Sunday, June 27, 2004

Lacan avec Shrek. 

Shrek 2 is a fantastically funny film, and if you intend to go see it, then I suggest you do two things:

1) Go at the latest possible showing to avoid the presence of large numbers of kids, many of whom will sniffle, cry, pee and aim red laser-beams at the screen.

2) Stop reading right now. Because I'm going to give away some plot details.

Look, here's the deal. Princess Fiona's maw and paw want her back now that she's been freed from the tower, so she's only gone and brought Shrek back to the fricking palace (in Far, Far Away, which is a medievalised Hollywood) to have it out with her folks. Then it's all that "oh 'allo, he's an ogre!" business. The Queen has no problems with this, but the King gets in a right old barney with Shrek. Anyway, the fairy godmother, who runs a non-union sweatshop making charms and magical spells, turns up and tells Princess Fiona to get over the ogre and marry Prince Charming (who happens to be her son). So, Shrek figures that Fiona really wants a Prince Charming, even if she's not up for the effete toss-pot who happens to be the fairy godmother's son. So, he runs off to the sweatshop, nicks some of the potion, changes himself into a dashing stud (while the donkey becomes a white stallion), runs up to Princess Fiona who has also had a miraculous transformation on account of the work of the magic, and says "do you want some of this or what? We have to kiss by midnight or we'll go back to being ugly." She plumps for ugly, he lets out a fart of relief and they dance.

So, what does this have to do with Lacan? Well, as Alain Badiou explains in an interview reproduced at the end of Infinite Thought, (2002), Lacan introduces to psychoanalysis a theory and even a philosophy of love which departs radically from Freud. Freud saw love as a manifestation of desire, where Lacan insisted that desire related to objects and love to being. Anyone who has been in love can attest to that without pause. You may have desired many things, but what distinguishes love from desire is that one's whole being is implicated in the transaction. And that, essentially, is what both Shreks stipulate in their ironic-aggressive manner - in the first Shrek, the evil would-be King desires Princess Fiona purely for the symbolic reward. He isn't interested in her subjective position. Shrek, on the other hand, almost loses his chance over what he mistakes as Fiona's subjective position. His whole being is involved.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?