Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why Being Bad Can Feel So Good

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, 1989 - Paula Rego (b. 1935)

'I've needed an impulse from within, a lot of emotional energy to do this stuff, and a kind of desire. It's a very aggressive thing . . . It's not an aggression like you're hitting it; it's a sensual aggression, if you like.'

Paula Rego

'Marina Warner, who senses Goya's influence and a 'post-Freudian mordancy', says: 'They're beyond morality; she's more interested in the power of feeling than in good conduct. She sees sexuality everywhere'. For Rego, 'there is adulthood in childhood; children have uncommonly strong desires and fears; they're very aware of their own bodies and sexual feelings. We only put a name to it later'. She is sometimes compared to Balthus . . . [Yet] for Warner, 'Balthus is voyeuristic, looking at little girls who are unaware of their sexuality. But Paula's are in possession of their own feelings, which we are invited to feel too.''

From Secret Histories by Maya Jaggi

'The remarkable thing about the sex taboo is that it is fully seen in transgression. It is inculcated partly through education but never resolutely formulated. Education proceeds as much by silence as by muffled warnings. The taboo is discovered directly by a furtive and at first partial exploration of the forbidden territory. At first nothing could be more mysterious. We are admitted into the knowledge of a pleasure in which the notion of pleasure is mingled with mystery, suggestive of the taboo that fashions that pleasure at the same time as it condemns it. The revelation through transgression has certainly not remained constant throughout the ages. Fifty years ago the irony of sex education was more obvious still. But everywhere - and doubtless from the earliest times - our sexual activity is sworn to secrecy, and everywhere, though to a variable degree, it appears contrary to our dignity so that the essence of eroticism is to be found in the inextricable confusion of sexual pleasure and taboo. In human terms the taboo never makes an appearance without suggesting sexual pleasure, nor does the pleasure without evoking the taboo. The basis is a natural urge and in childhood the natural urge acts alone.'

From Erotism: Death and Sensuality by Georges Bataille

The Week in Review


Bullit, 1968 - d. Peter Yates
Cool Hand Luke, 1967 - d. Stuart Rosenberg
Death Wish, 1974 - d. Michael Winner
Death Wish 2, 1982 - d. Michael Winner
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 1972 - d. Luis Buñuel
Easy Rider, 1969 - d. Dennis Hopper
The French Connection, 1971 - d. William Friedkin
Midnight Cowboy, 1969 - d. John Schlesinger
Patton, 1970 - d. Franklin J. Schaffner
Red River, 1948 - d. Howard Hawks
Three Colours: Red, 1994 - d. Krzysztof Kieslowski
The Wild Bunch, 1969 - d. Sam Peckinpah


The Monk - Matthew Gregory Lewis
The Story of the Eye - Georges Bataille
Story of O - Pauline Réage (Anne Desclos)
Venus in Furs - Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch