Mysterious Skin: Male Bodies in Contemporary Cinema by Santiago Fouz-Hernández

By Santiago Fouz-Hernández

Borrowing its name from Gregg Araki’s 2005 movie, within which the camera’s contemplation of the male physique encourages us to believe that physique, and overlaying a extensive span of matters and flicks, Mysterious pores and skin bargains a much wider, extra consultant photograph of the depiction of the male physique in modern international cinemas than has hitherto been tried. a global array of significant specialists discover the therapy of masculinity and the male physique within the cinemas of Africa, Australia, China, France, Germany, nice Britain, India, North the US, Spain, Taiwan and Vietnam, in addition to Hollywood. Their universal hindrance is to bare how the illustration of the male physique is utilized in motion pictures to show a country’s anxieties approximately its nationwide identification and heritage, in addition to the way it engages with questions of racial, sexual or gender politics. They speak about key actors, administrators and flicks of those international locations, from Ewan MacGregor in Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow publication, in the course of the movies of Wong Kar Wai, to Paul Hogan as Mick Dundee in Crocodile Dundee. In so doing, Mysterious dermis additionally presents a powerful evaluate of significant cinema produced all over the world within the final 20 years.

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He is also identified as Jewish when seen stepping on a cloth-wrapped glass while wearing a yarmulke in a video clip of his wedding and after his death, stones are placed on his grave in the Jewish tradition. Likewise Independence Day (1996) features what Rogin calls a ‘neurasthenic hysteric’ Jewish character (Rogin 1998: 48) in David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum). Stereotypically, like Mr Universe, and building upon his previous roles in The Fly (1986), Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lost World (1997) Goldblum is an intellectual, a scientist, a ‘Jewish computer whizz’ (Rogin 1998: 49).

Although the film depicts Theo ruthlessly Figure 2: Daniel Brühl in Das Weiße Rauschen. X Verleih AG. Germany. 33 34 MYSTERIOUS SKIN raping two women, it nevertheless refuses to demonise the character entirely. The spectator is radically alienated from this figure, but the film consistently presents moments in which we see the world from Theo’s perspective or from that of the woman who loves him, and it is especially this latter perspective – a brilliant device on the part of the filmmakers – that rescues Theo, despite his despicable behaviour, from pure villainy.

The film’s use of lingering slow motion to capture the beating, flagellating, raking, ripping, dislocating and piercing of Jesus’ flesh fetishises the Jewish male body and its ability to withstand torture. It is an irony here that Gibson, whose views of Jews are dodgy at best, has unwittingly produced a cinematic Jewish male body which fulfils the Zionist vision of a muscled Jewry. 21 22 MYSTERIOUS SKIN VII. GANGSTERS From Jewish crime czar Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) in The Godfather II (1974) through to Abraham ‘Cousin Avi’ Denovitz (Dennis Farina) in Snatch (2000), there have been many extremely violent male Jewish gangsters, criminals, killers and corrupt bookmakers on screen such as those in The Long Goodbye (1973), Lepke (1975), GoodFellas (1990), Bugsy (1991), Casino (1995) and Inside Man (2006).

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