Skip to content

“Digesting the Image: Carnal Appetites in the Films of Bigas Luna”: Abstract of SCMS 2012 Paper. Abigail Loxham, Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland

2012 September 24
by aloxham

This paper looks at the representation of carnal pleasure in the films of Catalan director Bigas Luna. The artistic project of this prolific filmmaker and artist is typified by an interrogation of boundaries and the possibility of their transgression. In this paper the nexus of consumption of and by the body, as it relates to our consumption of the image, locates a further interrogation of boundaries. The permeability of the body in the act of eating is related here to a Catalan cultural tradition of Bahktinian excess which, in its threat to the frontiers of the body, also posits a threat to the established (hegemonic Spanish) cultural order.
This mode of representation develops through an awareness of the body not only on-screen but through embodied spectatorship. Drawing on the work of Vivian Sobchack and Elspeth Probyn this paper highlights food’s ambivalent relationship to the subject and calls for a rethinking of subjectivity through the depiction of epicurean excess. A cinematic technique, which focuses on the less salubrious aspects of our somatic existence, promotes a discomfort which acknowledges the breaking down of distance between self and other, on-screen and off-screen. This porosity of the body is best represented by food and in these films it is also related to sexual relationships. Bigas Luna’s approach, therefore, goes some way to subvert the concept of a national identity as separate and clearly defined, and tentatively broaches the ethics of an embodied approach to the moving image text.

One Response leave one →
  1. srust permalink*
    September 26, 2012


    Terrific post. Thanks so much for sharing this on the site. In fact, Mark Bernard has just posted a CFP for a special issue of THE PROJECTOR on food and film that might be a great venue for you to expand your paper into an article.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS