The Immobilised Body: Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange

ScreenSound Australia, LaTrobe University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Screening the past, 2013, 37 (0)
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A small cinema, new and well equipped. In the foreground, an attendant in a white laboratory coat leans over a figure seated in the front row, fussing over him and obscuring him from the spectators view. The attendant stands upright, revealing the object of his attentions. It is a young man, his arms immobilised by a straitjacket, his body strapped to his seat by black leather belts. The young mans head is crisscrossed by brown cables, to which red clips have been attached. The laboratory attendant bends to resume his work on the patient. With one hand, he plies open the young mans left eye; then, with the other hand, he carefully fits an eyelid lock to the upper and lower lids that forces the eye to remain open. He repeats this procedure with the other eye and steps back. The young mans eyes, cruelly exposed, their whites shining despite the dim light, roll around in their sockets. Instinctively, he squirms and tries to move his head but it, too, is immobilised, fixed to the seats back by a black band that stretches across his forehead. At the rear of the cinema, sprinkled about the back row seats, are other figures in white laboratory coats, silently waiting for the patients treatment to begin. Stacked up against the wall behind them are monitors, their read-outs glowing in the dark. Streaming through the darkness of the cinema is the light of a projector, ready to show a film. As soon as the screening starts, the attendant begins to continuously administer eye drops to his patient the liquid immediately pooling and spilling down his cheeks as if he were weeping.
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