Sonority, Difference and the Schwarzenegger Star Body

Gergely, Gabor (2019) Sonority, Difference and the Schwarzenegger Star Body. Film Philosophy, 23 (2). pp. 137-158. ISSN 1466-4615

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.3366/film.2019.0106

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Abstract

Discussions of the exilic body in Hollywood cinema have tended to focus on the personal trajectories of émigré actors (see Phillips and Vincendeau 2004) in the context of the broader history of the industry in which they achieved star status. Significant work has been done in particular on the fate of European women stars in Hollywood (e.g. Negra 2001; Frymus 2018). What has been rarely addressed however is the way in which Hollywood films imagine the exilic experience via the narratives built around specific stars. This article focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the dominant stars of the 1980s-1990s, whose foreignness, accent and body are used in a remarkably consistent set of aesthetic, generic and narrative practices. The article uses Nancy’s concept of sonority to argue that the sonorous presence of the foreign other in the ‘host’ space produces a new space; it produces the space of the host anew as one in which the foreign other is present despite the discursive denial of the possibility of that presence whilst at the same time producing a new self as distinct from the self before displacement. The article’s aim is to highlight the ways in which Hollywood films produce and reproduce foreignness as an impossibility, a presence that cannot be. The use of the foreign star, the article argues, to perform the permeability of the boundary between outside and inside, while also policing it.

Keywords:stardom, exile, sonority, difference, accent, Schwarzenegger
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:34866
Deposited On:09 Apr 2019 14:46

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