Interdisciplinary Conference January 30-31, 2015
University of Bergen - Department of foreign languages and literatures


Faces of Leather,
Faces of Wax

the Contradictory Destinies of the Face in Hollywood Cinema

> BEAUTY INDUSTRY & the "fountain of youth"

a binary discourse: desirable vs. repulsive body

+ the "right" use
of surgery...
sandra bullock,
2015 Golden globes


...and its opposite:
youth signifiers turned monstruous?

mélanie griffith

mickey rourke, 2010

meg ryan, 2013

the caked face
the face disappears
behind a mask
Death in Venice, Luchino Visconti, 1971.
Mr. Skeffington, Vincent Sherman, 1944.

understanding the actor’s
relationship with age
virginia blum

Flesh Wounds, The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery, University
of California Press, 2003.

gilles deleuze

L’image mouvement, Éditions de Minuit, collection : Critique,
octobre 1983.

kathleen woodward

"Performing Age, Performing Gender" in NWSA Journal,
Vol. 18 No. 1, 2006.

> age blindness
> age as a gendered process

Oblivion, Joseph Kosinski, 2013.

"Gender plays a further role in the strategies of exclusion:
not only are men on screen granted a longer life-span as
sexual beings, but they retain a status as individuals,
defined in terms of (actual or past) activities, professional,
cultural, or political".

martine beugnet

"Screening the Old: Femininity as Old Age in
Contemporary French Cinema" in Studies in the
Literary Imagination, Vol. 39, No. 2 , 2006.

> old age threatens the individual's ability to
appear as a sexual subject
> women have a harder time maintaining this

> the aged body on screen

> maintaining a status /
questioning a process

Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood, 2008.


age as a function of the narrative

Little Big Man, Arthur Penn, 1970.

Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder, 1950.


age as decay, loss of dignity

> the face : the location of the
star persona

> the face, central in a
revelation process

The Fugitive, Andrew Davis, 1993.

> the face is split
between surface & structure
between a contour / a series of micro

gilles deleuze

"Le visage est cette plaque nerveuse porte-organes qui a
sacrifié l’essentiel de sa mobilité globale, et qui recueille
ou exprime à l’air libre toutes sortes de petits mouvements
locaux que le reste du corps tient d’ordinaire enfouis".

> the functions of movie makeup

> making the actor look older

Dick Smith working on Dustin Hoffman, 1970

kathleen woodward
“The effect of the very materiality of the body in age
can be that at a certain point it performs us, reducing
the latitude promised in part by the very concept of

> the body/face is performed

the makeup performs the actor

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,
David Fincher, 2008.

Tron: Legacy, Joseph Kosinsky, 2010.

> a closer look at two movies

> benjamin button (2008)

> a reversed aging process

> tron: legacy (2010)
> sequel to tron (1982)

> tron: legacy (2010)

> tron: legacy (2010)
> meeting the fake father, clu

> tron: legacy (2010)
> meeting the real father

> 2 actors constructing a younger body

> brad pitt

> jeff bridges

> the process of motion capture


acting +hmc

applying the movements to a modelized face


providing a body to the face

> the complexity of mo-cap
> an intricate rewriting of the
notion of performance
> cf. aylish wood

"a construct of performances"
" Contests and Simulations: Tron: Legacy’s Connections with
Technologies" in Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 66, No. 3,
Fall 2014.

> a thousand faces

expanding from deleuze
"La série intensive"

> a new materiality

the impossibly smooth

benjamin button (2008)

> a new materiality

the impossibly smooth

faces of wax
faces of leather

> an impossible face
> its opposite, therefore coded
as "real"

a reconciliation narrative

becoming a body of light in tron

a reconciliation narrative

return to a symbolic mother

> performance & mo-cap:
blurry lines
>mediation and the aesthetics of
the face
> a symbolic unity // aesthetic

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