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The Gaze and the Virgin: Marian Dimensions of Luis Buñuel's Viridiana

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-08-31, 14:18 authored by Sheldon Penn
This essay presents a new interpretation of the surrealist representation of female gender and patriarchy in Viridiana (1961) focused through its semiotic treatment of the Virgin Mary. Examining the reconfiguration of the Christian story, Christ and Mary are revealed as ‘ghosted’ doubles of Fernando Rey and Silvia Pinal’s characters. Analysing the ‘Last Supper’ and suicide sequences with reference to Bataille’s Story of the Eye, I trace an explicitly cinematic interplay of Marian motherhood and castrating patriarchy organized via the gaze. Conclusions on female gender and motherhood build on that commentary, giving insight into Spanish psychosexual identity in the film. Drawing on Kristeva’s ‘Stabat Mater’, I argue that the film questions logocentricity paralleling her text’s confrontation of the Word of the Father with the eventhood of childbirth. The doubling of Viridiana and Mary gives a surrealist counter-reading to the film’s bleak diegetic treatment of the bind of woman in patriarchy.

Funding

The completion of this work was made possible by a period of study leave granted by the University of Leicester.

History

Citation

Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies, 2018

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Arts

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

issn

2474-1604

eissn

2474-1612

Acceptance date

2017-10-09

Copyright date

2018

Publisher version

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24741604.2018.1501955

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until 18 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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