william steig drawing

December 28, 2011
Kartina Richardson

Keira Knightley’s Vagina (A Dangerous Method)


A Dangerous Method opens with the ominous notes of a cello, that, leading out of the opening credits, give way to a horn & string crescendo and the disturbing first scene: Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) arrives screaming, restrained by men, in a black carriage, drawn by black horses at the Burgholzli Clinic. And as our stomachs vibrate from the bass and the violence of the scene just past, a calm Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) greets his new patient in a beige paneled room with dark parquet floors and bounced light. This is Zurich. It is 1904. Sabina suffers from mental hysteria (with spontaneous orgasms provoked by humiliation). She and Jung eventually begin a sexual relationship.

In these early meetings between Jung and Spielrein, conversation occurs in total silence. That is, without any background atmospheric noise. No cricket or ticking clock gives the stillness form. This is a pure and unnerving silence. Chirping birds add texture to the air, without which the infinity of time and space and the whole weight of the universe weighs down upon you so that it is unthinkable to sleep without the whir of a fan. Hyperconsciousness promotes a focus of such stimulating intensity, it quickly becomes erotic, so at the end of the long road of observations that occur in the first moments of a movie, you find yourself contemplating the details of faces and bodies with growing arousal…

Continue Reading at The New Inquiry

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  1. Max Oblivion

    I read your “Vagina” review and thought it was very imaginative and I’ll have to see the film now. I read most of the rabid responses to the review and it seems that some people (men with vagina intimacy issues and small penis syndrome) really can’t handle a female perspective on film. I guess you’re right about the importance of race and gender in film making and viewing, and I was wrong. There, I said it. I feel much better now.

    • Kartina Richardson

      OH my god my dear Max. My heart has stopped!

      • Max Oblivion

        Sweet Kartina, I have to differ with you on one point. I’ve never had any difficulty imagining that Keira Knightley has a vagina, even when she’s been her whitest. I’ve never given it a lot of thought and I’m not certain of its nature (glistening or natural) but I’ve always been confident that she has one. I don’t know, maybe it’s a guy thing.

    • :-O


  2. I was astonished (but not surprised) at the comments over at The New Inquiry. Equally shameful, however…I fell asleep yesterday evening while sipping whiskey during my initial experience with “Certified Copy”…just as I was anticipating reading your review. 🙂


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