Another Space: Constructing the Erotic in Last Tango in Paris, Fire, and Cleansed

David Hammerbeck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The cinematic works of Bernardo Bertolucci, Deepa Mehta, as well as the theatre of Sarah Kane, often feature the creation of an erotic space. In this paper I examine Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, Deepa Mehta’s Fire, and Sarah Kane’s Cleansed in order to define how each of these works constructs a cinematic or theatrical space where the erotic comes to the forefront, destabilizing character and/or societal norms in the process. Drawing on theories concerning the body and space as social and political constructs from the work of Pierre Bourdieu and his thoughts concerning habitus, I maintain that Kane, Mehta and Bertolucci succeed in creating erotic space(s) that exist outside of societal norms. My focus on the erotic in these works, additionally, will explore mise en scène in order to highlight how the erotic is fashioned within the particular confines of each work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFocus of the Erotic: Past and Present Transgressions, Transformations, Transformations and Bliss
Place of PublicationOxford, Oxfordshire, UK
PublisherInterDisciplinary Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883116
ISBN (Print)848883116
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Theatre
  • Film
  • Bertolucci
  • Sarah Kane
  • Deepa Mehta
  • Bordieu
  • Habitus
  • Erotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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