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New Essay: "Autumn Erotic: Nathaniel Dorsky's A FALL TRIP HOME"

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New Essay: "Autumn Erotic: Nathaniel Dorsky's A FALL TRIP HOME"

Just published online: I wrote about Nick Dorsky's tender, rarely-screened film poem on American football, A Fall Trip Home (1964), for Canyon Cinema. An excerpt:

"Dorsky’s film speaks to one of the foremost paradoxes of football. Forged in the culture of the late 19th century Ivy League, football has long been an emblem of white supremacy and heterosexual power, organized as a colonizing conquest of an opponent’s territory. At the same time, football is a homosocial enclave that authorizes the objectification of male bodies for a primarily male gaze: a fraternal exchange which belies the game’s homophobic culture and its racist practices. As scholar Thomas Oates describes, 'From its earliest days, football has been a complex and conflicted cultural text, in which seemingly straightforward assertions of the power of white men consistently involve an undercurrent of uncertainty and anxiety.' In A FALL TRIP HOME this undercurrent is expressed by a desirous yet detached subjectivity. Male bodies are captured on film, slowed down, studied, but also obscured under layers of superimposition. The film’s specular gaze is complicated by aesthetic rather than scientific mediation. Here, a game in which masculinity is defined and affirmed unfolds in front of the camera, but its homoerotic traces are 'masked by the (supposedly) hypermasculine setting of football.'"

Full essay at: http://canyoncinema50.org/collection/ephemera/autumn-erotic

Image: Nathaniel Dorsky, A Fall Trip Home

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