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January 1997, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
HR Greenberg <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 18 Jan 1997 07:37:48 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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my thanks to all who have responded so far to my requests for info on
I believe the film is deliberately playing with kitsch conventions in aid of
advancing Von Trier's discovery of grace. He's apparently a recent convert to
Catholicism; one senses in interviews a reasonably wild, tormented past, and
a current process of settling down. It's not unlikely that Jan is his avatar
(have not been able to discover info about his Bess, family life, children,
so forth). This is not so simplistic as it sounds, or so I hope to prove.
Rafferty had a real skeptical postmodern jones about BTS; I suspect he cannot
grasp the authenticity of the director's conversion and how this has been
elaborated; using kitsch as a vehicle to transcend kitsch; much the way the
conventional pieties of the village which Bess has embraced cannot contain
the opening out of her deeper religious experience (and eventually Jan's).
The citations of Dreyer and Fellini are honorrable, meaningful. I thoroughly
concur with Mike Frank's acute remarks about the un-pornographic register of
the sexual scenes. We're not looking at DeMille "sermons and tits" here.
Scoffers would do well to take a second look.
I gather no one out there had my experience of motion sickness from the combo
of swish/whip panning and closup?
Thanks again for your help; the review when it's finished will eventually
appear in PROJECTIONS, the recently organized journal of the Forum for the
Psychoanalytic Study of Film. Anybody who doesn't subscribe and wants a MS
copy, please give me your snail mail address.
Von Trier's conversion.
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