Film, Psychology

Notes from Underground – Death, Desire and Disgust in Film

Introduction

     My head is splitting and I need some air. Just finished watching Baise-Moi, (2000) by Virginie Despentes; In The Realm Of Senses (1976) by Nagisa Oshima; Cannibal Holocaust (1980) by Ruggero Deodato and Gianfranco Clerici; Caligula, (1979) by Tinto Brass and Gore Vidal; and Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

     I need somebody to talk to. God knows why I have chosen to watch these films. Is it because I am fed up with films which leave nothing in my mind, are pre-chewed by their creators and put in my mouth without any spices for me to sense? Yes, I would agree, I have become a consumer of “films without taste.” I have swallowed them. They have left nothing to think about. I don’t even remember that I have watched them.

     I got plenty of “taste” after watching the films I am going to tell you about. Every one of them went deep inside of me and left their marks on my thinking. My consciousness was saying “stop watching them, stop watching them,” but my unconscious was giving me plenty of reasons to continue what I had started. I understood that those films were very personal to me, personal to somebody, as personal as one’s life could be. So I kept watching.

     I was more interested in what those films have left in my mind, how they have provoked my thoughts, and how they have created an absolutely different world I hadn’t been used to. If I said that I wasn’t disgusted, I would be lying. If I said that I wasn’t moved, I would also be lying. So then why was my unconsciousness telling me to keep watching, when I clearly saw and read that those movies are “bad seed,” “evil,” controversial, and banned? What made them become like that and what part of human nature or psyche did they touch so that they became completely unpalatable and without merit to some people?

     My thoughts are splattered in my head and I don’t know how to get a grip on them: where should I start? Should I start by discussing my emotions and my psyche, or should I dive straight into the films somebody has forbidden me to watch? Really, there are so many thoughts and there are not many words I know to make my thoughts reflect the way these films spoke to me.

     I want to be as personal as I can be by discussing the feelings I experienced watching these films. They are somebody’s experiences. They are feelings and thoughts brought to the screen. Somebody dreamt about something and said: “What could it possibly mean?” or had some question about themselves, their sexuality, their need for something that life – as it is – could not provide.

     I dived into reading Freud, Jung and other psychoanalysts looking for some answers. There were too many “somethings” in my mind. I began reading philosophers looking for the meaning of what I had experienced. I found a lot of guidance in their books, but my feelings wanted to discuss something else, even though that something else was already discussed by Sade, Rousseau, Kant, Nietzsche, Camus, Dostoevsky, Bataille, or Mishima. That gave birth to my “notes from the underground,” to my notes from “undersoul,” to my notes of “intellectual feelings.”

To be continued…

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