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Ian Walker
Ian Walker

Basic Instinct 2

During the AFI's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, which honored Michael Douglas's body of work in film and television, Sharon Stone gracefully reminded everyone that the staying power of her crowning moment, indisputably the interrogation scene in Paul Verhoeven's 1992 Basic Instinct, has had little to do with her. The particular scene she invokes, which, in her words, inspired millions around the world to freeze-frame a certain shot catapulting the owner of the exposed parts into dream world royalty, is however--and this is the climax and surprise ending of her brief speech--not the obvious opening of Catherine Tramell's scissor-like legs, but the bare bones of Douglas's cinematic career. Stone's speech performed not only the undecidability of Tramell's act of seduction, but also the mechanism of fetish formation itself: both Douglas's detective character and his on-screen persona are pulled up short before the horror play of the crime novelist's unhinged, castrated body-script. Although she built her career on the strength of this fetish she shared with Douglas, Stone had the good sense to pay her tribute in what is known in psychoanalysis as the protective crypto-fetish and the basic writing instinct that sponsors its psychic currency. (1) Her speech was pure Benjaminian Trauerspeil.

Basic Instinct 2

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