By Santiago Fouz-Hernández
Borrowing its name from Gregg Araki’s 2005 movie, during which the camera’s contemplation of the male physique encourages us to suppose that physique, and protecting a extensive span of matters and movies, Mysterious dermis deals a much broader, extra consultant photograph of the depiction of the male physique in modern international cinemas than has hitherto been tried. a world array of significant specialists discover the therapy of masculinity and the male physique within the cinemas of Africa, Australia, China, France, Germany, nice Britain, India, North the United States, Spain, Taiwan and Vietnam, in addition to Hollywood. Their universal difficulty is to bare how the illustration of the male physique is utilized in movies to express a country’s anxieties approximately its nationwide identification and background, in addition to the way it engages with questions of racial, sexual or gender politics. They speak about key actors, administrators and movies of those nations, from Ewan MacGregor in Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow booklet, during the movies of Wong Kar Wai, to Paul Hogan as Mick Dundee in Crocodile Dundee. In so doing, Mysterious dermis additionally presents a powerful evaluation of significant cinema produced all over the world within the final two decades.
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Additional resources for Mysterious Skin: Male Bodies in Contemporary Cinema
However, Lukas’s interest in Taxi Driver is rather derivative; he chose it, he tells his date, because his sister said it was good. Lukas’s identity seems, even when lucid, to be strangely unformed and indistinct. He is simultaneously ‘average’ and without character. Das weiße Rauschen is, in my view, both a sensitive depiction of a young man’s fall into the nightmare of schizophrenia and an allegory of contemporary German national identity and masculinity. Lukas’s radical lack of orientation, his indistinct 31 32 MYSTERIOUS SKIN identity and the lack of male authority figures who might offer a usable model for ‘normal’ masculinity parallel the schism I have described in the German desire for normalcy.
Jewish actors changed their names, as their Jewish bosses considered that their predominantly white and working-class audiences did not want to watch Jews on screen. This period encapsulated what Sander Gilman has called ‘the desire for invisibility, the desire to become “white”’ (1991: 235). The two major exceptions to this general invisibility were The Jazz Singer (1927) and Crossfire (1947). Yet, even here, in the former film’s depiction of Al Jolson playing an Orthodox Jew seeking to assimilate into the wider American culture by rejecting the ways of his cantor father and adopting the profession of singing jazz in blackface, it is the desire to become hidden that is noticeable.
But few present as interesting a take on the male Jewish body as Lucky Number Slevin (2006). The film presents much paradoxical juxtaposition which plays on the traditional cinematic representations of Jews. Shlomo ‘the Rabbi’ (Ben Kingsley), is the neurotic leader of a Hasidic criminal gang. He is a rabbi who would rather be a gangster and a gangster who would rather be a rabbi. Although he is a soidisant ‘bad man’, like Walter he is also a practising Orthodox Jew who will not answer the telephone on Shabbat.
Mysterious Skin: Male Bodies in Contemporary Cinema by Santiago Fouz-Hernández