lundi 1 mars 2010

Les Pornocrates

High culture went through a second Sadean revival, following the studies of P. Klossowski, M. Blanchot, R. Barthes or P. Sollers and the porno chic wave of the French “pornocrates”, a curious mix of hardcore intellectuals and renegades from the fantasy and horror cinema. Literary adaptations of the great erotic tradition, from Sade to Sacher-Masoch, Louys or Réage legitimized the new genre despite the right-wing criticism of “moral decline” and the left-wing accusation of “bourgeois exploitation” and “misogyny”. Landmarks in this invasion of fetishist S&M imagery, often embedded in a highly literate rite de passage/initiation narrative format and sustained by a deliberately foregrounded “arty” aestheticism (soft-focus lenses, carefully staged sets, dreamy music and glamourous locations), include Robbe-Grillet’s Glissements progressifs du plaisir (1973), Just Jaeckin’s History of O and The Perils of Gwendoline, P. A. Jolivet’s La punition (1972), R. Metzger’s L’Image (script by Catherine Robbe Grillet, 75) or the film commix of Guido Crepax Baba Yaga (73). Combined with the “hipification” of the underground tradition and its own strain of S&M subcultural elements (as in the extreme body art activism of Otto Muehl’s Sodoma, 69), Western intelligentsia was turning Sadean to the core. The “Tradition of Transgression” had become the norm of the “cultural field” in opposition to post-war Moral Order, now fueled by a rhetoric of liberation that went from prolet-kult activism to the “new libertinism”.

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