Narrative cinema is filled with moments that present the violent woman as an enigma. In Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (2009), a psychotherapist takes his bereaved wife into his care as a patient. During their many sessions, he asks her to recount her fears and memories: unresponsive to her husband’s treatment, the woman retaliates by inflicting acts of violence upon him. A similar scenario of interrogation takes place in The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008): a judge presiding over a war crimes trial repeatedly asks a former Schutzstaffel guard to account for her actions. Confused and evasive, the woman replies, ‘Well, what would you have done?’ Even if a film does not literally command the violent woman to speak in this manner, many inscribe a desire to reveal her subjectivity onscreen. Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994) opens as two teenage girls run screaming through a public park, covered in the blood of a woman they have just murdered. Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001) centres on the search to cure a diseased woman who murders her lovers. Monster (Patty Jenkins, 2003) retrospectively explores the circumstances surrounding real-life murderer Aileen Wuornos’s acts of homicide. Road movie Baise-moi (Coralie Trinh Thi and Virginie Despentes, 2000) uncovers its murderous protagonists’ intimate pleasures and deprivations in explicit detail.
KeywordsFilm Text Film Festival Horror Cinema Popular Cinema Female Violence
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