De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Tuesday 15 November at 7pm
The Elizabeth Picture Theatre

De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, 2022, 115m

Five centuries ago, anatomist André Vésale opened up the human body to science for the first time in history with his momentous work De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (On the fabric of the human body in seven books) which married new modes of biological observation and inquiry with Renaissance breakthroughs in visual representation and engraving print technologies. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica opens the human body to the cinema. Drawing on custom-made cameras and microphones and the filmmakers’ distinct style, the film reveals that human flesh is an extraordinary landscape that exists only through the gaze and attention of others. As places of care, suffering and hope, hospitals are laboratories that connect every body in the world.

The latest film from Castaing-Taylor and Paravel, leading figures within Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, is a culmination of the pair’s previous work, synthesising the whirlwind of Leviathan’s 360-degree miniature camerawork with the intense bodily fixation of their Caniba. At its widest sense, the film is about the exposure of the human being to the hospital system—whether filmmaker, doctor or patient—and the film’s pleasures (again in the widest possible sense) come from the comingling of awe at medical footage, the everyday nature of hospital work, and the inherent tender brutality of surgical practice and life.

R18+ for High Impact Surgery Scenes and Nudity

Introduced by Associate Professor Elizabeth Stephens (University of Queensland), author of Anatomy as Spectacle: Public Exhibitions of the Body from 1700 to the Present and co-author of A Critical Genealogy of Normality.

Presented in partnership with the Australasian Health & Medical Humanities Network.

With thanks to Madman.