Violent Thresholds

Sights and Sounds of the Cinematic Baroque in Pascal Laugier's Martyrs

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Lawrence Alexander University of Cambridge's Centre for Film and Screen, UK laa33@cam.ac.uk

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Abstract

This article adopts the category of the cinematic baroque not as a marker of the culturally low, but as a tool of film-philosophical analysis to examine how Pascal Laugier's Martyrs (2008) probes limits of representation and spectatorial experience. I approach the ambivalent functions of bodily, architectural, and filmic thresholds that simultaneously mediate containment and transgression. In this vein, I read the excesses of cinematic violence in Martyrs using Saige Walton's phenomenological model of “baroque flesh” in dialogue with theories of enfolded structures of affective intensity that resist “teleological spectatorship.” Drawing these distinct perspectives together, I consider the visual and aural strategies deployed in Martyrs—from the home invasion to the “screaming point”—to examine the formal characteristics of this film's treatment of screened violence.

Contributor Notes

Lawrence Alexander is a Third-Year PhD Student at the University of Cambridge's Centre for Film and Screen. His doctoral research focuses on questions of embodiment and the logics of Deleuzo-Guattarian “faciality” in the moving image practices of Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl, and William Kentridge. He is the recipient of a studentship jointly hosted by the Cambridge Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Doctoral Training Partnership and Churchill College. Email: laa33@cam.ac.uk

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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