Wild figures and gazes in modern cinema
In the sixties and seventies, some important filmmakers, like Werner Herzog, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Glauber Rocha, Luis Buñuel and Alejandro Jodorowsky, focused their attention on the wild man. Despite working in different countries and coming from different backgrounds, all of them were concerned with primitivism, both in the characters and plots of their films and in their visual style. The aim of my PhD project is to use the films of these directors to analyse the concept of wildness in the cinema of the time. The analysis will be conducted from two points of view: its cultural genealogy and its aesthetic representation. The first part of the project studies the myth of the wild man in the selected movies, taking into account the anthropological, sociological and political implications of this figure along with the history, especially in artistic movements such as surrealism and Négritude. The main reference in this research will be the anthropological studies of Roger Bartra, which are focused on the wild man as a cultural construction of European countries. The aims of this part will be to define the main archetypes and to study how the wild man is built as a cinematographic character. It will consist of an analysis of the physical features of the characters, the space configuration, the construction of the myth and the opposition between wildness and civilisation in the narrative plots. The second part will be focused on the aesthetic characteristics that define the “wild cinematographic style”. In this chapter, the main references will be the theories of George Bataille on formless and energy, which are closely linked to the concept of wildness and have previously been used to analyse art and cinema (e.g., in Yve-Alain Bois and Rosalind E. Krauss’ “Formless: A User’s Guide”(1997) or in Jean-Baptiste Thoret’s “Le cinéma americain des années 70”(2006). These theories can be completed with other approaches, such as those of Gilles Deleuze, Raymond Bellour or Georges Didi-Huberman. In the second part, I will analyse how the oppositions of regulation/excess, rationality/delirium and civilisation/wildness can be applied in cinema aesthetics. For this purpose, I intend to study the approach to the bodies, the work on filmic time and the visual attributes of the selected movies to define a wild film style that goes beyond the representation language and civilised rules.