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Dirty Pictures, Mud Lust, and Abject Desire: Myths of Origin and the Cinematic Object

Susan Felleman
Film Quarterly
Vol. 55, No. 1 (Fall 2001), pp. 27-40
DOI: 10.1525/fq.2001.55.1.27
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/fq.2001.55.1.27
Page Count: 14
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Dirty Pictures, Mud Lust, and Abject Desire: Myths of Origin and the Cinematic Object
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Abstract

In three films about artist couples—Artemisia (1997), Camille Claudel (1988), and Life Lessons (1989)—cinema is shown allegorically through art as the progeny of sexual coupling. In each, the nature of the relationship—its romantic, psychosocial, and sexual aspects—suggests larger issues relating to the experience of film, as though each was a myth of the origins of film, or a primal scene. The couples personify the ultimately erotic act of filmmaking even as they reveal the peculiar sensibilities of each film's maker, be those involved with the quasi­pornographic experience of looking, the fetishistic interest in technique and handling, or heroic passions and valorization of gesture.

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