Journal article

The Jouissance of the Torturer in Zero Dark Thirty and the Enjoyment of the Unacceptable

Juliet Brough Rogers

Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies | University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)


Abstract: In the scene of torture we can see a paradox at work in which the torturer is both sanctioned by positive law and prohibited by oedipal law. This latter prohibition brings the perpetrator into the proximity of, what can be understood as a Lacanian mode of jouissance, an enjoyment that both defies and demands the law. This enjoyment can be seen in the film Zero-Dark-Thirty in which the torturers animate the tortured to, arguably, further their enjoyment and further their goal of/as torture. In these scenes it is the very unacceptability of the breach in oedipal law, coupled with the sanction of positive law – as a command to torture – that makes the act of torture so exciting.

University of Melbourne Researchers