Notes prepared by SPARE RIB Magazine
about the background to DADDY and some of the points it raises
1. THE UNCONSCIOUS
It is impossible to understand the full meaning of DADDY without approaching it from the point of view of psychoanalysis. The film is about the unconscious: repression and desire and the phantasies they produce. It is real in the sense that it confronts problems that exist, but it is a reality that cannot be perceived concretely. DADDY explores this secret world which deals with how people are formed and how they acquire a sexual identity as male or female.
2. THE FAMILY
DADDY takes place within the narrow, claustrophobic limits of the restricted family. This is the context in which the question of male and female roles and identification arises. It is through desire for (incestuous relationships with) the mother and father that sexual identity is acquired. The film brings out the way in which desire gives way to identification. But this process is full of contradictions and can never be completely achieved. It is these contradictions that DADDY is dealing with.
3. THE PATRIARCHY
The film is placed squarely in the male dominated world we live in. The contradictions brought out by DADDY exist in terms of the power of the father and of the phallus. It shows how women are thrown into an ambiguous relationship with their femininity when femininity is equated to passivity and lack of power. It shows how the male dominated world breeds repression (through patriarchal law and tyranny) which affects men as well as women. The man is subject to his own phallic power.
4. THE COLLABORATION IN THE FILM
DADDY is unique as an exploration by a man and a woman together of their experience or and rebellion against; this stereotyping of sexual identity. A rebellion which they defined through making the film and attempting to work through their complementary phantasies. The woman can only gain power through becoming phallic, the man can only become whole through accepting castration. The problem is posed in terms of the world we live in, that of male domination articulated by the phallus and its presence or absence.
In DADDY the rebellion against the patriarchal order is still in a state of struggle for articulateness. Both the imagery and the dilemma are dominated by the phallus as a symbol of power and the object of competition. The daughter's revenge on her father is acted out for his eyes and in his language. But through the absence of femininity, the film poses the question: Does woman have to become phallic for man to be feminised? What is true feminine phantasy and how can it be produced in its own terms?
It is only by recognising that the male order structures, the unconscious, as well as the conscious order of things and confronting its presence then that patriarchy can be uprooted.