Ein Blick und die Liebe bricht aus

Someday, he’ll come along, the man I love. And he’ll be big and strong, the man I love. And when he comes my way, I’ll do my best to make him stay. He’ll take my hand and smile. I’ll understand. And in a little while, he’ll take my hand. And though it seems absurd, I know we both won’t say a word. Maybe I’ll meet him someday …… He’ll build a little house, just meant fortwo. From which I’ll never roam, who would. Would you? I’m waiting for the man I love.

Billie Holliday

It Takes Three To Tango or Romance Revised: Jutta Brückner’s: One Glance and Love Breaks Out

To write about dance, desire and gender calls for preparing a stage upon which the intricate relationships of cultural arrangements can perform. In contrast to the freedancing since the late 1960s, that celebrated non-hierarchical, unconfined self-expression, heterosexual couple dancing prides itself on a series of tightly choreographed patterns, steps and figures. This type of dancing, I will argue, is anchored in a script of social arrangements that are culturally coded in terms of class, gender and race. With precision, the dancers adhere to the prescribed patterns that, in their aesthetic formulations, conceal structures of power. Each of their gestures reflect hierarchies and reinstate a relational system rooted in inequalities. Even though the dance may be individually inflected, the dancers remain within the boundaries of atradition that they aspire to carry out flawlessly. [1] In Jutta Brückner’s film Ein Blick und die Liebe bricht aus (One Glance and Love Breaks Out, 1986), it is the tango whose power and energy vitalizes these arrangements. The tango provides a backdrop for the exploration of passion and romance as they are negotiated within heterosexual relationships of a Western variant. Moreover, the tango functions as the receptacle for the expectations that arise from the powerful fantasy of romantic love and the longing with which Western culture has infused its subjects. In the tango, the play of desire and seduction is enmeshed in a struggle of sexual conquest and recognition. The rhythms of the tango eulogize these practices, while its songs often lament being deserted, neglected, or abandoned.

In the following discussion of One Glance and Love Breaks Out, I intend to choreograph a number of subtexts that converge in the tango’s cortes (the halt or interruption of the dancing trajectory at which the tango figures take place). On stage here are female desire, the pulsations of romantic love and the gaze. The film centers around the denigration of women in the name of a phantasmagoric love which they spend their lives in search of. No matter what gains women have made since the 1960s, Brückner explains, women still seem to be enmeshed in the dream of romantic love that holds them captive. Even despite the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, patriarchy remains deeply embedded in women’s and men’s psyches and social relations. This makes the women, who move within the theatrical spaces and stage Brückner constructs, tragic person as precisely because of their obsession with love and their ravenous desire to be desired. Most significantly, the women figure as accomplices in their own oppression. Their fantasies collaborate with the cultural script that disempowers them. Thus the site is the imaginary, in which the longing for romantic love is expressed by gendered subjectivities whose idioms differ even though the figures move to the same music. Their silent longings clash with their live spheres represented by the men clad in gray. For as in the tango – the script calls for women to follow, to be the ones who are desired and loved, while their male counterparts lead.

One Glance and Love Breaks Out opens with ghostlike shadows that perform the tango. The accompanying soundtrack of wind produces an uncanniness characteristic of horror films or nightmares. The dancers meld into each other to obscure the boundaries between bodies as though the social arrangements they perform demand an intricate choreography of both genders. These shadows are then fleshed out in the collage of tableaus Brückner constructs to explore women’s subordinate position within the economy of love. lt is a horror film of sorts, that casts women as masochists with analleged inventory of lack and men as the progenitors of desire. Under the presentsystem of heterosexual coupling, it is men, therefore, who function as the agents of desire, while women embody desire much as in the figures of the tango. The tango sets the stage; its throbbing rhythms punctuate the asymetrical power structures in traditional heterosexual love relationships. Marta Savigliano describes the sensuous struggle that takes place in the throes of the tango’s passion, as the male leads and establishes his identity while the female’s identity is continuously destabilized and renegotiated in relationship to his movements. The female is the effect of his motionand his gaze. “She (la Otra),” Savigliano explains, “will be dragged into the dance, beled through it, and be held while performing unstable / excessive footwork. Her instinctive passion can never be totally subdued, and she passionately resists and is comforted by the male embrace / control. But her Passion is aroused by the male desire. He instigates her passionate outburst by that thigh of his, insistently seeking to slip it between her legs throughout the whole musical piece.” [2] It is this eroticized ritual that naturalizes gendered roles. For the female, her identity depends on being desired, onbeing the one to be looked at, instead of the one who actively looks. Savigliano claims, “The female dancer’s role is one of legitimizing the need for external intervention andleadership.” [3]

The male gaze initiates the dance, much like in the opening scene in the café, when the camera follows the male gaze to his female partner. The scratched recordingof a tango song with its refrain of volver, to come back or return, ironically comments on the persistence of these practices over time. In the voice-over, the singer not only nostalgically mourns the loss of his first love and the impossibility of ever returning to the remembered nest of love, but he simultaneously expresses a fear of engulfment. The underlying tension in the song revolves around surrendering and maintaining boundaries. This struggle, as I will show, reflects the dynamics of the early phases of identity formation which lays the emotional foundation for future love relationships and shapes memory of phantasmatic love. First sight and the encounter with the first love object provide the foundation for the terms of desire. In the traditional nuclear family setting, the first love object to be sighted is the mother with the father soon falling within the visual field.

Brückner investigates the emotional returns that fuel women’s willingness to lockin an embrace with their counterparts, despite their subordination within the configuration of traditional romances. The question of women’s willingness to surrender themselves in the name of love, in fact, preoccupies many of Brückner’s films that analyze the structures of emotion and especially the politics of love as theyc urrently exist. Such film titles as Colossal Love and Do You Love Brecht? unequivocally signal Brückner’s interest in identity and love, and in the emotional transactions that leaves women powerless. In Colossal Love, the figure Rahel Varnhagen explores her identity formed by her intense desire for love; in Do You Love Brecht? the protagonist Margarethe Steffin, the lover and colleague of Bertolt Brecht, is portrayed as his caretaker and an effect of his desires. In One Glance and Love Breaks Out, Brückner tells the story of love as it is conveyed to us by our culture, and as it is written onto the bodies of women ( … ) They are stories of remembrance, expectation, of projections, images and of the physical reactions to them, and of a restless wandering through empty spaces in search of something. This something has to do with identity, with their own identities, which they still seek in the mirror of the male gaze. [4] According to Brückner, her litany of mute images represents the classical stages of a traditional woman’s life: courtship, marriage, infidelity, and abandonment. The film includes scenes of a bride on her wedding night who appears to be raped by her husband; a housewife poised at a sewing machine, frenetically sewing while her husband peruses a pornographic magazine; a man who smugly watches as two women grovel at his feetvying for his attention only to see him turn to a third woman, a servant; and women who eat or clean to compensate for their frustration and emotional pain and to fill the vacuum of their unfulfilled fantasies.

The film title One Glance and Love Breaks Out playfully reconfigures the saying of love at first sight. In this one moment of visual encounter, love and desire are allegedly unleashed. lt is the promise of the combined fulfillment of narcissistic as well ascomplex ideological wishes that seduces the eye. Brückner accurately describes the mechanisms at stake: What allegedly appears ‚at first sight‘ is a combination ofemotion, sex, and a bourgeois desire for marital security. [5] It is through vision that the wild fantasy of love begins. The power of fantasy must not be underestimated in this equation, for fantasy is at the center of beliefs, perceptions and actions; it acts as an organizing force both within psychic life and within a variety of cultural forms. Unconscious wishes, and the fantasy they engender are as immutable a force in ourlives as any material circumstance. In Brückners film, fantasy is represented throughmirrors that emphasize the imaginary quality of the spaces in which the various vignettes take place. The perspective is that of the female protagonists, who project the fantasies that shape their emotional life onto the reflections of men who embody their desire.

The mis-en-scene of large, vacant rooms derealised with mirrors places these scenes within the realm of the imaginary and foregrounds the ways in which fantasy organizes and represents reality. At the beginning, a solitary woman reflectively sifts through an array of photographs scattered about her on the floor. As she walks through the wreckage of romance and gazes upon the traces of its memorabilia, a female voice-over recites a letter to love. The letter reveals a wish for identity, sexuality and formerging, all of which are promised by romantic intimacy. Interspersed throughout the montage of filmic images that follow, the epistolary to love progressively turns frominvitation to a bidding farewell. The letter begins:

 Love, you sneering angel, look at me. Show me who I am. Deliver mefrom the lonliness of my body. [6]

The photographs, the shards of memory, suggest that she too participated in amorous fantasies. Just as the tango singer who croons volver, the woman also feeds off the memory of a first love and longs for its return. Among the photographs she reflects upon the image of a wedding, which comes to life. Newlyweds pose before a mirror, pleasurably constructing themselves for the gaze. The scene turns when the groom begins to manhandle his bride. Under his touch, she becomes a prop that endures the sexual advances sanctified by their union. The non-diegetic sound of tearing and the breaking of glass, repeated throughout the film, comments on the shattering of the brides illusions and her fantasy of love. Once in their Himmelbett, a canopied bed whose fabric hints at clouds, the groom fulfills his sexual needs while the bride is sacrificed on the altar of her dreams. He calls her La Puta to degrade her and to instigate his arousal. Virility depends on imagining the bride as a whore, whose body is coded as pure sexuality, in contrast to the dichotomous (m)other. Tango music animates the scene while the voice-overs letter to love reveals the hidden passion that remains unennounced: I adorned myself for you. There are gulfs of desire between these blood red lips that I dare not think about. [7] The articulation of female desire remains enclosed within the realm of fantasy and the contract of reciprocity remains unendorsed.

Although the expression of female desire hardly gains center stage in Brückners film, it finds expression in the disembodied female voice-over and surfaces only sporadically in images that counterpoise the representation of women as passive objectsof sexual encounters. For example, the same figure who portrays the bride gazes upon herself in a mirror. Seductively dressed, she douses herself with champagne. This sensual fantasy, accompanied by a soundtrack of waves and ocean, dramatically contradicts the representation of the mute and violated body of the previous scene. Inanother scene, a festively dressed woman sits alone on the floor between two place settings. Seemingly abandoned, she tenderly kisses her hand and arm. These scenes suggest an autoeroticism as an outlet for female desire while revealing the longing for the fantasy of love. In Kristevas words, love erases the borders of the self: in the rapture of love, the limits of ones own identity vanish, at the same time that the precision of reference and meaning becomes blurred in loves discourse [8]. The blending of self with other hints at a complex relationship between the willingness to relinquish oneself. Brückner observes: In romantic love, women always want physicality and closeness and what is often understood as physical passion. For men, romantic love calls for distance. (Die Frauen klagen in der romantischen Liebe immer Körperlichkeit an und Nähe, und das, was man unter körperliche Leidenschaft verstehen kann. Für Männer beruht die romantische Liebe gerade auf Distanz.) [9] According to Brückner the perpetual tug of war between the desire for proximity and the fear of engulfment negotiated in love relationships is gender specific. The pull between these two poles results in a struggle for control and power that, also all too often, plays itself out along gender lines.

In One Glance and Love Breaks Out notions of female identities, love and female masochism are held in close proximity. Scene upon scene reveal aspects of female masochism whose pleasure and anguish reside in the attainment of and longing for recognition. The topic of female masochism has only recently gained the critical attention needed to dispel long-held notions of female masochism as an innate reflex off emininity and normative. Interpretations of late have moved to an understanding of masochism as a manifestation of cultural training while ascribing to female masochism its rightful status as perversion and pathology. In other words, women are taught masochism through social, economical and cultural designs. Sandra Lee Bartky proposes: Feminine masochism, like femininity in general, is an economical way of embedding women in patriarchy through the mechanism of desire. [10] In One Glance Brückner challenges the assumptions that tend to naturalize womens masochistic impulse. By de-eroticizing the sexual encounter, she tears away the veil that hides the internalized forms of oppression which turn women into social actors who are complicitin the structures that disempower them. [11]

There have been a number of contemporary readings of female masochism that cite its occurrence and investigate its origins. To explain the masochistic tendencies that Brückner investigates in her film and that have come to be associated with femininity, I will draw upon Jessica Benjamins provocative study entitled The Bonds of Love. In her study, Benjamin outlines a psychogram of desire based on recognition and on a strict division in the psychic development of male and female children largely influenced by the relationship to the mother. Using object relations theory as her framework which is based essentially on white, middle class European family structures, Benjamin outlines the process of gender-specific differentiation and sees a disposition cultivated in girls toward blurring subject boundaries because they are often denied the experience of separation. In Benjamins own phrasing: The girl requires no shift away from her mother (like the male child). This makes her identity less problematic, but it is a disadvantage in that she possesses no obvious way of disidentifying from her mother, no hallmark of separateness. The feminine tendency therefore is not to emphasize but to underplay independence. [12] She sees in this tendency toward merging and giving up independence, a fertility ground for submission. [13] In other words, the relationship to the mother, who does not encourage separation, results in a fatal attachment for the girl. Benjamin speaks of a pervasive willingness in women to relinquish agency and to deny the self precisely because they lack the possibility of exploring the boundaries beyond the mother. Female masochism, consequently, is linked closely to the denial of womens autonomy, and the inhibition of separation and agency in girls.

Womens lack of agency and of desire to separate, Benjamin explains, produces an inclination in women to fantasize an ‘ideal love’ – a love in which the woman submits to and adores another who is what she cannot be. [14] Benjamin persuasively outlines the intricate cultural training that results in the production of the idealized figure. She sees it rooted in the relationship of the child to the all-powerful mother,who threatens to engulf the child and to inhibit separation. Within the mother-father-child dad, the ideal is the father who represents a sphere outside of materal rule. Incontrast to the Freudian paradigm of female lack and consequent penis envy, the phallus provides escape from maternal power and becomes a symbol of separation in a girl’s efforts to individuate. Yet, mobility is restricted within this traditional triad whose tangos are strictly plotted. For the girl, the father remains inaccessible for identification, since it would mean a disruption of traditional gender boundaries, not to mention a potential threat to male identity. Thus the girls are confronted, Benjamin notes, more directly by the difficulty of separating from mother and their own helplessness. Unprotected by the phallic sign of gender difference, unsupported by an alternate relationship, they relinquish their entitlement to desire. [15] To return to the mother means to identify with a lack of agency; it means to be led through the tangos figures and to perform the sentadas which land women in the lap of patriarchy. [16] The longing for adventure outside of the realm of the engulfing mother is displaced onto the significant male in the girls life or onto the missing father who stands for desire. Emerging from this triangular configuration then, the notion of an ideal love results from the desire to acquire agency and experience the fulfillment of desire. The malethus becomes a phantasm or ideal.

Brückner astutely explores these structures in her exposé of female masochism. The ideal man, dressed in a tuxedo and prominently set off from the men in gray suits, periodically appears as a mirror image upon which the womans needs and desires are projected. He stands for the phantasm of ideal love – the missing father who is sought obsessively, but who remains unattainable. As a well-to-do woman peeks through the blinds to gaze upon her fantasy of the ideal man, another woman enters the reflection and grovels at his feet. The woman who submits represents the masochistic impulse that the ideal demands. Frustrated by the inaccessibility of her ideal love object, the gazing- woman commands her maid to clean the kitchen – to wash away desire while exercising power over a person of the lower class. lt is the maid who is most violated in Brückners exploration of love relationships. This suggests that she does not participate in the masochistic narrative of romantic love but bears the burden of its inequalities. [17] 

In addition to the man in the tuxedo, the men dressed in gray function as projections as well. Within the filmic project, they act out the asymetrical power relationship between genders and produce the disparity between the so called reality of interpersonal relationships and the fantasies. The men in gray wield their power in the form of their gaze and their sexual prowess, while they represent the sites at which love is to take place. The women, Brückner notes, fasten their silent and boundless longing for romance on the men, as if they were coat stands. [18] The group of women whose journey takes them through the imaginary spaces of empty rooms and mirrors are shown incessantly searching for love in the form of a Mr. Right. Even though their pace appears purposeful, they remain without direction in their pursuit of the unobtainable. In one scene, the women are seen walking frantically through interior spaces, perch themselves on a rooftop as the men dressed in gray, as though they were window shopping, walk around gazing upon the women who pose like mannequins. To arouse desire, women adom themselves for the men in gray who are the agents of desire. The women do not return the gaze which implies power, but they direct it by constructing themselves to appeal to the minds eye.

As Brückner shows in her film, women construct themselves to spark male desire; the repertoire is all too familiar and only a few cultural representations offer acounter-image. In a crass demonstration of the traditional dynamics of sexual relationships, Brückners women endure mens advances, the penetration of their bodies and abandonment; they detach themselves in wardly from the sexual act while submitting. Their dis-passion speaks through the muteness of their bodies and their empty gaze. What is not revealed, however, is the pleasure derived indirectly through recognition. In the stairwell of the subway station, a girl stands mute while a man hassex with her. Her thoughts revealed in a voice-over recite the internalized voice of the male I am a little whore. The encounter undermines the notion of the feminine taste for fantasies of victimization, which Bartky notes, is assumed on virtually every page of the large pulp fiction literature produced specifically for womem [19] The lack of visible pleasure suggests submission in the name of the desire for love which becomes entangled with the fantasy of the penetration of boundaries, of violation, i. e. of love. In a similar scene, a young woman screams out te quiero, (I love you) which appears to assault the man who then retreats from the opportunity for sex. Contrary to the men who appear in the film, the women are unable to translate their own desire into tangible experience. Nurtured by the narratives of ecstatic love, the women are left pining for love and romance and for the fulfiument of the figments of their imagination. Their identities are constituted by their desire to be loved. Brückner rids the masochistic interaction of a counterpart and its pleasures, and consequently challenges the legitimacy of such forms of desire.

While the women delight in their desirability, their subjectivity merges with male subjectivities which women absorb as their own, much like the dynamics Foucault describes in his essay on the panopticon and the internalized gaze of authority produced by surveillance. [20] Along with the porous boundaries of identity cultivated in the female protagonists of western culture, the power relationship implied in the systemof gazing prepare the ground for masochistic dispositions whose pleasure / fulfillment lies in submission to an idealized figure. lt stems from the desire to be recognized by someone who is unreachable, by someone who represents power, and within traditional gender arrangements, who represents possibilities of slipping into a subject position by association.

Brückner calls attention to the civil institutions that organize relationships, encode gender assignments and foster masochism in women. Among them religion plays a prominent role in the film (given that the film was produced in Argentina, thei conography suggests Catholicism). Footage of a procession of girls who carry candles to the altar repeatedly conjures up associations with sacrifice, surrender, the suppression of female identity outside of motherhood, the de-sexualized and disempowered body, and the sanctification of monogamous, heterosexual relationships. The girls appear as small brides in their communion dresses who will one day presumably pray for Mr. Right to appear in their lives. To represent the continuity of such traditions over time, the group of searching women follow the girls. Although these values may seem antiquated in the wake of feminism, they still wield their power within most of Western culture and imprint most cultural and social practices.

The structure of emotion, in fact, has changed little since the womens movement, Brückner contends. As a result, the finely crafted images are relentless in their confrontation with the ways in which women are situated within the Western paradigm of love relationships. The films repetition of traditional gender relationships in various settings self-reflexively confronts the neurotic fixation that compulsively reenacts the cultural script. The womens relationships to the men hardly change. The movement of the women is contained within the walls of the elusive space through which they journey. The locale suggests stasis which produces displeasure since the spectator bears witness to the repetition of masochistic subordination without the pleasure or sense of power that a masochist may derive. lt is the confinement, and the implicit repetition of structures that seal womens secondary status, which arouse discomfort and frustration.

Yet even though the strength of hegemony seems impenetrable at times, Brückner does offer a glimmer of hope for a change in the social construction of womens position. Toward the end of the film, the woman who sits alone breaks with the cycles of womens submission endemic to the films structure. Punctuated by the rhythms of the tango, she resists the advances of the man dressed in gray who entersher sphere expecting her to acquiesce to his desire. She struggles against his advances, only to eventually walk out on him. Her defiance does not resemble the seductive resistance of the tango, but rather a refusal to comply with the structures plotted in its steps. Rejected by the solitary woman and unable to maintain erotic domination, the man in gray regresses into a fetal position. In the following scene, he is held by a mother (the corroborator of male omnipotence) in a parody of the pieta. In the epistle tolove that underscores the scene of struggle, the female voice articulates the wish to exorcise the wrenching demands of love and to escape its humihations: I am expelling you from my body, homeless beggar. I want to remain alone and to lock my windows and doors so that I cannot hear your howling. I do not want to see my disgrace, and I no longer want to taste the saliva of your kisses. [21] Individual images of the group of women that paraded through the film fade in and out to suggest that the disembodied voice gains contours with the series of faces. This scene is soon followed by the image of a faceless woman whose head is covered with bandages and who attempts to walk uncertain and afraid, she cautiously proceeds into unknown territories. This image evokes the title of Brückners earlier film, Laufen lernen (Learning to Walk, 1980) in which a housewife attempts to change her life after 17 years of marriage. In OneGlanc – and Love Breaks Out, the mummified woman is juxtaposed with the brigade of women who pass through the room, oblivious of the mummified womans travail. At the end, they sit outside in the drizzling rain overlooking a courtyard, disshelved and exhausted from their pursuit of love. Their journey is over once they exit from therealm of the imaginary, the house in which the hallucination has taken place. They [thewomen] are looking down, Brückner describes this scene, into a courtyard that almost looks like a prison yard, and they see people who are still dancing the tango. But the music is percussion now, and the dance steps no longer fit the music. This is how I see the concept of love that we have today. We continue to go through the motions that have no basis anymore. [22] With the rhythms of the tango changed, the protagonists can no longer effectively follow the patterns mapped out in the tango. Their steps are intension with the music that they will not be able to perform according to tradition. The change, however, seems so subtle that only few will be able to recognize its challenge.

Overall Brückner denies her viewers a happy ending and a narrative resolution be fitting the conventional structures of storytelling. Instead, the gaze moves full circleas it returns (volver) to the site of the tango. In the courtyard of a tenement building, men and women dance the tango. They are the ones who originally cast the shadows that were seen in the first shots. Once again, each person dances the steps to precision and plays his or her role with fatalistic dignity. The transfer into a documentary mode serves to translates the imaginary into the realm of daily life. The last image of the two men dancing returns the tango to its place of origin, to patriarchy and its culture of virility on display that reinstates the male to his properplace in the configuration of desire and sexuality. Women are dismissed from the scene altogether. The men alone also reflects the narcissism of the tango for men, foregrounded by the use of mirrors, as well as offers a space in which the men can produce themselves to solidify publicly their identity. Traditionally, the men of the lower classes danced with each other because women did not have access to the streets and bars, the social spaces that belonged to men. [23] 

What remains open in One Glance is the cultural specificity of the tango gaze that constructs gender. Even though the dancers allegedly glide over cultural borders, the tango is rooted in Argentina, where Brückner, along with a crew of actors and cameramen, made the film. lt could be argued, however, that the tango has crossed borders and has been colonized by its participants and admirers. Its international audience borrows its rhythms to dream about romantic love and to watch and revel in the erotic negotiation of power. The tango functions as an outlet for structures that prevade western culture, as can be seen in the song by Billie Holliday in the epigraph. As the dance of passion, it is important to note that the tango relies on the external gaze for its perfortnance as much as on the gaze of the dancers. lt is predominately culture that sculpts the relationship between genders. As Savigliano eloquently observes,

it actually takes three to tango: a male to master the dance and confess his sorrows; a female to seduce, resist seduction, and be seduced; and a gaze to watch these occurrences. The male / female couple performs the ritual, the gaze constitutes the spectacle. Two performers, but three participants, make a tango. However, the gaze is not aloof and static rather, it is expectant, engaged in that particular detachment that creators have toward the objects of their imagination. [24] 

The gaze, rooted in ideology and mixed with fantasy and immense longings, imposes itself upon the tangos tensions. In contrast to many films in which the gazeen gages in scopophilic delight and in the fantasies of romantic intimacy, the camera in One Glance and Love Breaks Out denies the spectator entrance into an illusion. The gaze here is critical, and the visuals and tango beat work against each other. As Brückners play on words in the film title suggests, love will not be aroused in the gaze of her camera. On the contrary, the cameras gaze is used to probe the mechanisms that sustain a culture of abuse in the name of love.

[1] Within a German corntext, it may be the Waltz that was danced first at court by nobility and then laterby the upper middle class, until the middle and even lower middle class began to send its sons and daughters to the Tanzschule.
[2] Marta E. Savigliano, Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (Boulder, CO.: Westview Press, 1995) 78
[3] Savigliano, 80.
[4] See Jutta Brückner, interview with Barbara Kosta and Richard W. McCormick, Signs 21.2 (Winter 1996): 362.
[5] Brückner interview, 363.
[6] All quotes are taken directly from the film, One Glance and Love Breaks Out (1986). All translations are my own. (Liebe, Du grinsender Engel, siehe mich an. Zeige mir wer ich bin. Erlöse mich von derEinsamkeit meines Fleisches.)
[7] „Ich habe mich geschmückt für Dich. Zwischen diesen blutroten Lippen Abgründe von Wünschen, die ich nicht zu denken wage.“
[8] Julia Kristeva, Tales of Love, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia UP, 1987) 2.
[9] Jutta Brückner, interview with Barbara Kosta and Lilli Limonius, Berliner Filmfest Journal, 1986.
[10] Sandra Lee Bartky, Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression (New York: Routledge, 1990) 51
[11] Bartky mentions an interesting aspect that is missing from Brückner’s film, namely that the relationship between erotic domination and sexual subordination may offer women some form of excitement. She writes: “Surely women’s acceptance of domination by men cannot be entirelyindependent of the fact that for many women, dominance in men is exciting.” Bartky, 51.
[12] Jessica Benjamin, The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988) 78. For an excellent discussion of literature’s construction of female masochism, see Michelle A. Massè, In the Name of Love: Women, Masochism, and the Gothic (Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell UP ,1992).
[13] Benjamin, 79.
[14] Benjamin, 86.
[15] Benjamin, 109.
[16] The sentada is a tango figure in which the female dancer sits with her legs crossed on her partner’s thigh.
[17] She is the only one in the narrative to have an abortion. A man in gray defers to her (the body that serves) while the women of the middle class fight for his attention. Thus, it seems that the sexual politics mapped out in the film are defined by an ideology that shapes the middle class. Even though the beliefs and longings spill over into other classes, its steps, poses and figures are different, much like in the tango whose variations are class-bound. In other words, the ideal image, the object of desire, and the “love” ignited by the glance has various contours.
[18] Brückner interview, 363.
[19] Badky, 46.
[20] Michel Foucault,
[21] „Ich vertreibe Dich aus meinem Leib, heimatlose Bettlerin. Ich will allein bleiben und meine Fenster und Türen verschließen, um dein Geheul nicht zu hören. Meine Schande will ich nicht sehen und den Speichel deiner Küsse nicht mehr schmecken.“
[22] Brückner interview, 363.
[23] See Savigliano, 146-147.
[24] Savigliano 74.

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