Following new materialist analysis, this article takes the body as the central locus of analysis, and relates it to broader questions such as ethics, ideology, power and/or technologies. Specifically, it revolves around the idea of embodied subjectivity as articulated by scholars Rosi Braidotti, Sherryl Vint or Cary Wolfe, whereby body and subjectivity are indissolubly and interestingly connected. Stephen Frears’s Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010) exploit the idea of the commodified body, understood here as a vulnerable body, a disposable commodity at the service of powerful and/or wealthy people. Victims of the cruelties inflicted on their bodies by advanced capitalist societies, the main characters in these movies are considered as alien, marginal and/or non-human beings. Their body organs are but commodities to be literally traded and removed to be given to the privileged ones in order to preserve the latter’s integrity and “humanity”. These commodified subjects do not construct a “liveable” sense of the self in the face of multiplicity, ambivalence, contradiction, inequalities and oppression, as materialist feminism advocate, but remain, however, on a marginal side. As this article sets up to contend, both movies denounce the commodification of the body or “life” trading by positioning viewers on the side of the marginal, allowing us to become part of the post/in human experience. Hence, Dirty Pretty Things and Never Let Me Go offer instances of commodified beings whose fears, pains, vulnerabilities, thoughts and feelings are available to mass audiences. In this sense, the immigrant/illegal/artificial/exploited body becomes a repository of the characters’ troubled subjectivities, allowing spectators to situate themselves and reflect upon the intricacies of contemporary ideologies upon certain bodily practices. The body becomes, then, a valid tool for criticism that connects to current understandings of power and subjectivity.
"The Commodified Body and Post/In Human Subjectivities in Frears’ s Dirty Pretty Things and Romanek’s Never Let Me Go."
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