Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of waking life,” Pygmalion fantasies, the “symptomology of trauma,” the “phenomenology of falling,” “death-drive pulsations,” the “psychoanalytic object-relations theory,” and the triple threat of the imaginary Real, the symbolic Real, and the “Real Real.”
Yang Mu’s verse autobiographical prose, like his verse, relies on close observation of Taiwan’s landscape, flora, and fauna for imagery and metaphor. Yet if the humidity, the light, the tang in the breeze—the embodied experiences of the young Yang Mu—are distinctly Taiwanese, his themes are broadly human.
George W. Bush read The Stranger during his second term in office, at the urging of historian Alexander Horne, whose Algerian war classic, A Savage War of Peace, Bush had also read, we were told. Algeria as a key to understanding Iraq? As if Arabs or “Arabs” were interchangeable? Oh dear.
Patwardhan both captures and manifests this wavering time of modern India: history exists in his films not as a static object for reflection, nostalgia or mourning, but as something which constantly returns, flashing up, animating politics and inflecting horizons of possibility in the present.
“The mind of man is capable of anything because everything is in it, all the past as well as the future”, wrote Conrad in Heart of Darkness. This rather begs the historical question of responsibility. Were these actions the result of Leopold’s capriciousness or will?