Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2012

Hitchcock’s queer doubles

Ramayana Lira de Sousa


The “double” is a well-known Hitchcockian motif: it appears as the “wrong man” unjustly accused of a crime, as the overbearing memory of a dead loved one, or as characters who mirror each other, either in looks or in actions. We can, thus, define the double as the multiplication of a character or group of characters, where the resulting “other” usually represents an aspect of the self that is concealed or repressed by the character who has been “doubled”. Widely reviewed under a psychoanalytical perspective, the issue of the double still presents other important challenges and this proposal aims at discussing the queer doubles in Hitchcock’s films as “falsifiers” who are opposed to non-queer doubles that emphasise narrative coherence and legibility. In films such as Rebeca, Rope, Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho, and Frenzy, a double condenses impulses that are well described by Lee Edelman: “the violent undoing of meaning, the loss of identity and coherence, the unnatural access to jouissance” (No Future, 132). Hitchcock’s queer doubles disturb how the films affect us by working at a molecular level, that is, as an “excessive, destabilizing intensity responsive to its own forces and capacities” (ELENA DEL RIO, Powers of Affection, 9), thus contesting sexual and narrative normativity. These doubles release the powers of the false as they complicate the return to an “order”. Therefore, we could argue that such characters are closer to being Deleuzian simulacra than psychoanalytical doppelgängers. In the aforementioned films, truth lies naked and its queer body of lies problematise narrative - and subjective - coherence

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About the Presenter

Ramayana Lira de Sousa
<p>Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina - Brazil</p><p>University of Leeds - UK</p>

Lecturer in Film and Cultural Studies

Postgraduate Program in Language Sciences - UNISUL

Visiting Research Fellow - University of Leeds