Friday, August 11, 2017

Ernesto Laguardia & Kenneth McMillan in DUNE

David Lynch & Frank Herbert
Ciudad de Mexico 1984






Many in the audiences in 1984 were unprepared for the ferocity of Lynch’s translation of Frank Herbert’s popular science fiction epic.  More than one vocal viewer accused him of homophobia because of this scene in particular, conveniently overlooking the fact that the victim here, who is clearly filled with fear, is also clearly Queer.  One might also note that the actor performing the role of the sacrificial victim is himself Queer and Mexican; that the Fremen were played mostly by Mexicans and so one may assume that this victim is meant to be read as being of mixed Fremen and Harkonnen ancestry (a typical result of a colonial system being the mixing of the ethnicities of the colonizers and the colonized, often or especially by force.)  At the time it came out, the only critic I remember mentioning Pasolini’s Salo in this connection was Dave Kehr.  It’s what one calls a genuinely smart reference.






2 comments:

  1. I remember this scene very well but find your comment confusing. The victim, the victim... are your sure this is what you meant to write:"...victim here, who is clearly filled with fear, is also clearly Queer. One might also note that the actor performing the role of the sacrificial victim is himself Queer..."

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    1. I meant exactly what I wrote: that the victim played by Ernesto Laguardia is intended to be read as Queer and sympathetic. He is holding a bouquet of purple tulips. He is both muscular and effeminate. Lynch chose a gay Mexican to play this role. I am not in the habit of tossing posts off in a casual manner. I'm sorry if you find my writing confusing. I realize that this goes against the casual reading of this scene as homophobic. I meant it to do so. I do not agree with that reading. I also recognize that Baron Harkonnen is portrayed as homosexual, but for me that is not synonymous with Queer. The character is motivated by a lust for power. He is one who takes joy in the humiliation and subjugation of the disenfranchised. There are plenty of homosexuals who fit that model. They're not Queer.

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