Cutting the Body: Representing Woman in Baudelaire's Poetry, Truffaut's Cinema, and Freud's Psychoanalysis. Eliane Françoise DalMolin. University of Michigen Press, 2006
Her riddle at the beginning…lures its listeners into the darkness of her femininity (60) The audience…become the infant-subject trapped by a maternal voice…a vocal fantasy for the blinded spectators (60) The narrator in the song, the ‘I’ is male (63) the narrator (voice-off) is also male! She is the female voice singing a male song for a male audience (63) in the same way she is a female statue for a male spectator. Jules and Jim are Truffaut’s creation of male subjectivity fighting the maternal force deployed by Catherine’s voice and finding refuge in the visual pleasure provided by filmic representations of her body (64) Jules and Jim set up a search for the body belonging to the feminine voice heard at the film’s outset. However, Catherine will always remain the feminine and maternal force that can never be captured (64) In her death…she returns to being a voice in the dark (65) She is the incarnation of the otherwise unseizable fantasy of two romantic men…with her framed image occupying most of the screen, she is always the object of the camera’s gaze, even when Jules and Jim do not look at her – the camera often appears as the third male subject that cannot take its fascinated eyes off her. In fact, Truffaut’s camera work, more than Jules and Jim themselves, contributes to Catherine’s identification as a demigoddess, metamorphosed from stone to flesh (68) Catherine’s face appears to Jules and Jim like a Medusa’s head, that is to say, a face with powers to turn to stone the men who look at it. Freud…the spectre of castration that Jules and Jim face in the presence of the statue…an inaccessible goddess (67) Catherine’s first frozen appearance on the screen suspends her…powers…allowing Jules and Jim to contemplate Catherine’s ideal beauty at greater length and with greater pleasure....
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