Futurist paratexts of the ‘infamous butter scene’

by: , April 19, 2018

© Last Tango in Paris (1972) dir. Bernardo Bertolucci

'The manner in which we who love the cinema love a woman is very special. It’s a very mythological way of loving women—and it’s doomed to sado-masochism. Nothing more strikingly shows that art has left the realm of the “beautiful semblance” which, so far, had been taken to be the only sphere where art could thrive.' – Walter Benjamin

Except in struggle, no more beauty. No
work without aggression can be ‘masterpiece’
(poetry conceived as violent attack).

One part of a fragmented body
destroys the Renaissance space you                      can’t refuse
(over-valuation, cult of female star).

Scorn (for woman (isolated/
glamorous/on display/sexualised))
only                 as counterpoint. A running
horse has not four legs but twenty
& their movements are triangular
(investigating woman, de-
mystifying her mystery).

What’s screen ‘manifest’ (looking:
other ≈ erotic object, rich oriental rugs
                             her reaction as girl, not actress).

Pleasure: ascertaining guilt, old-school
pubic hair, woman’s pallor
in a jeweller’s window, electric
hearts, sentimental regret, etc.

Desire boils ‘artist’ (connoting male
phantasy). Kept in the dark
(protagonist’s action determined).

             ‘You look just like my daughter.’

He, figure in landscape, conspired to shoot
assault: half-light imaginary, queasy
naivety ablaze, recognition overlays mis-
recognition. ‘Don’t worry, it’s just
a painting.’                  It wasn’t in
the script.

Spontaneity subjects eroticism
to male star alone. Space no
longer exists: (girl, not actress).
Prismatic adrenaline fires
fascinate like larks (active)
though not in the script.

Certain legal right backs power: established
guilt of woman. Sometimes to obtain something
                              we have to be completely free.

Meaning cedes to memory
                              I resisted until the last moment
appear authentic (realism demands).

& guilt / not regret.
He didn’t console me or apologise.
Identify with him (participate
in power), spectator’s indirect
possession, too.

Yet woman lynch pins system. Male
figure can’t burden (sexual objectification)
but demands three-dimensional space. Human
face yellow, red, green, blue, violet.
Woman props male catharsis.
Liberating for whom?

I was crying real tears.
More perfect, more
complete, more
powerful ideal
ego, reluctant gaze
his exhibitionist like.

Painting’s renovation put you central, to
sing/re-echo canvas & triumphant flourish
under lamp domes filigreed brass, average
man (fascistic) declare War—the world’s only hygiene—

Her self has not slight importance
flaunt furs & velvet collars, feminism tinged
with mystery. Logic’s last confines: uterine colours.

Download article

Newsletter

Feeling inspired by MAI? Dedicated to intersectional gender politics in visual culture? Want to keep your feminist imagination on fire? MAI newsletter will help refresh your zeal for feminism with first-hand news on our new content. 

Subscribe below to stay up-to-date.

* We'll never share your email address with any third parties.


WHO SUPPORTS US

The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.

However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:


Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers

Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey