Conclusion

What we have done in this chapter is to conduct our three readings of The Silence of the Lambs around each of the three main characters: for the feminist case, it is Clarice Starling and her 'problem' that occupies centre stage; in our Foucaultian analysis we gave a privileged place to Buffalo Bill as the pathologized target of state power and the 'victim' of abuse from childhood on, seeking violently as well as tenderly to transgender and trans-dress/gress an identity imposed on him by societal norms of strict gender separation. Finally, the third analysis thematized Hannibal Lecter, as the figure that appeared to us to embody some intriguingly Deleuzian concepts, such as the radical 'deterritorialization' of conventional body schemata in his special kind of 'cannibalism' that refuses to distinguish between brain, mind, and flesh. Each reading thereby necessarily realigns the other characters, ascribing to them different values or even inverting their ethical identities. At the same time, the general conceptual focus has remained constant, insofar as sexual difference and gender; the Lacanian look and the panoptic gaze; the crossing and recrossing of boundaries between bodies, sensations, and successive stages of a deployment/development have in each reading served as the argumentative thread and metaphoric quilting.

However, such a tripartite division has above all schematic-didactic value: it should not disguise another intended movement of the analysis, which was concerned with transitions or gradations not only of sexed, gazed-upon, and gendered bodies but of concepts:

• from sexual difference to notions of performed gender and the multiform encounters of mind, matter, and sensuous perception;

• from 'subject' and 'subjectivity' to 'body' (as a site of discourses, images, and intensities, rather than a sexed material entity) providing the theoretical fields of negotiating identities, identifications, and corporeal experience in the cinema;

• from thinking progress, initiation and closure, to thinking metamorphosis, repetition, seriality;

• from thinking narrative and trajectory (initiation) to 'event' and 'phantasm', i.e. to new taxonomies of the audiovisual situation of the cinematic experience.

It is our contention that the two approaches - feminist film theory's (broadly structuralist) gendering of apparatus theory, alongside the post-structuralist articulations of identity/subjectivity/body by Foucault and Deleuze, with respect to the question of sexuality and gender in the cinema - have yielded a number of insights and results. For instance, it made it possible to claim that film theory's successive use of Freud and Lacan, polemically critiqued by Foucault and Deleuze, has followed a certain internal logic, and is not merely the expression of an externally imposed change of intellectual paradigm, such as the often-invoked move in film theory from 'psycho-semiotics' to 'cultural studies'.

Instead of seeing these theories and the methods derived from them as incompatibly juxtaposed, we tried to trace their antagonisms along several lines of transformation and rupture around the notion of sexual difference (which underpinned the feminist concern with power and inequality), opening out into the notion of gender. The sex/gender problematic was thus extended at the theoretical level, in order that The Silence of the Lambs and its controversial reception could be analysed in a way that made the controversy comprehensible also within the text. We have thus offered a complementary reading to the deadlocks variously noted by Stephen Heath, Janet Staiger, and Judith Halberstam. More specifically, thanks to Foucualt and Deleuze, the nexus of power and personhood, of difference and opposition, but also of desire and pleasure could be seen as multiform and decentred, localized, and micropolitical, rather than as categorical and absolute, which is how it often appears in the binary and exclusionary articulations of militant practices and academic discourses. For Foucault and Deleuze, energies flow in either direction, sexuality is multi-layered, and affective connections can be established across apparently insuperable barriers and antagonistic concepts - those of good and evil, of male and female, of pleasure and horror.

The conflicting viewing positions have thus been resolved not by adopting an either/or, or both ... and stance, but by a kind of theoretical layering, appealing to a reconceptualization at another level, which allowed us to see this particular film (though the same would be true of many other contemporary films: apart from the ones already cited, David Fincher's Se7en and Fight Club come to mind) presenting us with different worlds, and several ways of conceiving their protagonists' and antagonists' identities. The key concept that permitted the shift is that of the body, or rather the move from 'subject' and 'subject position' to body, figured not only as the inseparability of consciousness, matter, brain, and flesh, but also as the non-antagonistic relation of inside and outside, of surface and extension, sexuality and gender. The body becomes not only a topographical 'site' for an inscription of the world and its different kinds of textuality. It also emerges as the locus of energies and intensities emanating from it and oscillating between spectator and screen. In respect of the film experience, the body is thus both foundational and constructed, an a priori given and the result of that which it is not - image, schema, representation.

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