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On the real limits of self-consciousness: gazing back at the subversive subject with Marco Bellocchio

Vighi, Fabio ORCID: 2005. On the real limits of self-consciousness: gazing back at the subversive subject with Marco Bellocchio. Culture, Theory and Critique 46 (2) , pp. 147-161. 10.1080/14735780500314364

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This article looks at Marco Bellocchio’s 2002 film My Mother’s Smile to re‐assess the central feature of Bellocchio’s cinema, i.e. its attempt to delineate a subjective strategy of subversion against a social order perceived as fundamentally repressive. In line with the director’s previous output, the film takes the Catholic Church and the family as its explicit polemical targets, endeavouring to unmask the nefarious ideological pressure they exercise on the ordinary individual in today’s Italian society. However, my reading draws on Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to try and locate the disavowed (unconscious) kernel of Bellocchio’s narrative. Deploying Lacan’s controversial musings on ‘the gaze’, ‘desire’ and ‘femininity’, I suggest that the true stance of rebellion voiced by the film’s protagonist hinges on his recognition that the inconsistency of the ideological predicament he consciously struggles against paradoxically coincides with the traumatic inconsistency at the heart of his own attitude of defiance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1473-5784
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 08:51

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