Sonority, difference and the Schwarzenegger star body

Gergely, Gabor (2018) Sonority, difference and the Schwarzenegger star body. In: Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 14-18 March, 2018., Toronto, Canada.

Sonority, difference and the Schwarzenegger star body
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This paper explores the sonority of the Schwarzenegger star body to move away from a chiefly sight-informed analysis (e.g. Williams).

Schwarzenegger films typically deal with fish-out-of-water scenarios, where the hero’s remarkable attributes are somehow impossible or of little or no help. Thus he accrues muscle chained to the wheel of death, he is an infiltration machine that speaks with a thick Austrian accent, and he must excel at Christmas shopping and connect emotionally with a zombie daughter. Faced with such impossible tasks, he screams in agony, frustration or rage. Key scenes are selected from the Schwarzenegger corpus, which has drawn popular, if not scholarly remark for the ubiquity of the scream. These include Kindergarten Cop (Ivan Reitman, 1990), where John Kimble bursts into the open to scream in frustration during an undercover mission, Dutch’s Tarzan-like jungle cry in The Predator (John McTiernan, 1987) and Dr Alex Hesse’s labour-pain vocalizations in Junior (Reitman, 1994).

The paper argues, with Deleuze, that the screaming Schwarzenegger body makes audible and also visible the trauma of exclusion and a yearning to be perceived to be organic and human. The analysis of the scream, and the muffled resonance of the Schwarzenegger voice, will lead to a discussion of the space the foreign other fills with the scream and thus, following Lefebvre’s (1992) analysis, produces.

The Schwarzenegger body in the opening scene of The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) is read with Nancy (2007) as an echo chamber that comes into presence of the self by listening and resounding, 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. In this sense, the paper argues, as the foreign body listens to self and space in the host space, the foreign body produces a new space and a self specific to that space. I call this, after Naficy (2001) and Nancy, the exilic self. Thus, the paper argues that the sonorous presence of the exilic self produces an exilic space, revealed in its horror as a space of inorganic rubble and cyborg embodiment in Kyle Reece’s (Michael Biehn) flashbacks to the post-apocalyptic space where the exilic self, the Terminator, is at home.

Keywords:Schwarzenegger, Foreignness, Sonority, Difference, Nancy
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:32301
Deposited On:20 Oct 2018 21:06

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