Cinema of the Body

Katerina Thomadaki dans L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes

There are two quite distinct periods in the evolution of our work: that of the Tétralogie Corporelle (Double Labyrinthe, 1976, L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes, 1977, Soma, 1978, Arteria Magna in dolore laterali, 1979), to which Ouverture, and Double Labyrinthe X Double Labyrinthe, 1977 also belong; and that of the Cycle of the Unheimlich (Unheimlich I: Dialogue secret, 1977-79, Unheimlich II: Astarti, 1979-80).

During the first period, our field of engagement was with identity and interpersonal relationship: it is the woman/self that is questioned, meditated upon, put into images. Double Labyrinthe appears as the matrix for all the themes and all the approaches which we developed together subsequently; our first glance at ourselves, the first opening into self-representation as pursuit of identity, as the taking of possession of our own image.

Self-representation is double: one looks at oneself, and at the same time one looks at another, and, one after the other, the "I" and the Other usurp the space in which we express ourselves, in which we perceive. To pass in front of, and behind, the lens - this eye, open to the world - is to destroy the classic dichotomies of subject/object, acting/transcribing, seeing/being seen.

From this flux, from this double stimulation of glances, this interlacing of two bodies and two imaginaries, there emerged the language of the intercorporeal, a language which we have not ceased to explore since.

Double Labyrinthe is also the moment in which the unconscious first makes itself tangible. It is a completely silent film, as Ouverture, Arteria Magna, Dialogue secret and Astarti were to be, silent as dreams.

Ouverture is a film without film, a live action, which itself presents the basic elements of our cinematic apparatus. With L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes we tackle the themes of childhood, desire, and female sexuality. Je(u): une enfance funèbre is the first part, the beginning of a development which leads towards birth, through an acting out of death, among the ambiguous couplings mother/daughter, girl/doll, culminating in the explosion of re-birth, through the encounter with the Other/woman.

The resonance of the image of the female body, in the mind and in the senses, its diffuse erogeneity, forms a pivotal theme in Soma.

After having explored the libidinal body, we touch, in Arteria Magna in dolore laterali, upon the subject of suffering, or, to be more exact, that of a whole body in confrontation with a determining trauma.

Maria Klonaris dans L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettesMaria Klonaris dans L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes

The Cycle de l'Unheimlich initiates a movement from woman/self toward the concept of the feminine. "One calls Unheimlich all that which ought to remain secret, hidden, and which shows itself." (Schelling).

The feminine associated with the Unheimlich evokes the reappearance of the repressed, the disconcerting, the disturbing strangeness, that "which we took to be fantasy, and which presents itself to us as real".

In the Cycle de l'Unheimlich we attempt to rediscover, to invent, the traces of a deeply rooted femininity, irreducible, in possession of itself, autonomous, and not the mirage produced in the fantasy of the male, who attempts to turn it into myth, while preserving it in a state of subordination. The feminine begins to speak as it puts itself into images. Because, in the final analysis, we are dreamers of images. In the depths of every image, we ourselves are being born.

In Dialogue secret, the feminine is either sereine or frantic, doubled and redoubled by mirrors, multiplying itself through constant disguises.

Astarti starts with a re-reading of the feminine in myth. Astarti the nocturnal, the moon-goddess archetype, emerging from a shadowy underworld, Astarti as the idea of the feminine itself, as memory, dread, and death.

With the Cycle de l'Unheimlich, other women take part, apart us: Elia Akrivou in Dialogue secret, Parvaneh Navaï in Astarti, others, in the films which will follow. What is important for us is that, within our process, they remain subjects, that they are never objectified as actresses. They are asked to bring with them their own mental universe, the structures of their own thinking, and, each time, the encounter is fascinating in its difference. The encounter, the secret dialogue, always takes place within a silent vision. In the depth of their silence, their very beings are revealed.

Elia Akrivou dans Dialogue secret

All photos by Klonaris/Thomadaki unless otherwise stated
Photo 1: Katerina Thomadaki in L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes
Photos 2 & 3: Maria Klonaris in L'Enfant qui a pissé des paillettes
Photo 3: Elia Akrivou in Unheimlich I:Dialogue secret

Cycles d'œuvres homepage


Texts and photos: copyright Maria Klonaris/Katerina Thomadaki. All rights reserved.