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The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and RussiaBetween Pain and Pleasure$
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Ewa Mazierska, Matilda Mroz, and Elzbieta Ostrowska

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474405140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405140.001.0001

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Playing Dead: Pictorial Figurations of Melancholia in Contemporary Hungarian Cinema

Playing Dead: Pictorial Figurations of Melancholia in Contemporary Hungarian Cinema

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 3 Playing Dead: Pictorial Figurations of Melancholia in Contemporary Hungarian Cinema
Source:
The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and Russia
Author(s):

Hajnal Király

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405140.003.0004

Contemporary Hungarian cinema has been often coined as "dark", depicting an "ontological melancholia" paired with a preference for the still image. In films by Béla Tarr, Kornél Mundruczó or Benedek Fliegauf for example, tableau-like compositions serve as "interruptions" revealing the single image as a site in-between where figuration happens. These painterly images relate to the narration metaphorically, triggering an aesthetic detachment of a "pensive spectator." This chapter focuses on a corpus of contemporary Hungarian films in which bodies are represented in pictorial compositions evoking either Andrea Mantegna's The Lamentation over the Dead Christ or Hans Holbein's The Body of the Dead Christin the Tomb, with the aim to identify 'the figural' that makes sense without a story. Relying on Kristeva's controversial "gendered" interpretation of melancholia, the chapter includes comparative analyses of films by Hungarian female and male directors (Ágnes Kocsis and Kornél Mundruczó, for example).

Keywords:   Melancholia, pictorial, figuration, figural, Hungarian cinema, Béla Tarr

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