The Feminine Body, Touch and Violence: A reading of Shirin Neshat’s Women Without Men (Zanan-e Bedun-e Mardan, 2009) and Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada, 2009)

Judith Rifeser

Abstract


Through the close textual analysis of two scenes, one take from Shirin Neshat’s Women Without Men (Zanan-e Bedun-e Mardan, 2009) and one from Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada, 2009), I turn to the way in which the camera provides an intervention to explore violence in dialogue with psychoanalyst and philosopher Luce Irigaray’s work on the caress. Through a feminist lens, I trace how tropes of violence in these two films demand a more nuanced reading of the Irigarayan caress, revealing in fact a previously hidden underbelly in Irigaray’s work in relation to the lived, embodied experience of feminine subjectivity. That is, the omission of voicing and engaging with violence in the Irigarayan caress. Exploring violence and brutality against women represented through the lens of the authorial voice of Neshat and Llosa, provides scope for a consideration of these issues from a female perspective that can be informative for global filmmaking practices more broadly. The innovative use of the camera by Neshat and Llosa to mediate the lived, embodied experience of the women protagonists and how this allows for a more nuanced reading of the Irigarayan caress, is the focus of this article.


Keywords


Irigaray – violence; Neshat; Llosa; female filmmakers; film

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1234/fa.v0i81-82.389





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