The Lightship Jerzy Skolimowski Bill Benenson

David Paul
1986 Film quarterly  
us to peep into the inner structures of the century." (15) The language of voyeurism which Bertolucci here employs suggests that history, focalized through these two class representatives, has something in common with erotic display. The music which accompanies the utopian reunification of the two antagonists at the close of the film reinforces this interpretation. As Attali writes: "Music, directly transacted by desire and drives, has always had but one subject-the body, which it offers a
more » ... ch it offers a complete journey through pleasure, with a beginning and an end. A great musical work is always a model of amorous relations, a model of relations with the other, of eternally recommencable exaltation and appeasement, an exceptional figure of represented or repeated sexual relations .... Any noise, when two people decide to invest their imaginary and their desire in it, becomes a potential relationship, future order." (143) The "codes and motifs" of the historical imaginary are thus placed on open display in 1900. The history of the twentieth century is seen to result from a kind of traumatic splitting, as in psychoanalysis, of an original unity. Thus the somatic expression of history in the film receives its final figuration in an image reminiscent of Plato's androgyne: an emblem of sexual unity and division translated into class terms.
doi:10.2307/1212299 fatcat:oikacdorbzecdilndsnbivnnmq