PRINT March 2007


IN SWEDISH ARTIST Nathalie Djurberg’s Claymation film The Necessity of Loss, 2006, a man who cannot resist acting on his overwhelming attraction to a young girl decides he must castrate himself. But he still has arms with which to touch her, and so he lops off one of them, then both his legs, and finally his head. But even this disembodied state won’t “save” him from the feared inappropriate sexual liaison: At this point the girl cheerfully removes her underwear and sits on his face.

Djurberg’s short Claymation films (of which The Necessity of Loss is by no means the most extreme or unsparing) are often reminiscent, in their schematic character, of archetypal scenes from Freud’s theories of sexuality—except that Djurberg’s narratives seem bluntly literal, as if taking place in a realm where repression has burned off completely. A man’s body, here, is not symbolically parceled but actually

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