closing moments, Henderson finally reveals the logic behind her sporadic musings, as well as the affective principle driving the entire film: “I don’t think ‘No’ really exists,” she concludes, “Everything is ‘Yes’.” With these words, spoken in Henderson’s child-like, almost whispering voice, the film captures the affirmative character of its own affective dynamics. More broadly, the final...

  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 218-227)
  12. Index
    (pp. 228-240)