the vio-lens of film

Ryan Gosling's new film Only God Forgives, currently screening at Cannes, was apparently booed. But that's not the interesting bit. This is, from an article at the Toronto Star:
The gore quotient in the film is high even for Winding Refn. It includes eye gouging, head piercing and an appalling act of desecration of a body that can’t be described here, other than to say it might well have sent Sigmund Freud calling for his mommy.
Winding Refn made no apologies for any of this, and actually seemed to revel in it all at the press conference. Peering imperiously through his black glasses, he chided a British female journalist for bringing up the topic of movie violence: “You sound like my mother!”
“Art is an act of violence,” he continued. “Art is about penetration. … I approach things very much like a pornographer. It’s about what arouses me. And certain things turn me on more than other stuff, and I can’t supress [sic] that. … I have surely a fetish for violent emotion and violent images and I can’t explain where it comes from.”

Setting aside the fact that art is not about penetration - how very patriarchal and phallocentric of Refn to believe so - and that art is most certainly not an act of violence, however one might debate the nuances of the equivocation, at least he is honest about his relationship to film violence. This is more than can be said for most, who insist on dressing up their fetish with all kinds of rationales without acknowledging the underlying impulse.

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