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ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader$
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Michelle E. Moore and Brian Brems

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462037

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462037.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Paul Schrader’s Experiment in Italian Neo-decadence: The Comfort of Strangers and the Sadean System

Paul Schrader’s Experiment in Italian Neo-decadence: The Comfort of Strangers and the Sadean System

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 8 Paul Schrader’s Experiment in Italian Neo-decadence: The Comfort of Strangers and the Sadean System
Source:
ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader
Author(s):

Robert Dassanowsky

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462037.003.0009

The Comfort of Strangers (GB/Italy1990), directed by Paul Schrader and written by Harold Pinter (from the short novel by Ian McEwan), who had supplied the 1960s with its premier parable on power and sexuality in The Servant, was no success with audiences or critics, the latter nearly completely missing the obvious redux on a sexualized and cannibalistic fascism that arrived in the 1970s with Visconti, Cavani, Bertolucci, Fassbinder, and Pasolini. This chapter argues that like The Damned (1969) and Death in Venice (1971), as well as their heirs from Fassbinder's German Woman trilogy to Szabo's Mephisto (1981), Schrader’s The Comfort ofStrangers locates a sociopolitical tension between high and low art.

Keywords:   Paul Schrader, The Comfort of Strangers, Harold Pinter, Luchino Visconti, Fascism, High art

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