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By Kirsten Moana Thompson

The facility and presence of dread in fresh American cinema.

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Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium

The facility and presence of dread in fresh American cinema.

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Take a good look. ” Leigh’s fascination with Cady epitomizes Kierkegaardian dread, with its mixture of desire and repugnance. She acknowledges her transgressive desire: “I’d been wanting to see what you looked like, I’d been wanting to see your face. ”18 Then, unexpectedly, Danny comes out and becomes vulnerable to Cady’s gaze. ” Danny’s nascent sexuality links to the horror that threatens the family, as she becomes subject to Cady’s chicken-hawk gaze. Because her parents forbid Danny to look or listen, much of what she does is illicit (her reading of Henry Miller, her use of drugs, her sexual contact with Cady).

Adam dreads this freedom, which is not the eating of the apple per se, but rather the possibility to do so that is produced by the taboo. For as soon as God announces his prohibition, he awakens in Adam the possibility of the prohibition’s transgression, and so prohibition prompts desire (cf. ’ ”). When Adam then takes an apple from the tree and eats it, he breaks God’s prohibition and commits the first (original) sin. For Kierkegaard, Adam’s dread (absolute freedom) and Adam’s sin (eating of 20 Apocalyptic Dread the Tree of Knowledge) were identical, and therefore dread is the ground of all knowledge, because Adam’s voluntary act implies an understanding of the epistemological nature of his choice.

Benjamin, family dog. Bowden is Cady’s defense attorney. ” Cady rapes sixteen-year-old, in Atlanta in 1977. Imprisoned for fourteen years. 1. Max Cady (Robert Mitchum) and Peggy Bowden (Polly Bergen) in Cape Fear (1962). © Universal Pictures/Photofest In 1962, the first cinematic Cape Fear was released amid the desegregation struggles in the South, and only six months later, its star Gregory Peck would play the defense attorney Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962),3 an important film that directly addressed the question of race in the South.

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