Films: The Prisoner

Clare O'Farrell suggests that for her THE PRISONER is the archetypical
Foucault film/television. I have to say that I really didn't see it that
way, much as I like the show. To my eye it is not so much about "discipline
and punishment", or even state control, as a postmodern odyssey full of
games and riddles, jouissance and mirrors within mirrors, a veritable
Russian doll of masks and identity, and, as anyone who has actually been to
Portmerrion where it was filmed, will testify, the real village is the most
bizarre place. It seems that the McGoohan character is indulged as well as
teased, and although conformity may be one aspect of the sub-text, it is
both more subtle and slippery than it might first appear. THE PRISONER is
not so concerned with Otherness or abjection. If it is related to any
"school" it might be the Kafka-esque dystopian vision.

Howver, I think that the use of films in seminars like this is a marvellous
way of demonstrating the continuing pertinence of Foucault's analysis and I
would love to be there. I wonder if the dystopian vision may be a fruitful
avenue to explore.


Mark Welch
Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies
University of Western Sydney Nepean
P.O. Box 10. KINGSWOOD. 2747

Tel: 047 360 794 (Outside Australia 61 47 360 794)
Fax: 047 360 658 (Outside Australia 61 47 360 658)

email: ma.welch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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