The ‘Parody of the Mottled Corpse’ in Antonioni, Almodóvar, Carax and Winding Refn
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In The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016) there are several thought-provoking topics concerning the fashion world that can be related to Walter Benjamin’s analyses in Passages. Winding Refn appears to adopt completely the German thinker’s idea that fashion is close to a parody of death, especially in his representation of the fashion systemthrough a violent, bloodthirsty, cannibalistic dimension. In addition to Refn’s work the idea expressed by Benjamin can also be found in films directed by Antonioni, Almodóvar and Carax. All of these directors relate to Benjamin’s idea that fashion comprehends some perversions. In Blow-Up (1966), Kika (1993) and The Skin I Live In (2011), Holy Motors (2012) there is a common thread that finds its apex in Neon Demon (2016), where Benjamin’s concept lies in its coils and its soul. Furthermore, that impulse to violence, which is latent in Antonioni’s film but increasingly present in the films by Almodóvar and Carax, and especially in The Neon Demon, represents their connection both to Benjamin’s thought and to the ideas expressed by Bataille in Erotism, in The Accursed Share and in The Notion of Expenditure. In these books, the French philosopher shows that the same elements which are present in the five analysed here – that is, violence, sacrifice, beauty profanation, murder and cannibalism – are expressions of the concept of dépense, which also includes fashion, intended as a form of dissipation through excess and splendour.
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