Added: August 15, 2009 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Alyda Faber

Title: Redeeming Sexual Violence?

Subtitle: A Feminist Reading of Breaking the Waves

Journal: Literature and Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory, and Culture

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Year: March 2003

Pages: 59-75

ISSN: 0269-1205 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1477-4623 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | Representations: Films / Breaking the Waves



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Author: Alyda Faber, Atlantic School of Theology

Abstract: »Important essays by Stephen Heath, Kyle Keefer, Tod Linafelt, and Irena Makarushka on Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves (1996) contend that the film's characterisation of Bess represents her sexuality as a transgressive force for goodness. Catherine MacKinnon and Julia Kristeva, however, challenge the notion of the emanicipatory powers of transgressive sexuality: they theorise how assignments of 'perverse' sexualities constitute patriarchal hierarchies and orders. From this critical perspective, I argue that von Trier represents Bess's 'goodness' as masochistic debility, a dubious construction that valorises male domination and invests sexual violence with redemptive meaning.« (Source: Literature & Theology)


  Abstract (p. 59)
  I. Introduction (p. 59)
  II. Sexuality as Transgression (p. 60)
  III. Sexuality as Contingent Social Practice (p. 64)
  IV. Von Trier's Phallic Idealisation of the Child-Woman Bess (p. 67)
  V. Conclusion (p. 73)
  References (p. 74)

Wikipedia: Film: Lars von Trier / Breaking the Waves