La Furia Umana
  • I’m not like evereybody else
    The Kinks
  • E che, sono forse al mondo per realizzare delle idee?
    Max Stirner
  • (No ideas but in things)
    W.C. Williams
CATARINA ANDRADE AND MARIANA CUNHA / Two Provocations on the Theme of the Body in Black Venus: From the Representation of Colonialism to the Ethics of Representation

CATARINA ANDRADE AND MARIANA CUNHA / Two Provocations on the Theme of the Body in Black Venus: From the Representation of Colonialism to the Ethics of Representation

This piece is composed by two different and, sometimes, divergent readings of the film Black Venus (Vénus noire, Abdellatif kechiche, 2010), written as a result of discussions between the authors about the representations of the body in cinema. The essays focus on two issues present in the film: the place of the body in the representation of colonialism and the ethics of the representation of the non-normative in cinema. Based on real facts, Black Venus narrates a period of Saartjie Baartman’s life, who was a black South-African woman that was taken to Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. She was exhibited in circus spectacles to European audiences, where she drew attention of anatomists eager to study her physical traits. Both essays that make up this piece were formulated from a dialogue between the authors, which revealed dissonant spectatorial perceptions and experiences and, thus, they seek to problematize how modes of narration and the aesthetics of the film corroborate towards an understanding of the horrors of colonialism or, conversely, how these legitimate a violence from the relationship that the filmmaker establishes between the image of horror and the place of the spectator. 

1. Colonialism as Stage for the Dehumanization of the Body (by Catarina Andrade)

History is the subject of a construction whose site is not homogeneous, empty time, but time filled full by now-time.
Walter Benjamin[i]

A black body, a woman, upright, without any expression. A body to be studied, observed, described in its entirety, but not in its integrity. A body divided, excised, dissected, violated, abused. A colonized, domesticated body, deprived of its humanity by the colonial system. Above, the three images on the left are photographs taken by the ethnographic photographer Augusto Stahl, in the 19th century, and appropriated by contemporary photographer Rosana Paulino, who creates new images from printing images on fabric and the artist’s intervention by making embroidery cut-outs. The two images on the right are frames from the film Black Venus (2010), by Franco-Tunisian director Adellatif Kechiche, who rescues the story Saartjie Baartman, a young woman from the Hottentot ethnic group (a nomadic people from southern Africa) who goes to Europe with her former employer in an attempt to earn a living as an artist. In the first images, those of Rosana Paulino, I perceive a double desire in her gesture, the first concerns bringing up the history of this historically divided body and the second concerns the act of sewing, to suture the wounds of colonialism. I also observe a humanization of this body, dehumanized by the rationality of Eurocentric thinking when the artist embroiders a belly, a heart, and some roots in this photographed woman, remembering that they are women, who feel emotions and that they belong to a space.

This essay, however, is not about the work of Rosana Paulina. It is about the film Black Venus, which, once again, challenges me to revisit it and to write once more about it. In the film, this body is brought to the foreground, not only for the recovery of Baartman’s history and, consequently, of colonialism itself and its tools of domination, but also by Kechiche’s camera, dominated by close-ups, sometimes quite uncomfortable for the viewer. “Venus Noire ne devait pas être un film agréable,” said the director in an interview with L’Express.[ii] And this becomes clear in the first scene: an exhibition of the sculpture of Saartjie’s body as well as her vulva and vagina, excised and preserved in formalin, in an anatomy class, in 1815, by scientist Georges Cuvier, at the Royal Academy of Medicine, in Paris. Extremely focused teachers and students observe the body of the Hottentot woman in order to conclude that she is not a human being, but a race of apes, that is, to prove that Saartjie does not belong to the human race.

The work, Zoos humains et exhibitions coloniales, edited in 2002, evokes in the fifth chapter these anthropological studies developed in the nineteenth century and that contributed to a classification of humanity in terms of race, validated by a colonial project and its hegemonic ambitions.[iii]

Kechiche makes use of several foreground shots, both the statue of Saartjie’s body, as well as of teachers and students, to bring the viewer closer to the field of consciousness of the characters. There is a strong mental tension in the scene. As the camera slowly reveals faces, anxieties and uncertainties reveal themselves, causing discomfort – especially for twenty-first century viewers. The filmmaker opposes and, at the same time, approaches the racism that is configured both in cultural and biological bases, from this fragmented study of Saartije’s body. The almost three-hour-long film is divided into three phases, directly linked to Saartjie’s vision of herself and the world (especially the European world): her arrival in England and exhibition in decadent theatres of variety shows; her trip to France and performances in Paris’s libertine salons after Saartjie’s independence was questioned in court; and the end of her participation in these spectacles, leading to a life in prostitution, culminating, finally, with her body being studied by a scientific committee (in exchange for money) and with death as a result of illness. In all these phases, Kechiche makes use of visual elements and, questioning the viewers and their limits to the point of intolerable[iv] in the face of human horror, as well as questioning society itself and its ability to discriminate and stigmatize difference.

         With the dream of being an artist, singer and dancer, Saartjie’s body is displayed in a cage in a street theatre in London. There are several variety shows, a man who spits fire, who is running, who tames terrible beasts, acrobats, and “a wild female from the African continent”, as the spectacle announces. Her partner, Caezar (Andre Jacobs), of European origin, but born in Africa, dressed as a tamer, announces to the London public a wild beast that, he says, was captured in the African jungle. In this scene, and throughout the film, as already mentioned, Kechiche uses the close-up, bringing the viewer closer, making him or her, as Jean Epstein says, penetrate the scene: “Between the show and the viewer, no limelight. We do not contemplate life, we penetrate it. This penetration allows all intimacies”.[v] For Mrabet, the use of this very close-up camera allows the filmmaker to be as close as possible to his character and allows the viewer a ‘human’ and painful view of the Venus.[vi] The end of the presentations is marked by a climax, a moment when Venus, with her back to the audience, shows her buttocks, which are touched, pinched, rarely caressed, by the avid audience. People go into a kind of ecstasy when they touch, pinch and caress Saartije’s body.

         Aimé Césaire, a writer of Martinican origin and French nationality, writes in one of his most important works, Discourse on Colonialism, that colonization dehumanizes, that “colonization works to decivilize the colonizer, to brutalize him in the true sense of the word, to degrade him, to awaken him to buried instincts, covetousness, violence, race hatred, and moral relativism”.[vii]

 In other words, the effects of colonialism take place in both the colonized and the colonizer. And this “double dehumanization” is even more evident in the film when Saartjie arrives in France (after the partnership that Caezar forms with Réaux), is baptized, gaining the Catholic name Sarah, and starts to make presentations in the Paris libertines salons. In France, performances change a little. In place of a skin-coloured suit, Saartjie wears a red suit, still very close to the body, which highlighted it. In addition, there is the presence of Jeanne, who reinforces the opposition between Saartjie and European women; a black, ‘wild’, ‘deformed’, ‘abject’ body, in contrast to white, dressed up bodies.

         The atmosphere also changes, the decadent variety theatres give way to luxurious salons, where people are well dressed and drink champagne. However, Kechiche’s repetitive sequence shots reiterate the suffering and anguish experienced by the character who, even more than before, is used by her ‘partners’, by Jeanne, by men and women present in the presentations, as a sexual object; “Touching her makes them fertile,” says Jeanne during the presentation, referring to Saartjie’s genitals. Réaux invites those present to ride and tame the Venus, before encouraging them to touch her genitals. Here, Kechiche confronts us with the intolerable of human nature, because, as Mrabet says, the film reveals a mise-en-scène of Saartjie’s humiliation that takes audiences to an enjoyment of the shows, that is, the humiliation mise-en-scène is the very source of pleasure.

A repetitive mise-en-abyme procedure of the process of the spectacle, using an accumulation that exceeds limits, confining the spectacle in its own voyeurism, stimulating it to question this fold in the history of humanity and its own capacity for revolt and indignation.[viii]

The third part of the film is marked by the presence of the scientific committee that wants to examine Saartjie, the end of the shows and the consequent arrival of the protagonist in a house of prostitution. From that moment on in the film, Kechiche leads the viewer to the end of Saartjie, to her death. Alcoholic, her face in close-up is shown more and more sad, more tired and hopeless. Thus, the female, black, African, dehumanized body is reduced to an object of curiosity, sex, pleasure and science. In the contact with the scientific committee, Saartjie is observed and analysed against her will, and treated like an animal. Kechiche seems to propose a gesture of humanization when one of the scientists paints Saartjie’s portrait in the garden of the institute, returning to her some femininity, beauty and, above all, humanity. With the death of Saartjie, victim of syphilis on the streets of Paris, Réaux seeks the scientific committee, to whom he sells the young woman’s body. Finally, Cuvier[ix] will be able to see and attest to the “Hottentot apron”, the genitals of Venus, which she had not shown to the committee under any circumstances.

While scientists remove Saartjie’s genitals, her brain and other organs, violating her body, they reconstruct a plaster model of Venus. Kechiche goes from the details of this reconstruction to the destruction of the young woman’s body by the scientists. It is the construction of an image. The Venus that is wanted, who might have been a princess, as a journalist had wished to write. This silent and long scene reveals, once again, the cautious and careful gestures of the scientist who had painted Saartjie and who, again, contrasts with the violence of others. This little post-mortem prologue ends with the opening scene of the film in the lecture theatre. Kechiche seems to want to express, with this cycle, that one cannot, or at least should not, isolate the past from the present. Thus, the film ends its cycle, as a kind of Nietzschean “eternal return”. Still, in this return, returning to the place where it started, the film operates within the same logic of colonization, demonstrating that the requirements of the system always prevail over human purpose.

In Black Venus, Kechiche seems to want to highlight the brutality of social reality and issues related to human dignity, and bases his discourse on the making of a film based on a historical event. However, by imposing distended scenes of violence on the viewer, by fragmenting this body into multiple close-ups, by objectifying this body and, furthermore, depriving it of humanity, frustrating possible empathic relations between the character and the viewer, Kechiche also seems to question us about the limits of images and of the ways they are and can be produced. Humanity does not reach Saartjie, not through the system that oppresses her, neither through the director’s lens. Before the London public the young woman is presented as a caged animal; in the Parisian libertine salons, she is used as an object of sexual arousal; in the scientific field, not so surprisingly, she will be treated in both ways; and in the film, her body is brought to the foreground in a double layer of fetishism and the historical recovery of her memory. Her humanity is not recognized at any moment and, still, it is definitively annihilated thanks to the “proving capacity” of the science of the “civilized world”.

At the end of the film, Kechiche, in a documentary tone, presents the story of Saartjie: born in South Africa in 1789, she died in 1815 at the age of 26 in Paris. Her body, separated from an identity, was exhibited, in pieces (her fragmented remains) in the Museum of Natural History in Paris until 1974 (159 years after his death). Only in 1994, at the request of then-President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, her remains were returned to her country, and buried, though, in 2002 (almost two centuries after his death).

2. Staging the Aberrant Body (by Mariana Cunha)

In the essay “America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly”, Susan Sontag makes a fierce criticism to the photographic work of Diane Arbus, from a retrospective of her work at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1972, in the year that followed the photographer’s suicide. Sontag contends: “the Arbus show lined up assorted monsters and borderline cases—most of them ugly; wearing grotesque or unflattering clothing; in dismal or barren surroundings—who have paused to pose and, often, to gaze frankly, confidentially at the viewer. Arbus’s work does not invite viewers to identify with the pariahs and miserable-looking people she photographed. Humanity is not ‘one’.”[x] Her attack on Arbus’s photographs is, to some extent, a criticism of the audience’s complacency, who as the author affirms, would be “eager to be troubled” by the content of the photographs.[xi] In this and other essays, Sontag seems to call for the need to historically situate the observer or spectator of a work of art.[xii]

Sontag’s reflection seems pertinent when we are faced with images of non-normative bodies, often represented as abject and monstrous bodies. In a way, it is possible to argue that these non-normative bodies become vulnerable to being transformed into monstrous and abject bodies by the very form of construction and staging of and in the image. In this essay, I reflect on how the body of Saartjie Baartman was captured by the camera, through which a narrative about the horrors of colonialism and racism is reproduced in the film Black Venus (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2010). Based on a discussion about the ways in which this film is placed within a specific regime of visibility, I seek to understand how the photographic and cinematographic apparatus stages bodies that are considered aberrant. How does the very form of construction and staging of bodies challenges and moves us as observers and spectators of these images? Considering the triangulation between director (embodied by the camera), represented body (actress), and the body of the observer (spectator), my interest is, thus, at the intersection between the form of filmic representation and aesthetic construction on one side, and, on the other, the effects of such representation on the viewer and his or her place of proximity or distance from the mise-en-scène. This discussion leads to a questioning about an ethics of representation and an ethics of looking.

Black Venus tells the story of Saartjie Baartman, a South African black woman, who in the 19th century was taken by her then boss to London and later to Paris to perform in a circus, amidst other freak shows, as a wild woman, nurturing what the film suggests as a European fascination with foreign bodies, outside its standards. Known as the Venus of Hottentot, Saartjie Baartman also aroused the fascination of scientists, who sought to fit her physical characteristics to those of women from the Khoisan ethnic group. From the beginning, the film puts us before an inert body. In the initial sequences, we are met with the plaster cast of Baartman’s body, who is being observed and scrutinized by anatomists in an auditorium of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Paris. Here, there is a double appeal to the legitimization of the mode of narration that Kechiche chooses. First, by dealing with a story based on real facts, the aesthetic choices and the way of constructing the narrative – what to show and what to tell – are safeguarded by the truthfulness of the facts. Second, when approaching the theme that gives visibility to a non-normative body, at the same time racialized and sexualized, the film is marked by a scientific discourse – already outdated and contested – which offers, tough, a fragile legitimacy to the narrative. The use of flashback at the beginning of the film to rescue the horrors to which Baartman was subjected is a didactic strategy that assures the viewer that the torture itself was somewhat legitimized by culture and by scientific discourse.

  Still in the initial sequences of the film, the element of theatricality that runs through the narrative can be perceived. The plaster cast of Baartman’s body, unveiled by the anatomist in an auditorium full of men, is placed in the centre, while the camera passes through the curious and amazed gazes of these men. Here, the spectators are already facing a spectacle which reveals a practice of looking that inscribes difference, key to a regime of visibility that reveals racism, as the basis of colonialism. This body marked by difference, however, is soon associated with a freak, aberrant body. The actress’s first appearance in the film takes place in a circus environment, in which she appears caged and delivering a bestialized performance that reveals her animalization and the attempt to be tamed by her “owner”. As Alberto Brodesco[xiii] describes, non-normative bodies have historically been objects of curiosity. Based on the theory of Christian Metz, the author states that the apprehension of these bodies by photography, television, and cinema is based on a sadistic inclination of the viewer. Brodesco discusses films whose narratives revolve around freak shows, citing, for example, Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932), The Ape Woman (La donna scimmia, Marco Ferreri, 1964), Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980), in addition to Black Venus. In this analysis, it is interesting to think that there is a difference in these films between non-normative bodies that are biologically considered anomalous (referring here to those conventionally considered as disabled, victims of different form of ableism), and bodies that are socially constructed as such. In the case of Black Venus, the construction of her non-normativity occurs through a series of racist practices. Caged, the character is provoked, in the middle of the audience, to represent a wild, animalized woman, without speech, only able to communicate through guttural sounds. Her looks and gestures appear as a reaction to the whip of his “partner”, who commands and also acts in the horror show that the film presents and reproduces.

 Figura 2: Vênus Negra, Abdellatif Kechihce (still images)

            The representation of the grotesque spectacle relies on a sophisticated aesthetics. In its 2h46m length, the audience is introduced to long sequences of Yahima Torres, who plays Baartman, in exhaustive performances in which she is chained, caged, and is touched, cursed, and pushed. The always frantic camera is constantly observing it, surrounding it, and controlling it. The use of the close-up, always in motion, gives us the sensation of almost touching the actress’s body, but these close-ups lose their affective power because they do not open space for an apprehension of affection in the image’s texture, due to the accelerated and restless montage. This aesthetic strategy puts us in extreme proximity to the actress and conveys a sense of invasion of her body – certainly an intentional strategy –, which reveals excessive control over it. It is possible to argue that, less than showing the spectator the violence suffered by Baartman in these spectacles, this strategy places the spectators before the power of the apparatus itself to reproduce a new form of violence, this time directed at the spectator. Thus, the film seems to have as its purpose filming the unbearable, to some extent in line with a style that crosses other genres, such as “snuff films” (which record a murder or a suicide), “sexploitation films”, and “rape -revenge films”, for instance. These are films that aim to bring varying degrees of discomfort and pain to the viewer.

         In the essay Can Images Kill, Marie-José Mondzain discusses the representation of violence and the power relations in the construction of the image. Raising the question of the ethics of representation, the author questions what connects what we see with what we do, and “what the place of our bodies and thoughts is when we are confronted with these images”.[xiv] As Mondzai incisevely contends, “the violence of the image explodes when it permits the identification of the unrepresentable within the visible; this is the same as saying that the image is only sustained through a dissimilarity, in the space between the visible and the seeing subject”.[xv] In Black Venus, the image falls into the trap of reproduction or simulation in a process of identification with what would be impossible to represent symbolically, that is, the exploitation, abuse, violence, and trauma suffered by Baartman. Throughout the film, distended scenes from the character’s performances and spectacles are always exacerbated by the fast and incessant movements of the camera and the proximity with which it apprehends her body, which have the effect of immobilizing the viewer. In this sense, what remains of the narrative construction of the film is an empathy forced by the aesthetic choices that, paradoxically, distances us from a critical reflection on the issues that the film represents. Still following Mondzain, “the right distance or proper place of the spectator is a political question” and, therefore, the violation of this distance is what produzes the violence of the image.[xvi]

         To some extent, Mondzain’s idea reverberates Jacques Rancière’s formulation around the distance needed for intelligent contemplation.[xvii] It is worth considering here Walter Benjamin’s metaphor when comparing painting and cinema, painter and cinematographer, with the magician and the surgeon. He says: “The painter maintains in his work a natural distance from reality”, while the image of the cameraman “consists of multiple fragments which are assembled under a new law”.[xviii] The surgeon’s relationship with the patient implodes the distance between them, as he, like the cameraman, “penetrates deeply into [his work’s] web”.[xix] It is from this relationship that a certain mode of representation in cinema emerges, which, as Benjamin suggests, erases the traces and the presence of the “machine” through montage. The literal mode of Kechiche’s “operative form”[xx] can be exemplified by the mutilation of Baartman’s dead body at the end of the film, when after her illness and death, she is handed over to anatomists at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Paris.

         Hence, Kechiche’s didacticism removes us from the place of an experience of alterity, and confines us to a place of “symbolic ignorance”[xxi], in an attempt to exercise control over the emotions of the spectators – from the formal articulation between framing and montage –, in what becomes a sadistic impulse. It is inevitable to mention Laura Mulvey’s essay from 1975 – not by chance so close in time to the essay by Sontag cited above – that reveals so pertinently the patriarchal structure of the regime of visibility adopted in Black Venus. The film intensifies a mode of representation that, as Mulvey points out, is built by a “skilful and satisfying manipulation of visual pleasure”.[xxii] The apprehension of Baartman’s body seems exemplary of the notions of the scopophilic and voyeuristic gaze, theorized by Mulvey. However, the pleasure of looking and identification are not necessarily based on an identification with an equal subject, but with the abject body.

         The final sequences of the film reveal more intensely the transformation of Baartman’s body into abject. I return, once again, to the formal aesthetic construction: men manipulating Baartman’s dead body, their gestures apprehended in detail. The spectators see the naked body of the actress being embalmed by the hands of anatomists, then cut, measured, described, slowly observed by scientists and by the camera. In these final scenes, the film appeals to disgust. As Eugenie Brinkema warns, if Julia Kristeva’s abject theory developed in Pouvoirs de l’horreur: essai sur l’abjection[xxiii] is set against examples or images of the abject, that is, the abject being what resists any representation, Black Venus puts us before an image of disgust that activates an emotional response from the viewer.[xxiv] In other words, the image is built to provoke a spectator who feels uncomfortable with what he or she sees, because the disgust is represented there: in the skin being cut, in the blood that flows from the anatomist’s hands, in the razor that shaves the hair of her genital region. In this sense, the structural form of disgust as a negative abject loses its affective power because it becomes a representation and, therefore, ends up transforming itself into a “positive affection” such as a “curious fascination” or a “pleasant suspense”. [xxv]

Figura 3: Black Venus,Abdellatif Kechihce (still images)

If, like the abject, trauma is located outside the system of representation, what ways of narrating, what practices of looking and what regimes of visibility must be activated so that images are not reduced to an aestheticization of the experience of violence and trauma? These questions echo questions asked by Hal Foster in The Return of the Real. Foster asks, “Can the abject be represented at all? If it is opposed to culture, can it be exposed in culture? (…) Can abject art ever escape an instrumental, indeed moralistic, use of the abject?”[xxvi] Fundamental to think about the validity and effects of violent and violating images of bodies, these questions lead to the final considerations of this essay. When faced with the experience of the unassimilable and the unrepresentable, art should not, according to Jill Bennett, claim its role of saving or rescuing victims of atrocities, traumas, and horrors, because in this moralizing and redeeming attempt, the danger of reproducing an experience of trauma and violence resides, whose forms of visibility “keep subjects in the darkness of mortifying identifications”.[xxvii] Like horror films, Black Venus uses realistic language and traumatic realism to “exploit affective triggers”[xxviii], attacking the viewer and only leading him to a moralizing way of interpreting the horrors to which Baartman was subjected.

Baartman’s real experience reveals an absolute violation authorized by the system of colonialism and by the triumph of the scientific discourse of the early 19th century. Reproduced in the film, the experience of trauma is represented by the constant violation of her body: exhibited, touched, pushed, studied, moulded, sickened, prostituted, lacerated, preserved, dead. And yet, there is no scream, there is no revolt, there is no explosion on the part of Baartman. Kechiche’s didactic style, supported by the true facts of Baartman’s story, creates at the same time an identification with the character – even if objectified – that “aligns us with the moral point of view”[xxix], and a spectacle of the aberrant body that does not contributes to an ethics and a politics of the representation of colonial violence and trauma. I am referring here to an ethics in the sense put forward by Jill Bennet, which is “enabled and invigorated by a capacity for transformation”.[xxx] Far from seeking a moralizing tone that reveals a humanism of those who seek to see and understand the images of horror, an ethics of looking would move us, in the sense theorized by Gilles Deleuze: an ethics of cinema whose foundation is the restoration of a belief in the world. As Deleuze puts it: “The question is no longer: does cinema give us the illusion of the world? But: how does cinema restore our belief in the world?”.[xxxi] Thus, an ethics is linked to a power of transformation and becoming.

Finally, there is still the question of the accountability of the producers of images in the construction of a space for those who see, as pointed out by Mondzain. Despite the importance of the denunciation that the film proposes to put forward, Black Venus does not create the necessary distance for an ethics and a politics of transformation and action, but immobilizes us as spectators when projecting an identification with the character’s pain. Just as there is no space, paradoxically, despite the long duration of the film, there is no time for critical reflection. We are confronting a spectacle of the aberrant body.

Catarina Andrade and Mariana Cunha

[i] BENJAMIN, Walter, Selected Writings, Volume 4, 1938-1940 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 395.

[ii] KECHICHE, Abdellatif, “Abdellatif Kechiche: ‘Vénus Noire ne devait pas être un film agréable’”, entrevista por Eric Libiot, LÉxpress, 26 de outubro 2010, (Accessed Oct 23, 2020).

[iii] MRABET, Emna, “Contestation et défense des droits humains chez les cinéastes Abdellatif Kechiche et Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche”, Studies in French Cinema 14, no. 2 (2014), 119-131: 128. Original version:  “L’ouvrage, Zoos humains et exhibitions coloniales, édité en 2002, évoque dans le chapitre cinq, ces études anthropologiques qui avait cours au dix-neuvième siècle et qui ont contribué à une classification de l’humanité en termes de races, validant par là le projet colonial et ses prétentions hégémoniques.”

[iv] MRABET, “Contestation”, 127.

[v] MARTIN, Marcel, A linguagem cinematográfica (São Paulo: Editora Brasiliense, 2013), 41.

[vi] MRABET, “Contestation”, 128.

[vii] CÉSAIRE, Aimé, Discourse on Colonialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972), 35.

[viii] MRABET, “Contestation”, 128. Original version: “Un procédé répétitif de mise en abyme du processus spectaculaire, utilisant l’accumulation jusqu’à la surenchère, enferme le spectateur dans son propre voyeurisme, le poussant à s’interroger sur ce pan de l’histoire de l’humanité et sur sa propre capacité de révolte et d’indignation.”

[ix] Cf. SAID, Edward W., Orientalism (London: Peguin, 1977): “Theses of Oriental backwardness, degeneracy, and inequality with the West most easily associated themselves early in the nineteenth century with ideas about the biological bases of racial inequality. Thus the racial classifications found in Cuvier’s Le Regne animal, Gobineau’s Essai sur l’inegalite des races humaines, and Robert Knox’s The Dark Races of Man found a willing partner in latent Orientalism.” (p. 207) 

[x] SONTAG, Susan, “America, Seen Through Photographs, Darkly”, in On Photography. (New York: Rosetta Books, 1973), 25-26.

[xi] SONTAG, “America”, 26.

[xii] Ver também SONTAG, Susan, Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Picador, 2003).

[xiii] BRODESCO, Alberto, “Filming the Freak Show: Non-normative Bodies on Screen”, Medicina nei secoli Arte e Scienza 26, no. 1 (2014): 291-312. 

[xiv] MONDZAIN, Marie-José, “Can Images Kill” Critical Inquiry 36 (Autumn 2009): 20-51, p. 26.

[xv] MONDZAIN, “Can Images Kill”, 28.

[xvi] MONDZAIN, “Can Images Kill”, 36.

[xvii] Cf. RANCIÈRE, Jacques, The Emancipated Spectator (London: Verso, 2009).

[xviii] BENJAMIN, Walter, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), 233-234.

[xix] BENJAMIN, “A obra de arte”, 233.

[xx] BENJAMIN, “A obra de arte”, 27.

[xxi] MONDZAIN, “Can Images Kill”, 34.

[xxii] MULVEY, Laura, “Prazer visual e cinema narrative” in A experiência do cinema, ed. Ismail Xavier (São Paulo: Graal, 1983), 437-453.

[xxiii] KRISTEVA, Julia, Pouvoirs de l’horreur: essai sur l’abjection (Paris: Editions Seuils, 1983).

[xxiv] BRINKEMA, Eugenie, The Forms of Affect (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 134.

[xxv] BRINKEMA, The Forms of Affect, 133.

[xxvi] FOSTER, Hal. The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1996), 156.

[xxvii] MONDZAIN, “Can Images Kill”, 33.

[xxviii] BENNETT, Jill, Emphatic Vision: Affect, Trauma, and Contemporary Art (Bloomington: Stanford University Press, 2005),11.

[xxix] BENNETT, Emphatic Vision, 17.

[xxx] BENNETT, Emphatic Vision, 15.

[xxxi] DELEUZE, Gilles, Cinema 2: The Time-Image (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 181-182.