Stephen Dwoskin – Outside In (1981)

continuing with liner notes by Michel Barthelemy :
“This is probably a good time to mention Dwoskin’s use of comedy : Outside in is a film that deals with disability but is also funny and even burlesque. Of course, only the disabled can use this mode to stage themselves as disabled characters.
Bergson states not only that “a deformity thay may become comic is a deformity that a normally built person, could succesfully imitate” but also that “the impression of the comic will be produced (…) when we are shown the soul tantalised by the needs of the body : on the one hand, the moral personnality with its intelligently varied energy, and on the other, the stupidly monotonous body, perpetually obstructing everything with its machine-like obstinacy. The more paltry and uniformly repeated these claims of the body, the more striking will be the result”

Stephen Dwoskin thus chooses to show the body of his character Steve as a potentially comical body and does not hesitate to play on that, whether conventionnally (the apocalyptic ending to the film), or more dialectically (the Buster Keaton-esque sequence in which he meets an editor who absolutely insists that he should sit down on a swivel chair – to simplify the interview. Steve’s face, like Keaton’s remains impassive)
Comedy may also arise from the clash between the voice-over and the picture (as in the multiple scenes where Steve attempts to join a woman lying in a bed, scenes repeated with infinitesimal and subtle variations in shots, costumes, angles and lightning)

(…) At this point, we are in the situation described by Bergson : she is laughing and Steve is laughing, but what about the viewer ?
“The comedian cause’s must necessarily comprise something slighlty detrimental (and specifically detrimental) to life in society, since society responds with a gesture which looks every bit like a defensive reaction, a gesture that is slightly frightening”
Is this what Stephen Dwoskin meant when he feared that his films might become threatening to some ? Indeed, an alternative title for Outside in could, without it seems stretching its meaning too far, my heart laid bare.”

1.55GB | 1h 50m | 746×560 | mkv

Subtitles:English, French, Spanish, German

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