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The film has as central axis the character of manipulative gay director Pablo, unconventional Pablo’s transsexual sister life, Tina, and the fiery, disparaging passion of Antonio, Pablo’s lover. Created only twelve years after the death of Franco, it may be considered as a conscious work to undermine the traditional cultural policy of this regime, by focusing on the homosexual sexuality and emphasizing the fluidity of gender, particularly the male gender.
The film begins with a provoking soft-porn sequence, displaying a young athletic man in a room interior with a mirror and a bed. A voice outside the frame instructs him to undress and touch himself. Afterwards the camera centers on two elderly men reading these instructions from a script to the young model. This scene is revealed to be a film-within-a-film, directed by Pablo Quintero, the main character of Law of Desire.
In this specific scene, the young man’s body is deliberately viewed through the gay male viewer’s eyes, as the unseen Voices dirrect him, aiming at the prurient pleasure of the viewer. Here the male body (masculinity) is multiply objectified’ as its vulnerability is emphasized by the ‘kind of words he is instructed to declaim.’ The Voices - having their sensuality increased due to the fact that they originate from unseen and unidentified speakers - manipulate the young male model, which seems to lack ability to resist or personal will.
The opening scene is ‘simply not a scandalous provocation’ but includes also many references to the central themes of the movie, such as the power shift in sexual relationships and issue of narcissism that is more portrayed in male gender (Mask 67). Indeed the dominance change between model and dubbers demonstrates the sovereignty changes in Pablo and Antonio’s sexual relationship; the narcissistic approach of male body is equal to the narcissistic and the manipulative attitude of Pablo.
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How do the opening scene of the film within the film and the use of frontal male nudity as objectification and spectacle work within larger questions of the class as these questions concern the image of woman vs the image of man? Is the use of the male as…
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