Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel profiled in the New Yorker, “The Filmmakers Who Voyaged Inside the Body”

Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor Photo: Grasshopper Film

Photo: Grasshopper Film

Lucien Castaing-Taylor, former director of the Film Study Center, and Véréna Paravel, former FSC fellow, were recently profiled in an article for the New Yorker about their current film, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, and previous films they’ve made at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard.

“The hand, gloved in nitrile, was inserting a notched metal rod into something that took a moment to identify as the tip of a penis. “It’s on the machine-gun setting,” a woman’s voice said, in French, and it was true that the rat-a-tat sound that filled the cinema, as the rod began to plunge in and out of the orifice, was exactly like that of a Kalashnikov. It was October, the first Sunday night of the New York Film Festival, and the Walter Reade Theatre, at Lincoln Center, was packed. More than two hundred and fifty people had come to watch the American début of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica,” the latest documentary by the directing duo Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, though some of them were clearly now regretting it. Introducing the film, Paravel had warned that it might be discomforting. “Rather than leaving, you can also use your hand to go like that,” she suggested, covering her eyes. So far, viewers had followed her advice, clutching their faces as they watched a metal bolt being screwed into the skull of a man who lay awake, or moaning—Oh my God, oh my God—as an eye, pried open by a speculum, was sliced with a small blade. But the sight of the violated urethra was too much. In the middle of the theatre, a man stood up and fled his row.” Read the full article