Victor J. Vitanza, Chaste Cinematics. Brooklyn, NY: Punctum Books, November
Victor J. Vitanza (author of Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing)
continues to rethink the problem of sexual violence in cinema and how rape
is often represented in ³chaste² ways, in the form of a Chaste Cinematics.
Vitanza continues to discuss Chaste Cinematics as participating in
transdisciplinary-rhetorical traditions that establish the very foundations
(groundings, points of stasis) for nation states and cultures. In this
offering, however, the initial grounding for the discussions is ³base
materialism² (George Bataille): divine filth, the sacred and profane. It is
this post-philosophical base materialism that destabilizes binaries,
fixedness, and brings forth excluded thirds. Vitanza asks: why is it that a
repressed third, or a third figure, returns, most strangely as a ³product²
of rape and torture? He works with Jean-Paul Sartre and Page duBois¹s
suggestion that the ³product² is a new ³species.²
Always attempting unorthodox ways of approaching social problems, Vitanza
organizes his table of contents as a DVD menu of ³Extras² (supplements).
This menu includes Alternate Endings and Easter Eggs as well as an Excursus,
which invokes readers to take up the political exigency of the DVD-Book.
Vitanza¹s first ³Extra² studies a trio of films that need to be
reconsidered, given what they offer as insights into Chaste Cinematics:
Amadeus (a mad god), Henry Fool (a foolish god), and Multiple Maniacs (a
divine god who is raped and eats excrement). The second examines Helke
Sander¹s documentary Liberators Take Liberties, which re-thinks the rapes of
German women by the Russians and Allies during the Battle of Berlin. The
third rethinks Margie Strosser¹s video-film Rape Stories that calls for
revenge. In the Alternate Endings, Vitanza rethinks the problem of
reversibility in G. Noé¹s Irréversible. In the Easter Eggs, he considers
Dominique Laporte¹s ³the Irreparable,² as the object of loss and Giorgio
Agamben¹s ³the Irreparable,² as hope in what is without remedy. The result
is not another film-studies book, but a new genre, a new set of rhetorics,
for new ways of thinking about cinematics, perhaps postcinematics.
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