School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Baby bitches from hell: monstrous little women in film
    CREED, BARBARA (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2005)
    The Surrealists were fascinated by what they perceived as the dual nature of the little girl, her propensity for innocence and evil. This theme has also proven an enduring one in the history of the cinema and provided the basis for many acclaimed films from The Innocents to Lolita. The view of the female child as particularly close to the non-material world of fantasy and the imagination was central to the beliefs of the Surrealists. They regarded childhood as "the privileged age in which imaginative faculties were still à l’état sauvage – sensitive to all kinds of impressions and associations which education would systematically 'correct'". "Dissecting mystery is like violating a child", Bunuel was fond of saying.' In the 1924 Manifesto, Breton claimed, "The spirit which takes the plunge into Surrealism exultantly relives the best of its childhood."