The impossibility of vision: vampirism, formlessness and horror in Vampyr

Peirse, Alison (2009) The impossibility of vision: vampirism, formlessness and horror in Vampyr. Studies in European Cinema, 5 (3). pp. 161-170. ISSN 1741-1548

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/seci.5.3.161_1

Abstract

This article argues that the shifting bodily borders of male protagonist, David Gray, and female vampire, Marguerite Chopin, evoke horror in Vampyr (Dreyer, 1932). Situating the film within the 'loose, ambiguous narratives' of European art cinema, it is suggested that the film's central trope is the confounding of spectator's ability to make sense of the events taking place within the text. Gray's bodily borders vacillate throughout the film, moving between active and passive and alive and dead, evoking formlessness and uncertainty. Vampyr even includes an uncanny moment in which Gray looks upon his own dead body laid out in a coffin. Even when Gray is active, the mesh screens, closed windows and locked doors distance him from his object of pursuit and undermine his gaze. Through the formless female vampire, oblique narrative and form and white mise-en-scene, Vampyr reveals the impossibility of vision and the limitations of the spectatorial gaze.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W600 Cinematics and Photography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Arts
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Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 20 May 2010 09:41
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 10:56
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3435

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