Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena
3 “I” Is Another
Although I do not intend to go into Nietzschean reflections, much less into Cartesian or classical theories of moral philosophy, let alone into reasonings about Rimbaud, the puzzle of the individuals’ identity will have to be discussed at quite some length. Indeed it is one of the essential items in the present analysis. The Rimbaldian formula is therefore welcome as it poses, be it implicitly, the question whether the individual subject (under reserve of a working definition) does in fact entertain relations with something else, something strange or indefinite, something “outside” of the person in question, an Other, then.
Let us, for the moment, suspend schizophrenic possibilities as well as the doppelgänger fantasies, let alone the inane prying “who” one might be, where one comes from, where one might be going. Instead, continuing with Groucho’s quest who it is on the other side of the membrane or in the mirror, let’s rather take the cinema serious for once. Which does by no means exclude letting it amuse us.
Let’s consider Groucho’s predicament: he is not sure whether, what he observes, is himself (in a mirror) or a show put on especially for him. In a sense, “cinema” or reality. The one translates into the other; just as Groucho sees “himself” equidistant on that other side of what we’ve termed membrane, in a similar way the spectator outside of the set-up (or the set piece) watches the action from a superordinated perspective. But although...