All posts tagged: Linda Williams

Thinking about Triggers, Thumbs, Sex, and Death

At times it can seem that cinema, at least its American variant, inhabits a prolonged adolescence in which images of sex are at once omnipresent and puerile, in a “can’t look too close but can’t look away” manner. But why? Why should sex be any harder to credit in movies than murder?


The first image we see is of a dead body, probably from a film of a concentration camp but, like every other archival image in this film, it does not fit into familiar paradigms. A skeletal, naked corpse of a man lies face up on the ground, arms and legs splayed out—the whole cadaver fills the screen. Where can we possibly go from here?