Publication:
The Forbidden Gaze: Orphic Visuality and Loss in Atom Egoyan’s "Exotica"

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2020
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Vishvanatha Kaviraja Institute
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Ancient myths are relevant to postmodern texts, as illustrated by Atom Egoyan’s "Exotica" (1994). This paper examines the Canadian work as an example of Orphic visuality, singling it out from the numerous films that have rewritten two of the salient points addressed by the myth of Orpheus: traumatic loss and healing processes. The present hypothesis is that Egoyan develops further the cinematic possibilities of the tragic "fatum" of the poet-singer found in literary works and previous films, in particular Hitchcock’s "Vertigo" (1958). Starting from the premise that both film "auteurs" appreciate the significant role of gazing in the standard mythical account, consideration is given to the use of this theme as an ontological and epistemological symptom of their respective age traumas. Attention is also drawn here to the metafictional meaning of visuality as a means of human representation, which explains why this specific aspect of the myth is recurrently articulated in cinema.
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