Apocalypses Now: Two Modes of Vulnerability in Last Night and The Mist

Fabián Orán Llarena

Abstract


This paper draws on Judith Butler’s notions of vulnerability, precarity, and grievability to examine two filmic texts: the Canadian Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998) and the American The Mist (Frank Darabont, 2007). Both primary sources feature the apocalypse as their principal narrative and thematic concern –a trope virtually unexplored from the standpoint of the production of vulnerability and the bodily dimensions of political and ethical life. In the present contribution I conduct a close analysis of both films so as to identify and evaluate the significantly contrasting modes of vulnerability produced in these two narrations. I argue that these conflicting worldviews originate from the differentiated episodes of (de)valuation, legitimization, and recognition experienced by and in bodies in the face of the ultimate phenomenon of vulnerability: the apocalypse. My structuring argument is that Last Night complies with the notion of vulnerability as a locus of ethical cohabitation and affective engagement while constructing a heterogeneous sense of Canadianness. The Mist, on the other hand, deploys vulnerability as a discursive mechanism that causes individual and social bodies to be subjected to a range of violence-prone asymmetries and processes of dehumanization, rearticulating key rhetoric and imagery from American cultural history.


Keywords


Vulnerability, Judith Butler, US-Canada relations, American Studies, Canadian Studies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.33776/candb.v7i0.3367

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ISSN: 2254-1179
Entidad editora: Universidad de Huelva. Servicio de Publicaciones