Body: physical boundaries
De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté, Sur mes lèvres and De rouille et d’os
in Jacques Audiard
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The body, and the boundaries that can be transgressed by and within it, are essential to the cinema of Jacques Audiard. His cinematographic focus on bodies is inherently connected with the experience of sensation, the expression of sexuality, the articulation of gender and the negotiation of disability. This chapter analyses the films De battre mon cœur s’est arrêté (2005), Sur mes lèvres (2001) and De rouille et d’os (2012). In each of these case studies, the primacy of the body extends from the cinematography to the narrative, with storylines centred on disability, creation, violence and sensation that place the physical body at the forefront of plot and aesthetics. The chapter begins with De battre, reading its masculinist portrayal of the body through the motif of the hands. It then analyses Sur mes lèvres, in which the protagonist’s deafness and lip-reading skills radically foreground her desiring gaze and reorient our own sensory perceptions. It concludes with De rouille et d’os, Audiard’s second film to feature a physically disabled female protagonist, in which double amputation becomes the unexpected site of sexual agency and transformation.


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