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Geography of the Body (1943)

| Short
A quotation from Aristophanes, "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love," precedes views of a man and a woman's bodies, often in extreme close up. Off-screen, a voice recites ... See full summary »

Director:

Willard Maas
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Cast

Credited cast:
George Barker George Barker ... Narrator / Body
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Storyline

A quotation from Aristophanes, "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love," precedes views of a man and a woman's bodies, often in extreme close up. Off-screen, a voice recites fragments of oracular literature and purple prose. We see an eye, an ear, a mouth, a tongue, bits of hair, a hand, the tips of fingers, toes. Occasionally, the frame includes a larger scape of a body: a chest, a back, a breast. Usually the camera is stationery; sometimes, it moves across a body, remaining in close up. They hold hands for one moment. The bodies are without clothes; no genitalia are visible. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

The Human Body as Landscape
21 July 2011 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

A quotation from Aristophanes, "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love," precedes views of a man and a woman's bodies.

Of course, the first thing that struck me about this film was the showing of nudity in the 1940s. While all we see is a pair of breasts, and it is tastefully and artfully done, I am still surprised that this was apparently acceptable. I generally think photography (or film) is not considered as artistic as a painting.

I like the use of the word "geography" in the title, because this is truly what we see -- by having extreme close-ups, the director has made the familiar foreign and a simple body part come across as a sprawling landscape. This feeling of the "foreign" is even more enhanced when combined with the running commentary -- if there is a connection between the narrator's talk of jellyfish with the faculty of speech and three nude bodies, I simply do not see it.

I have also never found the tongue quite so repulsive as I do here. Not that the person has a terribly repulsive tongue, but just the manner of filming seems to make it gross. Sure, if you think about it, the tongue is a rather dirty organ... but never have I thought that so much as now.


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