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1 THE UNCANNY MISE EN SCNE IN LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD VOYAGE IN ITALY A THE BELLY OF AN ARCHITECT By PETER R. GITTO A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UN IVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Peter R. Gitto
3 To my parents
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my extended family, and thank especially those who hav e generously supported me financially throughout my education: My father and mother and my grandparents, Robert and Ruby Welborn and Col. Peter P. Gitto. I thank my brother Andy for watching many subtitled films with me. I thank Prof. Richard Burt, my t hesis chair, and Prof. Barbara Mennel, my reader, for guidance in the project. I also thank Prof. Eric Kligerman for his excellent seminar out of which this project began.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 6 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 7 LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD: THE UNCA NNY SPACE OF MEMORY ....................... 12 VOYAGE IN ITALY: UNCANNY SITES ................................ ................................ ......... 27 THE BELLY OF AN ARCHITECT: THE UNCANNY BODY ................................ ........... 33 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 46 Filmography ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 47 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 48
6 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements fo r the Degree of Master of Arts THE UNCANNY MISE EN LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD VOYAGE IN ITALY THE BELLY OF AN ARCHITECT By Peter R. Gitto December 2012 Chair: Richard Burt Major: English This thesis is a close reading and synthesis o f three European art films: Alain Last Year at Marienbad ( L'Anne dernire Marienbad 1961), Roberto Voyage in Italy ( Viaggio in Italia The Belly of an Architect (1987). The films exhibit an uncanny mi se en scne which serves to reveal character psychology. This paper analyzes elements of the mise en scne, such as on site setting, sets, dcor, camera work, and properties, and their relationship to the aesthetic of these films, which in various ways exhibits repetition, the double, and the return of repressed thoughts. In the films, I discuss instances of the body, architecture, space, memory, and repetition and reproduct ion of art.
7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Last Year at Marienbad ( L'Anne dernire Marienbad 1961), Voyage in Italy ( Viaggio in Italia The Belly of an Architect ( 1987) each presents a mise en sc ne that plays an especially important role in the film. In the three films, I ana lyze elements of the mise en sc ne, such as setting, camera work, and properties, and their relationship to the presentation of charac ter psychology. The mise en sc ne se rves to reveal character psychology; especially in Marienbad for example, it reveals more psychology than the characters en scnes; In order to define this aesthetic category. Of the elements that Freud defines as signifiers of the uncanny, repetition and the occurrence of the double are most useful in understanding en scnes. The three narrative films that I discuss have weak, almost banal plots. In these development lies in its mise en Voyage to Italy in his book Roberto Rosselli ni is particularly helpful in understanding at large the three Viaggio to be very important in my work. It was a film which rested on something very subtle the variations in a under the influence of a third person: the exterior world en scne to be a third character in the film. He suggests that mise en scne becomes as important as a main character in a n arrative film, and in so doing, suggests a subordination of plot to
8 mise en True, but ra ther, I argue that in Voyage and the other two films, the psychological en scnes. The mise en scne reveals character psychology where character action fails to show it, but it also a esthetically moves the films forward. By this I mean that, in being such an important element in the films, the mise en scne provides the impetus, the formal aspect, which gives the films their raison that car dramatic situation must devise a formal alternative to the dramatic plot, another kind of structure adequate to the demands of the concrete image and able to give the film its move en scne serves to carry the movement in the absence of strong plot development and its reliance on character drama as in traditional narrative film. With their reliance on mise en scne rather than drama to create interest, the films are thus more cinematic and less theatrical. The uncanny nature of the mise en scnes particularly impels the forward experiences it (Freud, 125). If, through the mise en scne, the films display the uncanny, then they also move through anxiety as an e motion and project anxiety onto the spectator. The uncanny mise en scnes produce spaces of anxiety that the characters inhabit and navigate through and produce anxiety in both the characters and the spectators. In this, the films reveal a fundamental tenant of modernity: a tendency
9 for modern life to be permeated in anxiety because of the conditions of modernity the decline of stable communities and the rise of uncertainty. While the main characters in the films -the woman A and man X in Marienbad Katherine in Voyage and Kracklite in Belly -choose to be abroad, t hese environments cause them feel alienated within the foreign communities but also cause a rupture in their significant relationships with the other characters in the films: the woman A with man X and man M in Marienbad Katherine with her husband Alex in Voyage and Kracklite with his wife Louisa in Belly The decline of stable communities creates isolation, and although the main characters are surrounded by people, they are psychologically isolated within themselves through their alienation in their for eign environments. In Marienbad elements of the mise en sc ne, particularly setting and camera work, carry the film rather than narrativ e or character. The mise en sc ne carries the emotion, as the characters often act deadpan. We hear very little di alogue that explains their emotional states and we are presented with very little background information about the characters. With the names A, M, and X, the characters are like variables in an algebraic equation. Each character plays a certain role, bu t beyond that, they are not distinguishable from the other quests at the hotel. In all, the actors ar e really part of the mise en sc ne; they are fixtures within the hotel. Voyage makes use of the narrative trope wherein a foreign environment provide s the impetus for character change. In Voyage the settings, specifically the various sites in Naples that Katherine visits which punctuate the film, serve to bring about her experience of the uncanny. The sites she visits are uncanny in themselves and c ause
10 Katherine anxiety which brings about a personal experience of the uncanny, a psychological welling up of repressed emotions. In Belly physical deterioratio n. Kracklite struggl es with a dialectic between architecture and the body in his attempt to achieve a personal legacy. A dense, ar tistic, and symbolic mise en sc ne Belly His mise en sc nes are carefully composed, often filled wit h artwork and various textures, from marble to fabrics, and make use of color schemes and symmetric compositions. I use the notion of the Freudian uncanny as a tool to understand the use of visual and narrative repetition in the films and the aesthetic effect this repetition creates. anxiety. Freud identifies repetition as one of the main elements of the uncanny and the films present repetition in various w ays. In Marienbad repetition in details of the setting and narrative events serve to create a feeling of the uncanny. In Voyage the film Belly Kracklite employs repetition an d reproduction of images in order to stave off death. His body becomes uncanny to him, strangely familiar, as his stomach illness is at first inexplicable and obsesses him. The uncanny is that which is strangely familiar. Narratively, each of the three they are abroad and the alienation that the protagonist experiences. As he or she is abroad, the protagonist experiences the foreign, and in turn, this environment causes the protagonist to beco me a foreigner to him or herself.
11 en scnes each express prominence of a certain mode of artistic style: in Marienbad it is the baroque, in Voyage the classical, and in Belly the neoclassical. The order that I discuss the films fits with the chronological development of these styles baroque, classical, and neoclassical. I begin my discussion of the films with Marienbad whose mise en scne emphasizes set de cor and intricate camera work which create a hermetic world that is the Mar ien bad hotel and which signify th e limits of the diegesis. I then move to Voyage where repetition of setting the uncanny sites that Katherine visits in Naples experience of the uncanny. The locations are f ilmed on site, in the neorealist style that Rossellini developed earlier in his career. The onsite locations open this film more to the outside world than the totally hermetic Marienbad yet Voyage is portrayed almost as filtered through the cons ciousness of the heroine. I t Finally, we move north to Rome in Belly were setting plays an important part, but in a different way than Voyag e In Belly the Roman setting is infused with the deliberate placement of properties, such as architectural models that copy buildings in the real world setting. Of the three films, Belly is most in dialogue with the real world, with Rome, yet so to it holds back through its carefully constructed mise en scne, create a distance from reality and reveal a constructed nature.
12 CHAPTER 2 LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD : THE UNCA NNY SPACE OF MEMORY Last Year at Marienbad takes place at a luxurious hotel, which was once a palace. The screenplay labels the three main characters of the film as the woman A, the man X, and the man M. They remain nameless in the actual film. Man X tr ies to convince the woman A that they met and had a n affair last year. 1 He tries to convince her to run husband M, although we are never certain of their exact relationship; they could be film does indeed tak e place in Marienbad. 2 Thus, the French guests are abroad. The world of Marienbad is stagnant. Character X, in voiceover, de scribes the th ornamentation d bedrooms exhibit an excess of ornamentation; gilded designs cover the walls and ceilings, leaving no surface plain. The statues that line these extensive corridors are forever frozen, haunti ng, and observing. They watch the aristocratic guests, but at the same time, the guests become statues thems elves, as the camera freezes the characters as they mingle after a theater pic that would cause excitement. 1 Roy ght to a sense of the uncanny, of the foreign. 2 Armes points out that the palace/hotel only exists in the film, as the mise en sc ne is a composite of three baroque castles: Nymphenburg, Schleissheim, and Amalienburg (111).
13 play t heir card games in silence. As the main characters move languidly through the hotel, the other guests stand motionless in clusters much like the stone statues that decorate the halls. The camera freezes them in their wealth induced ennui; they dress eleg antly for the evening and become fixtures analogous to the surrounding architecture. Resnais presents the warped, sick nature of the European elite idling their time at the hotel. While the mise en scne does not suggest this, that is, we see no clinicians, it does over warns that there is no escape from the hotel. Pauline Kael, in her humor Dressed As the Sick Soul of In this way, the hotel is a Versailles serv ed as model for the palace at Marienbad. A strong correlation in terms of environment exists between the nobility who resided at Versailles under Louis XIV and the guests at Ma suggests that the leisu re of the aggregated nobility under Louis XIV has continued. Now residing Versailles continues in its warped form. Like the guests at Marienbad, the gathered nobility at V ersailles passed the time through daily ritual entertainments such as playing card games, dancing, attending plays, going to shooting galleries, and walking in the gardens. Louis XIV left this legacy to the twentieth century, where for the aristocratic M arienbad guests this leisure is a horror the repetition has produced
14 extreme ennui, a loss of vitality, and stagnation. However, Marienbad ritual of di ning: we never see any guests eating. In this way, they are ghosts, not requiring an shadows in the garden. en scne. The organ music that see also Feeney). At points the score swells to reveal moments of interiorized horror. It swells to a demented, repetitive motif before that had the cold spell? In one scene of ballroom dancing, the organ accompanies with a demented waltz, the gues ts dancing mechanically and stilted. The music comes to a halt, and the guests stop dancing at once: dropping their arms and separating from each other. In another instance, X and A attend a concert o f two string diegetic organ music. Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture helps to explain Last Year at Marienbad en sc ne. Vidler quotes art historian Heinrich Wolfflin on the affect of the baroque: The momentary impact of the baroque is powerful, but soon leaves us with a certain sense of desolation. It does not convey a state of present happiness, but a feeling of anticipation, o f something yet to come, of dissatisfaction and restlessness rather than fulfillment. We have no sense of release, but rather of having been drawn into the tension of an emotional condition. (89) At Marienbad, the guests came to relax, but the baroque o rnamentation is
15 design. V aroque e xemplify the mise en sc are painted so as to show depth which is not there, mainly through the use of shadows. Visually, we are tricked into seeing more space than is re ally there. Vidler describes the freedom from limits, but thus equally of anxiety, ambigui ty and disturbance, distortion and not through physical contact, so the seeming truth about the space is confirmed through the eye. This trick expansion of space th us creates the expansion of anxiety, as In addition to the anxiety produced by the baroque ornamentation, agoraph obia is also central to understanding the role the formal gardens play in the film writing concerning agoraphobia in Warped Space helps to explain its representation in the film. Vidler cites the spatial emptiness, as embodied in constructed spaces, s uch as sensitive to these spatial voids. The empty space attacks the participant, whenever he or she must cross a public square or walk down a deserted street. The partic ipant projects that the empty space must be filled. One cannot do that with his or her body, and thus one attempts to fill the void with psychological projections, usually projecting
16 negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, or sometimes projecting desi re. Vidler space not surrounded by houses than in a space of the same size in a city: open nature made, deliberately delineated spaces as a source of anxiety. Paris into wide boulevards did away with much of the claustrophobia of narrow streets and tangled alleyways, but replaced this with spaces that cause agoraphobia for some people. The synthetic nature of these delineations cause unbounded space to be captured, and to seemingly sit brooding, stagnant, waiting for the weak soul to pass by, furniture, pictures, statu ettes, and old tapestries to reduce their spaciousness. She attempting to fill the space with objects and attempting to reduce the void which causes her anxiety. tions of space and anxiety help to explain the outdoor formal gardens in the film They are not weighted down by the unceasing arabesques that characterize the interior of the hotel, but nevertheless, the outdoors carry a tension of their own, namely in t heir defining of empty space. We note the possibility of woodlands surrounding the hotel and formal gardens, yet what we see at their edges are carefully placed trees that block our view of any possibility of the natural. In the garden, we see
17 nature, bu t it has been strangled into submission in the form of cone shaped topiaries, spherical bushes, and rectangular hedges. The hedges are regularly spaced, and line a broad gravel avenue, with smaller paths to the side and around a circular reflecting pond. When X pursues A with his memories of what happened last year, she hurries nature, but the formal gardens provide no res pite. There, she fills the garden with her psych ological projections. The large expanse of the garden, of this delineated empty Let us consider the scene in deta il. In the hotel, X speaks to A about her past out to the terrace and the image of the formal gardens strikes her We see a shot of the gardens in over exposure, and thus with a hazy white overlay. When we and A see the garden image, the music score climaxes with large, frightful chords from the organ. We see the wide gravel corridor in the garden, eerily white from over exposure. T he corridor continues straight to its vanishing point. A is struck not only by this empty space, but also by its extension into infinity. She is confronted with an infinite space in which to project her anxieties and desires. After the shot of the garde n, the camera swings to the left 180 degrees in a rapid, blurred movement to capture A as she swoons against the wall, her hand resting on her fore head as if overwhelmed by the glaring image. This shot too is slightly overexposed, and A, in her white dres s, fades into the white wall. This shot/ reverse shot produced
18 Camerawork, an element of the mise en scne, rather than editing, produces this effect. At the end of the f ilm, A elopes with X -we get a full view of the back of the hotel in the night as seen from the gardens. Only a few windows of the hotel are lit. X narrates his voiceover in past tense, focusing on the details of the gardens that were : devoid of trees, flowers, or any kind of vegetation gravel, stone, marble and straight lines marked out rigid spaces, areas devoid of mystery. At first glance, it seemed impossible to lose your way At first glance. Down straight paths, between statues with frozen gestur es and granite slabs where even now you were losing your way, forever, in the still ness of the night alone with me (qtd. from film) We hear this first description of the garden at the end of the film, while visually the garden is in the dark, serving as a framing device for the hotel. On the other hand, at ration about the hotel in voice over with tracking shots of its interior halls and room details. Thus there is a reflexivity of content at the beg inning and end of the film. However, at the end, the voiceover description is denied the optic; we and A have become blind in the night. The garden becomes a more ambiguous presence in the night, at the end of the film. It is present, yet veiled in dark his voiceover seemingly conquers the once overbearing space of the formal gardens; to use language, to name and label controls and gives dominion over the space. It devoid of vegetation, marked by rock and inorganic rigid spaces. It is a dead space where there should be life. In the voiceover, we sense the centrality of the garden, as embodied in
19 after fighting wit h M, she is in her room and looks out the window onto the gardens. Here, the organ music swells, intensifying the scene. She moves away from the window and walks around the room, hugging the walls and large mirrors. Elsewhere X notes that she has a view of the garden from her room. For A, the garden is this external, eternal presence representing a threat to her stability. It is the blank canvas on which she projects her fears and desires. The play of memory and space is central to the film. X a assignation last year. There is consensus between the characters as to the existence of a mirror above the vanity, but is the second mirror above the firepla ce or the chest? Is there a mirror above the fireplace or a tableau? Resnais depicts both of these scenarios in various flashbacks, or one could argue that the time of these scenarios that in the past, present, or future. And further, was A wearing a white feathered dress or a black one? Again, we are presented with both scenarios. In one instance, X asks A to remember the room in order to remember the experience highlighting the importa nce of the space as embodying the event, and thus triggering the memory. He asks her to remember details resists these questions, as she wants to deny their meeting last year and the remembrance of a detail may provoke a flood of memories that she has repressed. But let us focus on the room as a physical space that embo dies memory. Sometimes we see different rooms: both rooms are baroque in style, but one is much more he avily
20 ornate with arabesque designs on the walls and molding while the other is much more ornamentally simplistic. Marienbad leaves us with many ambiguities. We see the importance of space in constituting memory in the ambiguity of the room(s) in which the assignation between X and A took place. In addition, we see a scene in the room where M shoots A. The room is central to the memory of what took place there, and at the same time, the room that X and A each conceive of the room differently in their conversation about it. However, when we see scenes in the room, we cannot ascribe most of them to a particular viewpoint, or even to a particular time frame. So we see the embodiment of memory (or action, if we are not sure of its placement in time) as taking place in a specific space. The space is what ambiguous. Some critics have seen the film as revolving Robbe ude it (Leutrat, 54). 3 Many of t e last year at the hotel bar, which has room with her in it. The flashes, or shots, of the white room elongate in suc cession and depict to the surface of consciousness. Through these flashes, A drops her glass, it shatters, and all attention gravitates to her. Action ceases in order to focus on the servant picking up the glass. The reading is even more 3 Jefferson Kline argues for the centrality of the rape scene in his Screening the Text: Intertextuality in New Wave French Cinema
21 complex: there is inconsistency whe room is fully bright, not night at all. Between the cuts from the bar to the white room, the camera moves from right to left during t he bar scene shots. It first focuses on X, then frames both X and A, t The editing suggests that first it is X who conjures the image, transfers it to A, and then A accepts it as true. In the white room, A screams as X approaches her. We get a similar inst ance when A, in contemplation of the past event, lets out a horrid scream and all attention is on her. The broken glass, the screams, and in addition the motif of broken high heel shoes, point to a symbolism of rape and violence. From the bar scene, the flashes elongate in duration, and we are left with a shot of A in her room while she contemplates a pile of her high heels, perhaps some of which are broken. This links thematically with two separate scenes of A walking in the gardens with a broken heel. In both, she holds the broken shoe while she stumbles along the path with her other shoe intact. If we consider the possibility of rape, then through this Whatever may have transpired, in the film we and the characters only have access to memory, cover this repressed memory (15). We see this ambiguity working in the two scenes of A in the garden. In one scene we see her walking away from the hotel: she holds her broken he el, and stumbles along looking disheveled she is alone and it is windy and cloudy, hardly a day to be outside.
22 The second scene occurs later in the film. This time, X accompanies her on a sunny day. He assists her when her heel breaks, and they walk bac k to the hotel together. Scene one could be seen as a memory of her fleeing the hotel after the rape or assignation in her room. This memory is conceived in her present fear of X. On the other hand, scene two could be seen as a memory constructed out of her desire to elope with X, leaving M. If read in this way, the detail of the event, the broken shoe, is carried over into this screen memory. The possible rape is suppressed in her desire to er situation. Her desire to elope may simply be predicated on the notion that the escape will provide excitement in an otherwise stagnant existence, as embodied in life at the hotel. Memories haunt the hotel in Marienbad ; the film portrays the hotel as an uncanny house. The hotel situates itself within the realm of the uncanny by its presence as temporary, perennial home for its guests. Many of the guests come to the hotel every summer, year after year, and stay for a good deal of time. It is like a sec ond house for its guests, yet there is no heimisch, or feel of the homey. O n the contrary, the hotel is a place of the unheimlich, the uncanny. Freud traces the entymology of unheimlich and notes the shift when the homely becomes unhomely; that point whe n the home (133). Vidler describes the uncanny as that which would be sinister, disturbing, suspect, strange; it would be characterized ving its force from its very inexplicability, its sense of lurking unease, rather than from any clearly defined source of fear an uncomfortable sense of haunting rather than a present apparition ( The Architectural Uncanny 23) In Marienbad, the film prese
23 The film is marked by repetition, which Freud identifies as one of the major aspects of the experience of the unca nny (143 5). I n the mise en sc ne, repetition abounds in the paintings and wall murals that decorate the hotel. P ainti ngs of the formal gardens decorate idea that there is no longer an inside or an outside, o nly spaces imbricated in each the garden, down its rows, then pans to the left to show the hotel corridor, linking the two spaces. In one scene, we see two guests pla ying checkers in front of a wall mural that depicts a checker ti led court reproduced mise en abi me. In many scenes, the camera captures characters only through their reflection in mirrors. In one scene, when A is in her room, her image is captured throug h her reflection in two mirrors: she faces the vanity mirror, and the vanity mirror reflects onto the mirror above the fireplace. The camera captures the image of the mirror above the fireplace. The repetition that marks the film speaks to repetition co mpulsion and its res her to agree to escaping both of their minds) rape comes to the surface as A prods her to remember. She has repressed the experience through the year away from Mari enbad, and it resurfaces Schelling, 148). A wishes for the past to remain hid den, and her anx iety comes from
24 this uneasiness with the past. The stylistic repetition in the film indicates a repetition compulsion in which: T not been understood inevitably reappears; like an unlaid ghost, it cannot rest until the mystery has been solved and the spell broken Both of the main characters attempt a certain mastery over the situation and over the past, although this happens every year at Marienbad; last year in Marienbad occurs forever. With the beginning voice over, the camera first tracks across the trompe ceilings, then close up ov impact through its use of repetition. Later, the camera tracks through the hallways, and registers the architectural repetition in columns, light fixtures, doorways, decorative statues, and potted palms. 4 As well, the exterior architecture is based largely on repetition. which describes the hotel repeats multiple times. His voiceover begins en media res, first as a whisper, as if it has been cycling f or eternity. At the introduction of the film, the voice is disembodied; we have not yet seen X. We notice two elements: disembodied voice, and the two are not necessarily linked together. The ownership of gaze is in question; Jean of the uncanny is at play here as the camera plays the role of the automaton, the machine as pseudo entity; it ha 4 Stanley The Shining owes much to Marienbad Its tracking shots down the hotel allude to Marienbad and create a sense of the uncanny, prefiguring and setting up the scenes of horror.
25 devices for producing slightly uncanny effects through story telling is to leave the reader Marienbad we can see the camera as bearer of the uncanny. It is automaton par excellence, as machine having the po wer of movement and observation, as classical editing attempts to hide the uncanniness of film, Last Year in Marienbad brings the filmic experience of the uncanny to the fore. In another instance, the c amera plays host to the uncanny through the doubling of motif in the Freudian uncanny (Freud, 141 3). In one scene, X and A mingle with the other guests. The camera ide ntifies them standing together, then slowly pans 180 degrees to the right, leaving their presence. The camera pans across the guests, only to reveal X standing in another location, while he watches A come through a portal at a position 180 degrees from th while its gaze is occupied with capturing the other guests. In this way, their seeming s gaze creates a doppelganger effect; they are present in two shot. T. Jefferson Kline argues that the play within the film mirrors the events in the Rosmer Rosmersholm which deals with rape and incest (72 5). The man in the play, speaking
26 to the woman, seemingly describes the hotel and its guests to the guests who are till, silent, perhaps long dead people still guarding the web of advancements towards A. Robbe Within the room, t here are successive, repetitive shots of the camera tracking towards A with her arms outstretched, her head cocked to the side, with a grimacing smile, almost clown The accumulation of unc anny elements in the mise en sc ne and repetitive plot elements leads to an understated sense of horror that pervades the film. It conveys a horror of entrapment, of eternal return, of repetitive aimlessness, the horror of people, -comfortable around M either.
27 CHAPTER 3 VOYAGE IN ITALY: UNC ANNY SITES Voyage in Italy Last Year in Marienbad While the baroq ue marks Marienbad en sc ne, the Neapolitan classical style marks Voyage. However, as Katherine visits the classical, pre Christian sites of Naples, her experience becomes successively strange, baroque, and leads to her psychological breakdown at the excavation site at Pompeii. In Voyage in Italy a British couple, the Joyces, Alex (George Sanders) and They are foreigners to each other in a foreign land as and Pompeii places that loom over the narrative and contribute t development. At the house after lunch, they lounge in the sun on the expansive patio, away from the tumult of the Naples streets. The patio has a compl ete view of the surrounding landscape but is detached from the inner city throngs. In h er discussion of the film, on the grand, incomparable view, but in the heart of the cit y noise, rags, dirt, torrents of the grand vistas and contrary dismay at Katherine see in Naples; Alex is not interested in accompanying her. In the film, she and we largely view the tumult of inner city Naples through her car windows, still a relatively protected space. It is more of an experience
28 than remaining on the patio, yet we never see her walking the streets or interacting with the locals. The Bentley she d rives remains a safe haven for the tourist, who finds the East. There is no s ign of European quarters in this uncolonized, rather Katherine travels first to the National Museum in Naples, where she encounters its Greek and Roman statues. Here, the camera moves fluidly, encircling them. In a striking shot/ reverse shot, a statue of a young discus thrower confronts Katherine face piercing eyes. In the reverse shot, coming off the shot of Katherine, the camera tilts up of these statues: their bodies of dark marble with severe white eyes. Her next destination, the caves at Cumae, signify a palimpsest, a layering of multiple purposes, from Greek settlement, to Christian catacombs, to Saracean for tress mingle ghosts of history in the air: the history of the location is at once present, and at 108). Later while driving to the Church of the Fontanelle, Katherine comments on the many expectant mothers she sees on the Naples streets In contrast, Katherine has no children, and she wonders if what did not keep her and
29 Alex together was that she did not have a child. After this, Katherine and we experience the Church of the Fontanelle, and its archive of the dead: the physical rows of skulls and piles of bones. This ossuary, or charnel house, suggests a layered his tory, but presents the bones from many generations in one location, in one glance. This archive of the dead does not reveal itself gradual ly, but overwhelms Katherine, and sets the stage for her experience at Pompeii. So too on the streets of Naples, do w e see a fluidity between life and death. skeletons literally punctuate street corners. In the city of Naples, one encounters death of barriers, between life and death, public and private, are foreign to Katherine and cause her anxiety. Freud the uncanny, states, uncertainty: the uncertai nty caused by the fluidity between life and death in Naples culture leads to her experience of the uncanny. seeing takes place at an excavation site on Pompeii, where the archaeologists fill with plaster the hollow space that has been left decayed. Thus at the core of the film there lies an empty space, a space casted by what was once there, the Pompeian man and woman, who died suddenly at the
30 archaeologists to fill it to bring the couple back to spatial existence, but at the same time, Katherine fills the empty space with her own anxieties her anxieties ab out her possible divorce, her lack of connection, her feelings of isolation and ostracization in Naples brought about by its uncanny sites and attractions. For the Pompeiians, Vesuvius was an uncanny threat in that it created an aesthetic of anxiety, that is, it created a way of life that was controlled by the anxiety of possible eruption. every level, from the implicit horror of the domestic to the revelations of mysteries, religious an The Architectural Uncanny 48). In addition, [ancient] population, tied to the economic benefits and the pleasures of the volcanic landscape, lived i n perpetual fear of Vesuvius, and an array of cults and superstitions has always been rif Vesuvius could erupt a t any moment; t he Pompeiians were always in a game of life and death In Voyage to Italy we see he subterranean, in a sense digging up graves, we have the disturbance mummified couple who seemingly want to be left in peace (and in a sense, they are revivified in their plaster reconstructions). The unveiling of the Pompeian couple works much like the experience of the uncanny when the psyche is disrupted, when things locked away in the unconscious begin to come to the surface. This can explain is
31 physical representation is a parallel to a rupture in t has been building up to this her previous a ctivities have hinted at this. T he visits to the staring sculptures, Cumae, and La Fontanelle have gradually weakened her reserve to keep her unwanted thoughts -about herself, Alex, and t heir relationship from coming to the surface. The mummified couple is We can see this change of the meaning of the double in the film. At first, one could see the preservation of the Through her indepe ndent site seeing, Katherine becomes increasi ngly disturbed. Rossellini shows Katherine experiences, it is being abroad that causes her to feel foreign to herself in her own skin; the displ acement in the foreign causes an uncanny experience when the familiar becomes strange. In her book on the uncanny, Anneleen Masschelein points to teaches us that the s tranger is not someone who threatens us from the outside; rather the stranger is inside us and our identity is always already contaminated from the non European outsid ers, the British Katherine in Naples is an outsider nevertheless. By traveling, although still in Europe, sh e displaces herself, and this displacement allows
32 h stra ngely familiar (123 34). After the Joyces see the plaster couple, they return to Naples and get caught in a religious procession in the center of town. Katherine declares her hate for Alex then a crowd violently sweeps her away, they call to each other, a nd Alex comes to her rescue. With this, they have a change of heart, and decide to stay together. This surge of life, yet of bodies and custom s strange to the Joyces, leads to this turning point. The procession is as frightening and strange to the Joyc es as the excavation of the Pompeian couple. Frozen death marks the excavation site while the procession is chaotic life, but both are as alien to the Joyces as they are to each other. They are alone, as a pair, in the sweep of the crowd. Several times, the camera focuses with a medium shot on the couple, then a crane shot sweeps the camera away from them into the crowd one form of isolation replaces another, but in so doing, draws the couple together. The movement of the crowd in the procession and the sweeping spatial separation provides the impetus for their final union at the end of the film. The dialogue here is largely melodramatic, seemingly implausible. Ros sellini closes the film abruptly. a miracle. Rossellini brings us away from the pagan sites that Katherine has previously visited and immerses her in a Christian ritual, in essence mitigating her previous doubts and anxieties by surrounding her in the balm of the religion of the day.
33 CHAPTER 4 THE BELLY OF AN ARCH ITECT: THE UNCANNY B ODY Similarly to Voyage in Italy The Belly of an Architect depi cts an Anglo couple abroad in Italy and their dissolving relationship. In The Belly of a n Architect the American architect Stourley Kracklite and his wife, Louisa, travel to Rome for an extended stay so Kracklite can work and open an exhibition on the wo rks of the French neo classical architect Etienne Louis Boulle (1728 99). In the film, Kracklite Caspasian, and Kracklite slowly loses his grip on the exhibition producti on, his wife, and his health. The film explores the relationship between architecture and the body, as any original work. The film revolves around presenting images of reproduction in art -in architectural ranscendence. The reproductions are dead copies from the source. For example, the xeroxed copies of as gone through so many media of representation -sculpture, photography, the postcard, and isolated and enlarged Xerox copies that the impetus of reproduction, of mimesis, is inverted. That is, if reproduction and mimesis attempt to capture or revivify th e original, multiple signify a dead representation, which he places over his deteriorating stomach, and
34 At the beginning of the film, the camera frames the dinner party; the guests are seated on one side of the table, facing the camera, banquet style. Kracklite sits in the middle framed directly with the obelisk and Pantheon in the background. Waiters bring to th e table a large white Cenotaph for Isaac Newton (1784). Its dome, a half sphere, is surrounded by lit candles. Like all of n shrouded in darkness, and the candle lit dome of the cake model reproduces the consumed a nd will enter the belly, another dome like shape (more rotund on some than others). Kracklite is portly, and the stomach pains that he begins to experience in Rome will grow more acute and all but consume him. 5 Kracklite stands up to give a speech on beh alf of the project for the exhibition, and thus we have three domes and an early dark. The cenotaph is a funerary monument; its design is white outside, while the i nterior is a perfect, darkened sphere -not unlike the interior of a belly. 6 is meant to be placed at the nadir of the sphere, while the zenith points to the heavens. The cake mirrors this: its interior is a dark chocolate cake. Amy Lawrenc e observes that 5 Louisa becomes pregnant, so we see another growing belly. 6 Other spaces in the film are belly like: Amy Lawrence obser room where Stourley works [is] an unearthly space seemingly situated in the bowels of
35 Kracklite symbolically consumes the funerary, and thus sets in motion his eventual demise. Indeed, that night after dinner, he has his first case of in digestion which will progressively worsen to be diagnosed as stomach cancer. The motifs of architecture and food carry the broader theme of internalization of space (eating architecture, as in the cake model), and the relationship between architecture an such as the two dinner scenes in front of the Pantheon and lunch in the Victor Emmanuel Monument. In the lu nch scene, figs sit atop a reproduction of the coliseum as a table centerpiece. Kracklite mentions that Chicago, where he is from, has the most on of the funerary cake inverts the nutritious; food leads to death. opening mise en The Last Supper language will a llude to the crucifix later in the film, and here, he sits in the middle of the table as Christ sits in The Last Supper It is a miniature Last Supper, as six sit around Kracklite, rather than twelve disciples. As well, we see Caspasian, the traitor who will steal Louisa away from Kracklite, in the position of Judas at the table. Although, it could be argued that many of the Italians in the film are generally unfriendly and traitorous to Kracklite personally and to his goals for the exhibition, so there are multiple Judases.
36 coming across a drawing by Boulle when I was 10 years old. It reminded me, I must to outlast deat h. Yet we see the Roman ruins in the film: architectural fragments that testify to the eventu al decomposition of all forms. Buildings will decompose like the and thus is mistaken for being immortal However, Caspetti remarks architecture than they ever would brand new. What you ca Ancient Roman architecture, particularly, and its parent, Ancient Grecian architecture, physically, all buildings will decompose. Green a way no activities and time scale of man thus it may seem immortal (qtd. Otswald, 145). According to Douglas Keesey, i immortality of the indivi dual soul from death, the great leveler. The closer the (57). Keesey d or eternal life, mausoleums for his flesh, and eventually, ruins that destroy the dream of architectural transcendence, proving that brick and stone 7). Keesey expresses the dialectic between architecture and the body. If the body is mortal, then the corpse can reside in this inorganic structure decompose.
37 Perhaps architecture that embraces platonic geometric forms, which many of e conceived his architecture as a function of Pla tonic forms now it is probable that the building most admired in Europe for its geometrical perfectio n is the Pantheon in Rome: a per fect sphere within perfect cylinder. This rationality, this conce rn for perfection expressed by Boull e is what particularly interested me (qtd. Keesey, 47). Rationality and perfection may be the ideals closest to the imm ortal, and if architecture embraces these, it may reach the Platonic forms, even if its material form decays. Kracklite, like Boulle, has produced very little, and thus their designs remain largely ideas. Fear of the corporeal limits Kracklite and Boull Cenotaph for Isaac Newton is really physically unfeasible and therefore can only live on paper. Ironically, perhaps the gravity that Newton was so famous for defining would bring down his own monument. as well as other fascist architecture. This is fitting as Boulle was a neo classicist. Caspasian embezzles funds from the Boulle exhibition to finance the refurbishment of news. 7 In a broad sense, the fascists hoped that their architecture would lead to immortality. Greenaway threads the theme of the relationship between architecture and the b built space. The mechanics of this link, as Henri Lefebvre has explained it, rests on the 7 piece of fascist architecture, also makes an appearance in the film.
38 97). Classical architecture reflects the physicality and proportional relationships of the body, but architecture attempts to be nonorganic, to last longer than the body, but eventually decays. The architecture in Rome mainly consists of earth tones relat ed to the colors of the by the length of the body from the tip of the nose to the navel. Thus measurement is founded on human proportions. After the welcome dinner, the guests applaud the (Keesey, 45). Architecture is derived from nature, from the body, and thus reflects it, it is on xeroxed copies of stomachs, the images coming from roman statues. Once he interspersed with those for his exhibition. In one shot, Greenaway tracks over images of ailing stomachs. Kracklite describes his stomach pains in terms of geometric days it feels like a cube, most days it feels like a sharp nse, he has internalized the decline of this control over the Boulle exhibit. The Machiavellian Italians slowly take the exhibit away from his oversight, and the geometrical shapes that he works on externally for the exhibit manifest in bodily illness.
39 Or perhaps his diagnosis is through the mind of the architect: he thinks in geometrical forms, so his aches take that shape. The architectural domes in Rome are similar to bellies and wombs. In four instances, we see domes with obelisks in fron with the phallic obelisks. We see this architectural grouping repeated at the Pantheon, an assignation between Caspasian and Louisa, Caspasian uses a model of a Boullee tower as a play phallus, furthering the point that these architectural pieces obelisks, towers, and lighthouses are phallic symbols. The domes conflate life and death. Death resides within the dome of the Ce notaph for Isaac Newton. Now, the Pantheon harbors remembrance of the death of the Roman gods, yet when it was built, it stood for the presence, the life of the gods. numerou belly physically internalizes his emotional negativity and thus becomes the harbinger of death. ger In The Uncanny Freud links death, through the fear of being buried alive, with the womb: Some would award the crown of the uncanny to t he idea of being buried alive, only apparently dead. However, psychoanalysis has taught us that this terrifying fantasy is merely a variant of another, which was originally not at all frightening, but relied on a certain lasciviousness; this was the fanta sy of living in the womb. (150)
40 Thus a return to the womb is associated with death: death and birth are linked. life, respectively. At the end of the film, at the openi ng of the exhibit, Kracklite commits suicide as Louisa cuts the ribbon for the opening of the exhibition (an artistic birth) and womb brings life and artistic creati on. Finally, in one scene, the fluid, curved camera motion suggests the roundness of the belly. We see a head on shot of the Pantheon lit at night. The camera then tracks the obelisk and fountain in front of it. The tracking camera seemingly picks up more speed as it rounds a hedge to reveal the tables and diners of an open air restaurant. Waiters bring a large cake into the frame from the right. Finally the camera stop s and frames Boulle exhibit. This camera work echoes the roundness of the body, of organic shapes, as well as suggests the shape of the darkened Pantheon. Greenway re and I mean both human and artistic. The Belly of an Architect for those who want to look, has tried to explore all the different means by which art has reproduced the human form. So we have paintings, sculpture, photographs, and ultimately the current cloning relates reproduction to repetition. The scenes containing repetition do not necessarily cre ate an uncanny effect as in Last Year in Marienbad although one could argue that the scenes when Kracklite copies the stomachs are strangely familiar. He uses an
41 everyday piece of office equipment to contemplate his illness and eventual death. He makes more copies than are necessary: the same image comes out of the machine and ominous music. Repetition within elements of the narrative punctuates the film. Caspasian rel ates wife metaphorically poisons him through her affair with Caspasian. Furthermore, m with tainted Greenaway repeats the opening shots, camera work, and music at the opening P antheon dinner at the end of the film. At the beginning, the Italians welcome and en diagnosed with stomach cancer. He comes out of the Pantheon, that, in contemporary terms, is a funerary monument to the Roman gods. He is drunk and splashes himself in the fountain. This time, the tracking camera comes to rest on two Italian women d ining at the outdoor restaurant, which Kracklite comes up to harass. The composition is the same as when he gave his opening speech: he is situated in front of the Pantheon and obelisk, standing as he speaks to the two women. Yet this time, the Italian w omen do not understand his English, he speaks drunk nonsense. Notably, it seems he has failed to learn Italian, further highlighting his ostracisation in Rome. In contrast, Louisa gives
42 some remarks in Italian at the opening of the exhibit at the moment before Kracklite Italian, although she grew up in America. She either knew Italian before, or brushed up on it in Italy, or learned some upon arrival. Either way, she has integrated herself into Italian culture more successfully than Kracklite. Indeed, Kracklite seemed allergic to all but the Roman architecture: the food, people, and language did not sit well with him. And it could be argued that his internalizati on of the Roman architecture also makes him ill, if we consider that he describes his stomach pains in terms of geometrical shapes. When he becomes obsessed with his illness, he makes many copies of images of bare stomachs. First he enlarges a postcard ph oto of a statue of Augustus, isolating the stomach. He continues with other images, mostly from male Roman statues, drawings, or paintings. In one scene, Kracklite has lined his hotel bedroom floor with these reproduced prints. He has multiple copies fr om multiple sources, and these are further reflected in the large floor length mirror that is placed in the center of the mise en scne. Thus we have many reproductions and repetitions: the original sculpture, for example of Augustus, is a reproduction of the human body, and its photo on a postcard is another reproduction. The images lined on the floor are reproduced in their reflection level, the film itself can be seen as yet another reproduction of reality. We have three Kracklites: his body, his reflection in the mirror, and his image in the registration of the filmic image. All of these effects create a mise en abime similar to that in the mise en scne of Last Year in Marienbad
43 For Kracklite, all these reproductions and repetitions attempt to stave off death. (51). He cannot reproduce life, but must rely on Louisa to carry o n his lineage, yet he and Louisa will get a divorce. In the mise en abime scene described above, Louisa returns to the hotel room and makes it evident to Kracklite that she is leaving him to live with Caspasian. They discuss the future of their child and Louisa shows him photos of her pregnant body (a photo reproduction of the human reproduction process). During some of the scene, they stand around a model of the Victor Emmanuel monument with models of the Boulle reproductions that will be on the outsid e of the monument. These threatens to usurp both, making Kracklite creatively barren. One scene highlights making love, while Kracklite is anally probed at the g astroenterologist examination. The mise en abime scene begins with Kracklite sitti ng in a chair on the hotel bed, where he and Louisa slept at the beginning of the film. The bed seemingly has a plank over it so the chair can stand on it. Beside the bed is the copier machine, repetitively making copies of bellies. This image suggests place of human reproduction, is hardened over, and the machine takes the place of natural fertility. legacies? Kracklite is deter his own legacy through this architecture. But this is the crisis: both have produced very
44 little that would carry on their legacy, and even architecture will decompose. In this manner, Greenaway s uggests that it is only genetic reproduction, necessarily through a -and confounded by In another instance, we see four successive images of the Victor Emmanuel monument: an establishing shot with the camera, a postcard enlargement, a model for the exhibit within the actual monument, and another mu seum piece model of the monument behind that one. With the first two images, Greenaway suggests that an enlarged postcard image can serve the same purpose as an establishing shot of the monument -both are photographs. He uses postcards again: at the Piaz za Navona, Kracklite takes some postcards of the plaza. The camera zooms in on these, and as he flips through them Greenaway creates a montage of still images. The montage depicts various angles of the piazza, and the passage from day to night: the postc ards progress from images of the piazza in daylight, to dusk, to night. Right after this, in yet another repetition of reproduction, Greenaway shows us successive shots of men with beards: the statue in the fountain at the Piazza, Kracklite himself, and b Bringing us back to Last Year at Marienbad both Belly and Marienbad have a par allel scene consisting of reproduced images. This could have been influenced by Sasha Vierny who was cinematographer for both films. In Belly Kracklite sits on the bed and observes the xeroxed copies of bellies arranged on the floor. In Marienbad A
45 si ts on the bed and observes the multiple copies of photos of herself arranged on the floor, given to her by X. This parallel scene highlights the prominence of repetition and reproduction in both films. In both, the characters contemplate the reproduced i mage. Kracklite thinks of his mortality. We do not know what A is thinking -perhaps contemplating who in fact she is as a person and if she will escape with X. In conclusion, the three films exhibit a strong mise en scne that reveals character emotion a nd psychology, in addition to creating a sense of the uncanny. In Last Year at Marienbad Resnais employs the mise en scne to comment on the stagnant lives the en and its formal gardens create an aesthetic of the uncanny through visual repetition. Space as an embodiment of memory plays an important role in the question of rape that pervades the film. In Voyage in Italy Katherine experiences the uncanny through her visits to the uncanny sites in Naples that punctuate the film. Finally, in The Belly of an Architect the mise en scne reveals a dialectic between architecture and the body and questions the ability of repetition and reproduction to stave off death.
46 LI ST OF REFERENCES Armes, Roy. The Cinema of Alain Resnais. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1968. Voyage in Italy Roberto Rossellini Berkeley: University of California Press. 1996. Bruno, Giuliana. Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Archi tecture, and Film New York: Verso. 2002. Boston Globe Feb. 29, 2008. web. The Uncanny trans. David McLintock. New York, NY: Penguin Books. 1941/2003. ----The Uncanny trans. David McLintock. New York, NY: Penguin Books. 1941/2003. Gras, Vernon and Marguerite Gras, Ed. Peter Greenaway: Interviews Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. 2000. Kael, Pauline. I Lost it at the Movies Bo ston: Atlantic Monthly Press. 1945 Keesey, Douglas. The Films of Peter Greenaway: Sex, Death, Provocation Jefferson, NC: McFarland. 2006. Marienbad Screening the Text: Intertextuali ty in New Wave French Cinema Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1992. Laplanche, J. and Pontalis, J. B. The Language of Psychoanalysis Trans. Donald Nicholson Smith. New York: Norton. 1973. Lawrence, Amy. The Films of Peter Greenaway Cam bridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Leutrat, Jean Louis. Last Year in Marienbad Trans. Paul Hammond. London: BFI. 2000. Masschelein, Anneleen. The Unconcept: the Freudian Uncanny in Late Twentieth Century Theory Albany: SUNY Press. 2011. Mulvey Journey in Italy/Viaggio in Italia Death 24 X a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image London: Reaktion Books. 2006.
47 The Bell y of an Architect Cinema Ed. Paula Willoquet Maricondi and Mary Alemany Galway. Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press. 2001. Perez, Gilberto. The Material Ghost: Films and their Medium Baltimore: Johns Hopkins. 199 8. Royle, Nicholas. The Uncanny Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. 2003. Vidler, Anthony. The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1992. Vidler, Anthony. Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety i n Modern Culture Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2001. Filmography Greenaway, Peter, dir. The Belly of an Architect MGM, 1987. Resnais, Alain, dir. Last Year in Marienbad The Criterion Collection, 1961. Rossellini, Roberto, dir. Voyage in Italy Connoisseur Video Collection, 1953.
48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Peter Gitto graduated from Pun ahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii and earned a BA in English, Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As an undergraduate, he also studied at the Centre Internationa l d'Etudes Franaises in Angers, France. He received his MA in English from th e University of Florida in the fall of 2012 and is currently pursuing a PhD in film studies.