Fetishism and control
La Belle captive
in Alain Robbe-Grillet
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As a modernist, Robbe-Grillet had paid lip-service to the notion that any work of art is a collaborative process. The growing eroticism of his films, in particular, which provoked a negative reception in feminist circles and some censorship, seemed to require a defence on artistic grounds. While this imagery appears to expose the social, psychological and religious processes of control that lead to the dangers of sexual repression, it also seems to express a preoccupation with the threat of disorder. The most memorable symbol of fetishism in Robbe-Grillet's cinema is perhaps that of the leather-clad Sara Zeitgeist in La Belle captive. The film is based on the Greek legend of the fiancée of Corinth which inspired Goethe's Elegie and a chapter of Michelet's La Sorcière. A love-hate relationship with the feminine, expressed in the extreme form of a sado-eroticism, may be the pathological manifestation of an anguish.


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