October 17, 2005

k-punk: A seamless tissue of fantasies K-punk has an interesting critique of my reading of A History of Violence. Here is an excerpt but one should really read the whole thing. Link: k-punk: A seamless tissue of fantasies. Jodi's reading also surreptitiously resolves the film's ontological tension, by assuming that the 'Joey reality' is ontologically inferior to the 'Tom reality'. On what grounds, though? As Jodi herself notes, the Stall domestic Paradiso is no more 'real'(istic) than the organized crime Inferno; it is just that, in the first case, the fantasies derive from melodrama, while in the second, they are taken from the gangster genre. (In this respect, A History of Violence can be compared with The Shining, which similarly mediates between the conventions of family drama and those of another genre, in that case, Horror. See Walter Metz's intertextual analysis here.) Paradoxically, the Stall family only seems realistic once it is menaced by mobsters who are no more realistic. If there is 'realism' at all, it is generated by the tensions between the conventions of two genres. Jodi says that my reading was too quick to remove fantasy. But I would want to argue that Jodi, like Graham Fuller in Sight and Sound, contains fantasy by giving it a diegetic motivation. What this leaves out is in a way the most obvious fantasmatic level: that of our own fantasies. It is not that the events of the film can be reduced to the fantasy of one of the characters; no, the film forces us to...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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