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On torture, passionate attachment and diabolical evil: ethics in Rossellini's Open City and Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Vighi, Fabio 2003. On torture, passionate attachment and diabolical evil: ethics in Rossellini's Open City and Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Journal for Lacanian Studies 1 (1) , pp. 85-109.

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Abstract

This article makes use of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to compare Roberto Rossellini's classic neorealist film Open City (1945) and Pier Paolo Pasolini's last cinematic work, Salò, or the 120days of Sodom (1975). More specifically, it suggests that, despite the two films’ obvious ideological and stylistic differences, what emerges through a psychoanalytic reading is the evidence that these films share a common ethical position. By utilizing a number of key notions of Lacanian theory (such as jouissance, desire, and fantasy) to explore the questions of evil, torture, and passionate attachment within the two film narratives, I try to demonstrate that Rossellini's and Pasolini's representations of the ethical act reveal a surprisingly similar politicization of the death-drive as the purely negative agency that suspends the subject's symbolic network, thus allowing for its radical reconfiguration. Both Open City and Salò, therefore, should be seen as works which attempt to redefine the founding moment of ethics.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Publisher: Karnac Books
ISSN: 1477-3635
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:04
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/56236

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