Dr. Kate Liu, Dr. Wen-chi Lin
Report on Film: Videodrome
May 24, 2000
More than Visual Violence:
The Power of Money Gives the Power of Mess Media in David Cronenberg's Videodrome
1. No plot, no characteristics, very very realistic.
2. Video circus, video arena.
3. Torture, murder, mutilation.
B. Philosophy of Videodrome:
1. TV screen is the retina of the mind's eyes.
2. TV screen is part of the physical structure of the brain.
3. What's on screen is raw experience for viewers.
4. Signals induce a brain tumor in the viewers, and the tumor creates the hallucinations.
5. The tumor is a pot of flesh, a new organ in the brain.
II. Body: The Establishment of Body: Through vision, the traditional definition of body has been twisted, blurred up, and changed.
A. Twisted--the construction: Max--"The Video word made flesh."
B. Blurred up--the location: Prof. O'Blivion--"At the end, he was convinced that public life on television was more real than private life in the flesh" Bianca talks about her father.
C. Changed--representation: Barry Convex--In his death scene.
1. He is from videodrome.
2. He has been changed by Max's bullets, which are made by Max's (machine) body.
III. The Operation of Body
A. Sensual Function
1. Stimulation: "We crave stimulation for its own sake." Nicki
2. Over-stimulation: S/M for fulfilling endless desire.
a. Max's first sex with Nicki.
b. Nicki burns on her chest with a cigarette and has Max have the same try.
3. Copulation with Machine: People, either in real or in hallucination, have physical contact with machine.
a. Max thrusts his head into a TV set, in which is Nicki's image.
b. Max puts a gun into his belly.
c. Max slashing a TV set, in which the images changed from Nicki to Masha.
B. Subjectivity Constituted or Lost? Body is "a site of power": Max has been used as a tool for Convex's conspiracy.
1. Input: Max first sees videodrome from Harlan.
2. Format/Program/Design: Convex records Max's hallucination and analyzes it and makes a cassette putting into Max's body to program him.
3. Operation: Max is commanded to kill his partners and Bianca.
4. Re-program and re-operation: Bianca kills Max and re-programs him into a "video made flesh."
C. Constitution of Identity
1. Languages, codes, signals: Max--video word made identity--machine in flesh/flesh in machine.
2. Names: Name is the first reference for identity. Prof.. O'Blivion--"O'Blivion is not the name I was born with. That's my television name."
3. "Doses of TV": Derelicts in Cathode Ray Mission. "Watching TV will help patch them back into the world's mixing board."
a. Capitalists--Bianca, Max's partners, Convex.
b. Labors: Harlan, Max's secretary, Brolley (a black clerk), dancers in restaurant, waiters.
c. Beggar: the one on the streets when Max is in wanted.
IV. Conclusion: Economics Dominates and leads this society into a seeming anarchy.
A. Subterranean activities
1. Videodrome is played in subterranean zone.
2. Spectacular Optical is for Barry Convex to cover up his business about missiles and videodrome.
B. Between Enterprises
1. Enemies: Competition--Channel 83 and Spectacular Optical
2. Traders: Cooperation--Masha and Max
C. Enterprises and Consumers: It is an era of consumption. Endless desire for no certain products. This is an era that people are pursuing after more and more.