Queer Uncanny #2: Container

Container (Moodysson, 2006) is the director’s most avant-garde work, and critically divisive work. The film concerns the narrative of an obese white man, who is trapped inside the body of a paparazzi-haunted young Asian woman. There is an uncanny melding of bodies and identities as the stream-of-consciousness narrator switches between characters and viewpoints, fusing the two actors in an uninflected monotone. The man carries the woman on his back over a field of rubbish, there are broken baby dolls, pornographic images and disturbing contaminations of food and waste. Moodysson describes the film asĀ “A woman in a man’s body. A man in a woman’s body. Jesus in Mary’s stomach.” In an attempt to collapse gender binaries, the film also presents a queering of iconography. The fetishized body of the young woman in thigh high leather boots is complicated when her voice is heard coming from an older, obese man. Though the conflation of bodies and identities is uncanny, and the imagery is abject, still the tenderness and mutual affection between the two figures sets up an ambivalent relationship which cannot be resolved. – LJ