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Meat, murder, metamorphosis: the transformational ethics of François Ozon

Asibong, Andrew (2005) Meat, murder, metamorphosis: the transformational ethics of François Ozon. French Studies 59 (2), pp. 203-215. ISSN 0016-1128.

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This article argues that French filmmaker François Ozon's fantastical explorations of murder and metamorphosis provide a surprisingly ethical commentary on the tightly interwoven cultural processes of social reification and identity fetishization. Using the two early films "Sitcom" (1998) and "Les Amants criminels" (1999) as a point of departure, it claims that Ozon is essentially concerned with the different ways in which the subject appropriates alterity in his or her attempt to instigate alternative existences. Using the theories of Deleuze and Guattari on ‘deterritorialization’, those of Slavoj Zizek on ‘the Act’, and those of Giorgio Agamben on ‘the witness’, it will present three distinct stages of transformation at work in Ozon's films: from a seeming championing of transgressive social ‘difference’ for its own sake emerges an exploration of impossible, psychotic metamorphosis, and finally a linking of such ‘unspeakable’ change to a potentially political process of traumatic dehumanization. Real, that is, ethical, transformation in Ozon's films can come about only through the blinding perception of one's enslavement to fetishistic desire, and through the radical dismantlement of this desire and the (excessively) coherent socio-political identity it confers upon one. Ozon's demanding approach to different modes of transformation deserves close analysis at a time when increasingly rigid conceptions of social identity are again becoming dangerously allied to lazy conceptions of social change, in France and elsewhere.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright (c) 2005 Andrew Asibong
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2007
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:55

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