Portraits of Desire in Blue
The fear of Death and the Desire to transcend mortality are themes that have recurred so often in film history: therefore, their link with cinema is worthy of attention. If many films have been portrayed as a meditation on human mortality, some seem to suggest confronting Death openly for greater personal growth and improving one’s own existence. Rokugatsu no hebi, directed by Tsukamoto Shin’ya, may be supposed to be among these. The film tells a sensual and violent story of salvation through the reawakening of Desire and the repossession of the body in the modern metropolis, against the depersonalisation, crushing, and virtual tension of contemporary life. It also provides occasion for an interesting analysis of Desire and its position toward the crux of Death in the key of psychoanalytic interpretation developed by Jacques Lacan, substantially based on its vision. Hence, a Lacanian psychoanalytic approach to the filmic text seems to be appropriate to the purpose and helps to bring to the surface the portraits of desire that inhabit it, thematically as well as in its staging. Director Tsukamoto appears to be very skilful on staging mental landscapes and psychological tension, which is the ground of the unconscious whereby Lacanian Desire finds itself perfectly at home.